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James Hinchcliffe races out of the pits in front of Charlie Kimball (83) in the first Toronto Indy race of the day in Toronto on Sunday, July 20, 2014. (Frank Gunn/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
James Hinchcliffe races out of the pits in front of Charlie Kimball (83) in the first Toronto Indy race of the day in Toronto on Sunday, July 20, 2014. (Frank Gunn/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Motorsports

James Hinchcliffe frustrated in hometown races again this year Add to ...

Dr. Melvin died suddenly and unexpectedly last Thursday.

"His contributions to safety not only in motorsports but in passenger vehicles as well is monumental," said frmer Championship Auto Racing Teams medical director Dr. Stephen Olvey.

"From seatbelts and harnesses to the air bags and to innumerable other advances John was at the forefront. His contribution to safety in both open wheel racing and stock cars is legendary. He will truly be missed."

Technically Speaking: A small temperature sensor used during the Honda Indy weekend may revolutionize the way roads are monitored, and promises to have a huge impact on safety.

Four shotgun shell-sized sensors designed to send near real time temperature readings back to the pitlane every 45 seconds were buried in holes drilled in the track surface at Exhibition Place. The sensors are built by a Dutch company, MYLAPS Sports Timing.

The system replaced the old infrared guns that the Firestone technical crew would aim at the tarmac in the pitlane to get surface temperature readings. Because the sensors offer more accurate data to the engineers, it allows for better analysis of what the tires are doing and why.

But the technology may also have huge implications for passenger cars, as having accurate temperature readings on roads has the potential to help transportation authorities increase safety and improve decision-making.

"It's one of those things you don't think about initially, but it has real world applications, says Firestone chief engineer Dale Harrigle.

"Canada gets bad winters and you could see if the road is above freezing or below freezing — transportation authorities could use the data to decide when they need to salt and how much salt might be required."

Quote of the Week: "Sounds like two races tomorrow, both 75 laps long. Let's just do 150 laps straight! Separate the men from the boys!"

— Andretti Autosport driver James Hinchcliffe, of Oakville, reacting on Twitter to the news that the IndyCar Series decided to hold two races on Sunday after being forced to cancel the Saturday half of the doubleheader weekend due to low visibility caused by rain. The two races were later shortened to 65 laps each.

The Last Word: The big question in the IndyCar paddock over the doubleheader weekend in Toronto was when the race would be held in 2015.

With the Pan-American Games arriving in August next year, having the Toronto race run on its traditional late July date will be impossible due to requirements of the games. The obvious solution is to push the race forward several weeks, and that's where things get interesting.

A source inside the paddock who had seen a preliminary 2015 IndyCar schedule indicated that one of the only place Toronto could slot into the calendar would be early June, something that would mean it would be on the same weekend as the Canadian Grand Prix.

Having the Honda Indy go head-to-head with the biggest single sporting event in the country, which also happens to be another motor race, would be unwise at best for IndyCar. With the Toronto race already struggling to fill the reduced number of stands as it is and the series putting up anemic television numbers, it can't afford to make racing fans choose between its race and Formula One.

The race also needs to renew its deal with the city to run the race, as the three-year one in place expired when the chequered flag flew after Race 2 on Sunday. With Toronto in an election year, it's doubtful a deal will be done before 2015 and local politicians may be more focussed on the international games than a car race.

The good news for IndyCar is that there happens to be a legendary racetrack less than an hour away in Bowmanville, Ont., that would love to host an IndyCar race on its normal late-July date. That said, it is likely that Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) would need some modifications to the circuit for safety, although it could be argued that the walls there are much farther from the track limits than the ones at Exhibition Place.

With the new owners at CTMP — veteran racer Ron Fellows and developer Carlo Fidani — upgrading that facility almost constantly since buying it a couple of years ago, seeing them undertake more upgrades to snag an IndyCar race wouldn't be too surprising.

Considering that CTMP does excellent promotion of its race weekends and easily draws more fans to its facility for lesser series than the Honda Indy has in years, perhaps a move down the road is exactly what the IndyCar needs to rekindle interest in this country.

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