Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Race Report

Story posted - Mar 24 2013 5:53 PM

Honda Racing Report
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Race Report
Circuit: Bayfront Park (1.8-mile temporary street circuit) St. Petersburg, FL
2012 Winner: Helio Castroneves (Team Penske Chevrolet) 90.113 mph average speed
Weather: Overcast, windy, 71 degrees F
Top-10 Race Results:

Fn. St. Driver Team Engine - Chassis Laps Average Speed/Notes
1. 4. James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport Chevrolet Dallara 110 83.539 mph avg.; led 26 laps
2. 5. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara 110 -1.0982 seconds; led 42 laps
3. 7. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Chevrolet Dallara 110 -16.3664 seconds
4. 11. Tony Kanaan KV Racing Technology Chevrolet Dallara 110 -19.6083 seconds
5. 20. Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Honda Dallara 110 -20.7627 seconds
6. 3. Simona de Silvestro KV Racing Technology Chevrolet Dallara 110 -20.7890 seconds
7. 22. E.J. Viso Andretti Autosport Chevrolet Dallara 110 -20.8229 seconds
8. 2. Takuma Sato A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara 110 -21.1878 seconds
9. 13. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 110 -21.6832 seconds
10. 17. Alex Tagliani Barracuda Racing/BHA Honda Dallara 110 -22.5569 seconds

Other Honda-powered Results:
12. 14. Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara 110 -24.5429 seconds
13. 15. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda Dallara 110 -37.5324 seconds
15. 18. James Jakes Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda Dallara 110 -45.7793 seconds
21. 6. Tristan Vautier-R Schmidt Peterson Honda Dallara 69 Did not finish – exhaust
22. 25. Ana Beatriz Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 55 Did not finish – exhaust
23. 16. Josef Newgarden Sarah Fisher Hartman Honda Dallara 50 Did not finish – differential
24. 19. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Hamilton Honda Dallara 26 Did not finish – exhaust
25. 10. Dario Franchitti Target Chip Ganassi Honda Dallara 18 Did not finish – crash

Dixon Fights Back to Fifth at St. Petersburg

After a troubled qualifying that left him starting from an uncharacteristic 20th on the grid, Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon charged through the field to run as high as fourth on Sunday at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, then held on to finish fifth despite a broken exhaust wastegate in the closing laps, passing Simona de Silvestro in the run from the final corner to the checkers.

Dixon gained 10 positions in the first segment of the season-opening IZOD IndyCar Series event, and broke into the top five on Lap 75 of 110. Five laps later, he passed Marco Andretti for fourth. On Lap 85, Dixon began to feel the effects of the failed wastegate, and fell back behind Andretti and Tony Kanaan.

But on the final lap, Dixon caught a slowing de Silvestro to claim fifth in a side-by-side finish. Takuma Sato started on the outside of the front row, second, and ran just behind early leader Will Power in the opening laps. But his A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara received minor front wing damage that slowed his pace as Sato fell to 13th mid-race. A late-race change to a new nose and front-wing assembly restored the handling, and Sato recovered to finish eighth.

A promising debut from IndyCar rookie Tristan Vautier came to a halt on Lap 69 after he had run as high as fifth, when a broken exhaust ended his race. A similar problem also eliminated his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate, Simon Pagenaud, earlier in the contest.

Jen French, winner of the Silver Medal in sailing at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and U.S. Sailing's Yachtswoman of the Year, led the field prior to the race start in the two-seat Honda IndyCar driven by racing legend Mario Andretti. For more information on how you can receive the ride of a lifetime in the Honda Fastest Seat in Sports sweepstakes, go to www.shophonda.com.

The IZOD IndyCar Series now takes a week off for the upcoming Easter weekend, then resumes with the
first permanent road course race of 2013, the April 7 Honda Grand Prix of Alabama, at the scenic Barber
Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala.

IZOD IndyCar Series Drivers' Championship (after 1 of 19 rounds):
1. James Hinchcliffe 61 points (1 win) 6. Simona de Silvestro 28
2. Helio Castroneves 43 7. E.J. Viso 26
3. Marco Andretti 35 8. Takuma Sato 24
4. Tony Kanaan 32 9. Justin Wilson 22
5. Scott Dixon 30 10. Alex Tagliani 20
Manufacturers' Championship:
1. Chevrolet 9
2. Honda 6

Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 20th, finished 5th: "After our struggles
earlier this weekend, the car was really good in the race, especially on the 'red' [optional, softer tires]. On
the reds, the balance was really good. We made up a lot of ground for the first two-thirds of the race, but
on that last caution [Lap 85], it looks like we broke the left-hand side [exhaust] wastegate. That cost us a
lot of power and I wasn't able to move up. On the final laps, it seemed like some of the cars [in front]
started to come back a bit, and everyone was all over the road on the last lap, so we were able to get
around Simona [de Silvestro] right at the finish."

Takuma Sato (Driver, #14 A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara) started 2nd, finished 8th: "It was a tough
race, a very busy day. The race started well for us, but on the second re-start [on Lap 26] there was a
contact in front of me and unfortunately, it damaged my front wing. The car was not as good after that,
and made it a bit difficult for us. Later in the race, we were able to change the nose, and then I was able
to pick up the pace and regain some positions. That was good fun. It was not a perfect day for us, but we
were able to run up front for most of the weekend and I think that is a good sign for us for the rest of this
season."

Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's season-opening race:
"Obviously, it was a disappointing start to our IndyCar season, but we will learn from this and everyone at
Honda Performance Development will work, together with our teams, to get back to the top of the podium.
Congratulations to Scott Dixon for an inspiring drive in today's race, and to Takuma Sato and the A.J.
Foyt team for their weekend-long performance. They have certainly stepped up a level this season, and
that is encouraging."

 
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