Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix
April 7, 2018
9 p.m. EDT
NBC Sports Network
IndyCar Radio Network Broadcast and Live Stream
- Honda’s 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season is off to a strong start, with Sebastien Bourdais leading a first- through sixth-place Honda sweep at last month’s season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
- Honda has claimed the early-season lead in the IndyCar Manufacturers’ Championship, with 96 points to 46 points for Chevrolet.
- Bourdais scored his second consecutive victory in his adopted hometown of St. Petersburg, and was followed to the checkered flag by fellow Honda drivers Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon, respectively.
- At St. Petersburg, Honda drivers qualified on the pole [Robert Wickens] and led all but five laps of the 110-lap contest. Wickens led a race-high 69 laps, followed by Bourdais (30 laps led), Rossi (5) and a single lap led by Hunter-Reay.
- The 2017 season marks the seventh season of manufacturer competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series, following six years of Honda serving as a single engine supplier from 2006-11. Chevrolet and Honda are again battling for supremacy throughout the 17-race season and at the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 in May.
- Drivers and teams using Honda engines have won 226 Indy car races and 12 Indianapolis 500s, both during years of multi-manufacturer competition (2004-05, 2012-); and during Honda’s tenure as a single engine supplier to the series (2006-11). Last May, Takuma Sato made history, becoming the first Japanese driver to win the “500”.
HONDA AT PHOENIX
- The 2018 Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix will be the first Saturday night race of the IndyCar Series season, and the first of three short-oval races.
- In six previous appearances at Phoenix, Honda drivers have won twice, with both victories recorded by Tony Kanaan. In 2003, Honda’s first season in the Indy Racing League after eight years of Championship Auto Racing Teams competition, Kanaan recorded Honda’s first IRL victory in the second race of the season.
- One year later, Kanaan again won in Phoenix for Honda, with his Andretti Autosport teammate Dan Wheldon finishing third. Kanaan went on to win the 2004 series drivers’ championship, completing every competitive lap of the season in the process, and helping Honda to the manufacturers’ title.