Podium Results for Hunter-Reay, Dixon at Road America
- Ryan Hunter-Reay continues mid-season surge with second-place finish
- Championship leader Scott Dixon runs third
- Honda drivers claim five of top six finishing positions
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 24, 2018) – Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon continued to lead the way for Honda in today’s Kohler Grand Prix, taking second and third, respectively, after 55 laps of fierce Verizon IndyCar Series competition at the scenic Road America circuit in central Wisconsin.
Both Dixon and Hunter-Reay have been on a charge for Honda during the middle third of the 2018 season. Dixon moved to the Drivers’ Championship points lead earlier this month, on the heels of victories at the opening round of the Detroit doubleheader weekend and at Texas Motor Speedway. Following today’s result, Dixon leads the title chase with 393 points, to 348 points for Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi.
Hunter-Reay, meanwhile, began his own surge to championship contention following the Indianapolis 500, with a second in the Detroit opener, victory in the Detroit nightcap, fifth in Texas and today’s runner-up result at Road America.
Starting third, Hunter-Reay moved to second on the opening lap and, while unable to mount a successful challenge to Josef Newgarden for the race victory, successfully held off a late-race bid from Dixon for his third runner-up effort of 2018.
Behind the lead trio, the racing was intense and featured a half-dozen Honda drivers, including Rossi, Takuma Sato, Robert Wickens and Graham Rahal; plus Marco Andretti and Sebastien Bourdais in the early laps.
As he has done several times this year, Rossi gathered attention with several daring passes to run third in the opening stint. But an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 37 for a suspension issue dropped the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner to 16th at the checkers. Bourdais started sixth, but had make his own unscheduled pit stop on Lap Nine to repair a transmission issue.
Sato scored his best result of the season, fourth, with Wickens recovering from opening-lap contact to finish fifth, while Rahal rounded out the top six finishers for Honda.
After a weekend at the longest track on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, the championship next returns to the shortest, the Iowa Speedway oval, for the July 8 Iowa Corn 300.
Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport Honda) Started 3rd, finished 2nd: “Hats off to Josef [Newgarden]; he did a great job. I thought we had the pace for him early on, but after we took that second-to-last set of [softer compound Firestone] reds [tires] – and then at the end with him on the new reds – I could keep up with him for a bit, but I just couldn’t do anything with him. That’s about all we had today. I thought the car was really good. I was hoping to make it a better show for the fans – I was hoping to get up there and make it interesting. I gave it 110 percent the whole way. Big thanks to the Number 28 DHL team – rock stars in the pit lane and continuing the consistency.”
Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 5th, finished 3rd, leads Drivers’ Championship points standings after 10 of 17 rounds: “The PNC Bank car had a ton of speed today – thanks Honda – but at the end [of the race], it came down to track position. Had we been able to move in front of [Josef Newgarden or Ryan Hunter-Reay] during either of the final two pit stops, I think we could have stayed in there, no problem. After the last stop, to try and close that gap, I made a really big run on Hunter-Reay coming into the last corner on Turn 14 during his ‘out’ lap, and I just overcooked it, got loose and lost momentum. I think that may have been the only chance I had to try and snag second [place] there. But good job by Josef and Ryan. It was a tough race and good [championship] points for us.”
Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s IndyCar Series race at Road America: “It’s so wonderful to race here at Road America. The crowd was huge and the weather was ‘Chamber of Commerce’ perfect. This event really is one of the jewels of the IndyCar Series schedule. All of our teams were strong this weekend, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to pull off a victory. I thought Ryan [Hunter-Reay] would be able to pass for the lead at the end, but it didn’t turn out that way. Finishing second through sixth is a good championship points day for us – for both the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ championships – and we’ll look to do better at Iowa in two weeks.”
Verizon IndyCar Series Kohler Grand Prix
Circuit: Road America (4.0-mile road course) Elkhart Lake, Wis.
2016 Winner: Scott Dixon [Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) 123.431 mph average
Weather: Mostly sunny, mild, 76 degrees F
Top-10 Race Results:
|1.||1.||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Chevrolet||55||132.101 mph average|
|2.||3.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Honda||55||+3.376 seconds|
|3.||8.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||55|
|4.||7.||Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Honda||55|
|5.||5.||Robert Wickens-R||Schmidt Peterson Mtspts||Honda||55|
|6.||9.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Honda||55|
|7.||14.||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||Chevrolet||55|
|8.||10.||Spencer Pigot||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet||55|
|9.||12.||Ed Jones||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||55|
|10.||16.||James Hinchcliffe||Schmidt Peterson Mtspts||Honda||55|
Other Honda Results
|11.||15.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Honda||55||Running|
|13.||6.||Sebastien Bourdais||DCR with Vasser-Sullivan||Honda||55||Running|
|16.||4.||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Honda||55||Running|
|21.||17.||Zachary Claman de Melo-R||Dale Coyne Racing||Honda||54||Running|
|22.||11.||Zach Veach-R||Andretti Autosport||Honda||54||Running|