• Scott Dixon leads 157 of 200 laps to open 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES with a victory
  • Late-race crash ends promising run for Felix Rosenqvist  
  • Zach Veach matches career-best fourth-place result

FORT WORTH, Texas (June 6, 2020) – A race that started out ominously for Honda ended in triumph, as Scott Dixon dominated tonight’s season-opening race, leading 157 of 200 laps around the Texas Motor Speedway oval to score his 47th career Indy car win.

The first race of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES, delayed three months by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, took place without spectators and with limited crew members on a hot night in Fort Worth, Texas.  With social distancing protocols preventing Honda engineers from assisting teams during the engine starting procedure on the grid, an issue with the spec series ECU resulted in Ryan Hunter-Reay, Graham Rahal and Alexander Rossi all going at least one lap down to the leaders in the opening laps.

At the front of the field, pole qualifier Josef Newgarden took the early lead, but it soon became apparent that Dixon and his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Felix Rosenqvist, had two of the quickest cars in the field.  Passing Newgarden for the lead on Lap 32, Dixon was rarely headed for the rest of the night, at times opening up leads of five seconds or more on the fast, 1.5-mile TMS oval.  The dominating win was the fourth for Dixon at TMS, and the 47th of his career. With the win, he also tied A.J. Foyt’s record 18 seasons with at least one IndyCar victory, and extended his own consecutive season win record to 16.

Equally strong throughout the night, Rosenqvist appeared headed for a second-place finish behind his teammate, until a late-race crash while attempting to pass the lapped car of James Hinchcliffe sent Rosenqvist into the wall on Lap 191.

Behind Dixon, Zach Veach rebounded from a disappointing 2019 season with a strong run to fourth-place, equaling his career-best previous Indy car finish.  Colton Herta steadily worked his way from 14th on the grid to finish seventh, while his Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay recovered from his dramas at the start to claw his way back on to the lead lap and an eighth-place result.

Making his first oval race start in any series, Indy car rookie Alex Palou was the innocent victim when his Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda was collected by a spinning fellow rookie, Rinus Veekay, on Lap 36.  Hinchcliffe’s first race back with Andretti Autosport was hobbled when a wheel nut jammed during his third pit stop, dropping him off the lead lap.  Takuma Sato was unable to take the green flag after crashing his Honda in qualifying.  With just two hours between qualifying and the race, his Rahal Letterman Lanigan team was unable to repair the damage in time for the early evening race start.

Next

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES resumes Independence Day weekend, on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the GMR Grand Prix on July 4.

Social media content and video links from this weekend’s Honda IndyCar Series action from Texas Motor Speedway are available on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD), Twitter (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/hondaracing_hpd/). 

Quotes

Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 2nd, finished 1st; 47th career Indy car victory, ties A.J. Foyt’s record of at least one Indy car in each of 18 seasons: “The car rolled off the trailer really fast.  We’ve also been using the Honda simulator in Indy for the last three weeks, and that was a big help in our preparation.  It’s not often you get an amazing car like this.  It was a fun night for us and a great way to get started back [racing] after a long break.  The Honda engine, it was huge, man, the power out there.  Our car was just so fast tonight, in any situation.  We had to make a couple of bold moves tonight, and we could just go for it.  Huge thanks to the team and everyone involved.”

Zach Veach (Andretti Autosport Honda) Started 5th, finished 4th, matches his career-best finish: “We had a really, really good night here in the Gainbridge Honda. I wanted to start 2020 off well because 2019 was so rough — and we came out here to Texas and got a top four [finish]. I’m just very happy. This kind of momentum will be great to go into the Indy Grand Prix and hopefully have the season we’ve been needing to have. The guys did an awesome job. My engineer, Mark Bryant, gave me a car that was amazing and my crew – they were awesome. That played a big part in a race with not many on-track passes. I’m just happy and a big thank you to Andretti Autosport.”

Allen Miller (Race Team Principal, Honda Performance Development) on tonight’s 2020 season-opening win: “It’s great to finally be racing again.  INDYCAR did an excellent job in developing a way to return to the track, and our HPD race team excelled in adapting to these new procedures.  Scott Dixon proved once again why he is a five-time INDYCAR champion, and Felix Rosenqvist matched him move for move until his unfortunate crash.  Congratulations to Scott and the entire Ganassi team on a well-deserved win.”

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Genesys 300

Circuit:               Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval) Fort Worth, Texas

2019 Winner:    Josef Newgarden (Team Penske) 186.084 mph average

Weather:           Clear, hot, 97 degrees F at 7 p.m. CDT race start

Top-10 Race Results:

Fn. St. Driver       Team Manufacturer Laps Notes
  1.   2. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda   200    175.201 mph average speed
  2.   3. Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Chevrolet 200 +4.4109 seconds     
  3.   1. Josef Newgarden Team Penske Chevrolet 200     
  4.   5. Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Honda   200  
  5. 13. Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 200  
  6. 19. Conor Daly Carlin Racing Chevrolet 200  
  7. 14. Colton Herta Andretti Harding Autosport Honda   200     
  8.   4. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda   200   
  9. 20. Oliver Askew-R Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet 200  
10. 10. Tony Kanaan A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet 200  

Other Honda Results

14. 11. Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Autosport Honda   199 Running
15.   8. Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Honda   199 Running
16. 21. Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Honda   199 Running
17.   7. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 198 Running
18. 15. James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport Honda 198    Running
19. 17. Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganasssi Racing Honda 196  Running
20.   9. Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 190 Did not finish – crash
21. 22. Santino Ferrucci DCR with Vasser-Sullivan Honda   156 Did not finish – suspension
22. 16. Alex Palou-R DCR with Team Goh Honda     36 Did not finish – crash  
24. 24. Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda     0    Did not start – qualifying crash