Dixon, Honda Now Three for Three with Road America Victory
- Scott Dixon, Honda continue streak with third successive race win of 2020
- Rookie Alex Palou stars in third-place finish
- Honda pads Manufacturers’ title lead as series continues run of five races in 15 days
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (July 11, 2020) – A strategic pit call by his Chip Ganassi Racing team, combined with Scott Dixon’s ability to run qualifying-like laps in clean air, enabled the Honda driver to continue his season-opening streak of NTT INDYCAR SERIES races wins to three Saturday at the REV Group Grand Prix. Today’s race was the first of a doubleheader race weekend at the challenging 4-mile Road America road course.
Starting ninth, Dixon was seemingly stuck in a pack of cars contesting fourth through ninth for the first two dozen laps of the 55-lap contest, so his Ganassi team elected to make his second stop on Lap 26. Exiting pit lane with no nearby traffic, Dixon rattled off a series of ultra-quick laps to find himself second to Will Power when the pit stop sequence concluded on Lap 30.
Dixon repeatedly challenged Power for the lead, then jumped ahead during the final round of stops under caution on Lap 40. Once in front, Dixon remained in charge to the finish, despite a series of late-race caution flags, to score his 49th career Indy car victory and three in a row for the first time in his career.
The late-race sequence of cautions provided Honda-powered rookie Alex Palou with the opportunity he needed, as the Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver jumped from sixth, to fifth, to third in a series of ambitious overtaking moves on the succeeding restarts. The strong finish promoted Palou to third at the checkers, after starting mid-field in 14th. The podium finish is the best to date in the promising rookie’s Indy car career.
Honda drivers claimed four of the top five finishing positions, and eight of the top 10. After starting third, Ryan Hunter-Reay ran in the lead group for the entire day, finishing fourth with his Andretti Autosport teammate, Colton Herta, fifth. Santino Ferrucci ran as high as second in his Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda, but a near collision with a slower car during his final pit stop dropped the second-year Indy car driver to sixth at the checkers.
Starting fourth, Graham Rahal looked like a potential race winner in the opening stint, but a refueling issue during his first pit stop dropped the Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver deep in the field. A strong recovery saw Rahal claw his way back to seventh at the finish. Teammate Takuma Sato worked his way from 15th to ninth, with Marcus Ericsson rounding out the top 10 for Honda despite a spin on the final lap.
With three wins in as many races this season, Honda also continues to lead the IndyCar Manufacturers’ Championship, with an unofficial total of 267 points to 213 points for Chevrolet.
Today’s race was the opening round of a doubleheader REV Group Grand Prix weekend at Road America. Tomorrow’s 55-lap finale starts at 12 p.m. EDT, with live coverage on NBC. A second doubleheader follows next weekend, July 17-18, on the oval at Iowa Speedway.
Honda Racing social media content and videos from the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America will be available on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and on Twitter at (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD). Produced by the CoForce Digital Media, YouTube video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started ninth, finished first; third consecutive INDYCAR win to open the 2020 season and 49th career victory: “I’m not sure how that happened! I know we had huge out laps [exiting the pits] and a big in lap as well. We’re definitely proud to be powered by Honda here. This is a huge weekend for us. We definitely didn’t start the way we wanted [qualifying ninth], but we dialed it in a little bit better for the race. That was awesome, man! But it’s not me, the team does such an amazing job to cover all the bases. I’m proud of this team, and proud of everyone on it.”
Alex Palou (Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda) Started 14th, finished third: “This is amazing, it feels so good. It took time to get here [finishing on the podium]. We still need more practice, but we’re getting there. I’m becoming more comfortable with the car, and with the team. I was a little bit lucky today, to be honest, with the restarts. It was one of those days were you try something, and it works! We had tough luck in qualifying [14th], but good luck in the race.”
Ted Klaus (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s Honda win in the GMR Grand Prix: “Today’s effort by Scott Dixon and his Chip Ganassi Racing team demonstrated exactly why they have won so many races, and championships, over the years. That was a brilliant race strategy, and perfect execution by both driver and team to make it work. It was amazing to watch, and a well-earned third consecutive win for Scott, and for Honda. Alex Palou had some fantastic restarts, and it was great to see him get a well-earned result after demonstrating so much speed earlier this season. Ryan Hunter-Reay also drove an excellent race, as did Santino Ferrucci. But for the refueling issue during his first stop, I think Graham Rahal would have challenged for the win. Jack Harvey also deserved better luck after his great qualifying effort and race pace. Best of all, we get to do this again tomorrow!”
NTT INDYCAR SERIES REV Group Grand Grand Prix
Circuit: Road America (4.0-mile road course), Elkhart Lake, Wis.
2019 Winner: Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) 132.894 mph average
Weather: Mostly sunny, warm, 82 degrees F
Top-10 Race Results:
|1.||9.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||55||mph average|
|2.||5.||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Chevrolet||55||+2.5386 seconds|
|3.||14.||Alex Palou-R||DCR with Team Goh||Honda||55|
|4.||3.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Honda||55|
|5.||7.||Colton Herta||Andretti Harding Autosport||Honda||55|
|6.||6.||Santino Ferrucci||DCR with Vasser-Sullivan||Honda||55|
|7.||4.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Honda||55|
|8.||12.||Patricio O’Ward||Arrow McLaren SP||Chevrolet||55|
|9.||15.||Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Honda||55|
|10.||13.||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||55|
Other Honda Results
|16.||20.||Zach Veach||Andretti Autosport||Honda||55||Running|
|18.||8.||Felix Rosenqvist||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||54||Running|
|19.||11.||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Honda||54||Running|
|22.||10.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Herta Autosport||Honda||39||Did not finish – mechanical|
|23.||2.||Jack Harvey||Meyer Shank Racing||Honda||37||Did not finish – mechanical|