Rahal Runs Third for Honda to Complete Iowa Speedway Doubleheader
- Graham Rahal charges from 19th to third in Saturday night closer at Iowa Speedway
- Scott Dixon protects championship lead with impressive fifth-place finish
- Honda continues to lead Manufacturers’ title chase after run of five races in 15 days
NEWTON, Iowa (July 19, 2020) – Graham Rahal led the way for Honda in Saturday’s second consecutive night of Indy car racing, scoring his second podium finish of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season with a third-place run on the tight Iowa Speedway oval.
Starting 19th for the second 250-lap race in a doubleheader weekend on the 0.9-mile Iowa oval, Rahal ran a long opening stint prior to his first pit stop, leading for the first time on Lap 61, then made up ground on fresh tires to lead two more times later in the race. His third-place result tonight in his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda is Rahal’s second podium finish of the season, following a second-place result at the GMR Grand Prix in Indianapolis last month. The finish moves Rahal to sixth in the championship points standings after six races.
Much as he did in Friday night’s opening Iowa race, Scott Dixon also turned a starting position deep in the field into a strong finish, finishing fifth tonight in his effort to record a sixth Indy car championship. Combined with his trio of wins to start the season and a second-place finish last night, Dixon holds a 49-point lead in the points standings over rival Simon Pagenaud. With four wins from six races this season Honda holds a 39-point lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship 496-457, over rival Chevrolet.
Demonstrating continuing improvement on oval tracks, Jack Harvey finished seventh for the second consecutive night on Saturday in his Meyer Shank Racing Honda; while Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi combined an eighth-place finish tonight with sixth on Friday to break into the top 10 in the championship standings. Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Marcus Ericsson, finished ninth on both nights; with Marco Andretti coming home 10th for Honda and Andretti Autosport.
Tonight’s race was the fifth in the last 15 days for the drivers and teams of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES weekend at Iowa Speedway. The series now takes two weeks off, then resumes August 8-9 with the Honda Indy 200 at the scenic Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) Started 19th, finished third: “Tonight’s finish was the result of some good, hard work. It was a great showing for [new team sponsor] HyVee and it was great for us to come away with a good result. We needed it. It’s a good rebound for us after coming up a little bit short [12th in Friday’s race]. We’re super proud to be powered by Honda, I thought the engine tonight was phenomenal. We had everything we needed for the other guys. Next up is Mid-Ohio, that’s a big race for me. I love going home. We’ve had great success there, and I think we found some good stuff the last few times we’ve been on road courses, so I expect our team to be really good there. It’s an important race for Honda, too, with all the facilities in the area. I’m excited to go home. We’re a [championship] contender this year. We’ve improved, we’ve come a long way, and this car was great tonight.”
Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 18th, finished fifth, continues to lead the Drivers’ Championship by 49 points after six races: “I think we knew this weekend was going to be one of our biggest challenges in terms of race weekends. We haven’t been as strong at Iowa as we’ve been at other tracks. We worked on it and tried some things and learned a lot and we were able to work our way up and get a good result for the PNC Bank car. The crew did a great job, especially in the pit stops. We came out of here with a decent [championship] points lead , so we’re looking forward to going to Mid-Ohio and hopefully extending that lead a little bit more. It’s great to be racing again. I feel very lucky, very privileged to be back racing. The car’s been very good this year, Honda has been working very hard, we’re always proud to be powered by Honda and HPD. Hopefully we can put the car in victory circle for a seventh time at Mid-Ohio. That’d be pretty cool.”
Wayne Gross (Race Team Manager, Honda Performance Development) on Saturday’s Iowa 250: “
“This was a much more ‘straightforward’ short track race tonight, with almost everyone on more-or-less the same pit strategy, but Indy car races on these short ovals are always a challenge. Everything is so tight that even the smallest mistake can have big consequences. Both Graham Rahal and Scott Dixon had flawless runs tonight, and Jack Harvey again demonstrated that he is now a contender on both ovals and road courses. Now we’re all looking forward to returning to our Midwestern ‘home’ track, Mid-Ohio, in a couple of weeks for the Honda Indy 200.”