Honda Maintains Manufacturers’ Point Lead After Tough St. Louis Race
- Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan finish sixth for Honda
- Championship contenders Alex Palou, Scott Dixon taken out in early crash
- Honda maintains 35-point margin over Chevrolet in Manufacturers’ standings
MADISON, Ill. (Aug. 21, 2021) – A tough race at World Wide Technology Raceway tonight saw three of Honda’s top championship competitors knocked out of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Bommarito Automotive Group 500.
Honda drivers Graham Rahal and Ed Jones were the first pair of cars to go out, colliding on lap two of the event. They were followed not long after by Alex Palou and Scott Dixon, who were both taken out by contact from Rinus VeeKay on Lap 64.
Palou had been the Drivers’ Championship leader going into the race, and Dixon third. The contact dropped them to second and fourth in the standings respectively. Other notable incidents involving Honda drivers included Colton Herta breaking a drive shaft during his final pit stop, and Alexander Rossi making contact with the wall on lap 200.
Romain Grosjean shone brightly during the opening half of the race, making gutsy passes on far more experienced veterans, in his very first oval start. However, an off-sequence pit strategy would cycle him a lap down and he would ultimately finish in the 14th place.
Top Honda honors of the day went to Takuma Sato and Rahal Letterman Lanigan in sixth. The Japanese driver was fighting for a potential podium finish when the #30 had an issue refueling during a pit stop and was required to come down pit road again.
Other top-10 finishers for Honda were: Ryan Hunter-Reay for Andretti Autosport, seventh, Marcus Ericsson for Chip Ganassi Racing, ninth, and Jack Harvey for Meyer Shank Racing, tenth.
Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Honda Race Results
- 6th Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
- 8th Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda
- 9th Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
- 10th Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Honda
- 13th Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
- 14th Romain Grosjean-R Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda
- 15th James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport Honda
- 17th Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Honda [did not finish – contact]
- 18th Colton Herta Andretti Autosport Honda [did not finish – mechanical]
- 19th Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda [did not finish – contact]
- 20th Alex Palou Chip Ganassi Racing Honda [did not finish – contact]
- 23rd Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda [did not finish – contact]
- 24th Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda [dnf – contact]
R – Rookie
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Manufacturers’ Championship (unofficial, after 13 of 16 rounds)
Honda 1,092 points
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Drivers’ Championship Standings
1. Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP 435 points [2 wins]
2. Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 425 [2 wins]
3. Josef Newgarden, Team Penske 413 [2 wins]
4. Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 392 [1 win]
Takuma Sato (#30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with RWR Honda) Started 17th, finished 6th: “St. Louis is one of our favorite tracks, we have a really good record here. Today, our qualifying wasn’t great, but we gradually started moving up. Unfortunately, at the last pit stop we had an issue with the refueling hose, so I had to come in again under yellow to top up [the fuel tank]. Without that, I think we would have had a really strong finish, but I think a top six [result] was good for the whole team.”
Alex Palou (#10 Andretti Autosport Honda) Championship leader coming into St. Louis, eliminate in opening lap crash after contact from Rinus VeeKay: “Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish the race here tonight. We were running the top 10 early, and I think we were doing a really good job, but we got crashed in Turn One [after contact from Rinus VeeKay] and there was nothing we could do. So, now we just move on to the last three races and keep doing our best for Honda and Chip Ganassi Racing.”
David Salters (President, Honda Performance Development) on tonight’s race in St. Louis: “
“The race started off well for us tonight, and several of our teams and drivers seemed to be in position to contend for the victory. But then, it seemed as if we did everything we could to not win. There were a variety of reasons, and circumstances, but at the end of the day we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. On to Portland.”
- Tonight’s 260-lap contest at World Wide Technology Raceway was the fourth and final oval race on the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar.
- In addition to Helio Castroneves’ historic win at the Indianapolis 500 in May, Honda race winners this year include Alex Palou at Road America in June and at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama; Marcus Ericsson in Nashville and at the first race of the Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader weekend; defending and six-time champion Scott Dixon (Texas Race 1); and Colton Herta (Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg).
After races on three consecutive weekends, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES now takes two weeks off before concluding with a three-race swing to the US West Coast, starting with the Sept. 12 Grand Prix of Portland in Portland, Oregon.
Honda Racing social media content and video links from St. Louis can be found on Instagram (www.instagram.com/hondaracing_hpd), Twitter (twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD). Additional features and long-form videos can be found on the Honda Racing/HPD YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV).