July 23, 2022 — NEWTON, Iowa

  • Scott Dixon leads Honda effort in opening race of doubleheader NTT INDYCAR SERIES weekend at Iowa Speedway; second race on Sunday
  • Marcus Ericsson maintains series championship lead with eighth-place finish
  • Jimmie Johnson recovers from early spin to lead 18 laps

Scott Dixon took advantage of a Chip Ganassi Racing Honda that handled well on long runs; using the final, caution free 77 laps to lead the Honda effort with a fifth-place finish in today’s HY-VEEDEALS.com 250 at Iowa Speedway.

The first of two NTT INDYCAR SERIES races this weekend on the high-banked short oval, Dixon was one of several drivers to pit during an early caution on Lap 17, and used fresh tires to move from his 13th starting position to join the lead group.  His Chip Ganassi Racing Honda excelled during long, caution-free runs, and enabled the six-time series champion to take the checkers in fifth.

Teammate and defending series champion Alex Palou finished sixth, with the Andretti Autosports Honda of Romain Grosjean in seventh; while current championship leader Marcus Ericsson managed to hold on to the Drivers’ points lead, despite fading to an eighth-place finish in the closing laps.

One of only three lap leaders on the day, Jimmie Johnson recovered from an early-race spin to lead 18 laps and feature in several entertaining duels for position throughout today’s 250-lap contest, before also dropping back in the final laps due to tire wear and finishing 11th, just behind fellow Honda drivers Graham Rahal and Christian Lundgaard.

HY-VEEDEALS.com 250 Honda Race Results

  •   5th Scott Dixon             Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  •   6th Alex Palou                          Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  •   7th Romain Grosjean            Andretti Autosport Honda
  •   8th Marcus Ericsson                 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  •   9th Graham Rahal                    Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
  • 10th Christian Lundgaard-R        Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda   
  • 11th Jimmie Johnson                 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 13th Alexander Rossi                 Andretti Autosport Honda [did not finish – contact]
  • 14th David Malukas-R                Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Honda
  • 16th Helio Castroneves              Meyer Shank Racing Honda
  • 17th Devlin DeFrancesco-R        Andretti Autosport Honda
  • 18th Jack Harvey                       Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda   
  • 21st Takuma Sato                      Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda
  • 24th Colton Herta                       Andretti Autosport Honda

R – Rookie

Quotes

Scott Dixon (#9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) finished fifth: “It was an interesting day.  For us, it was really tricky, trying to get the [chassis] balance right.  At the start, we were quite loose [fighting oversteer].  But the team made a great call [pitting on an early, Lap 17 caution].  We were able to put on new tires and work our way up to the lead pack.  Our car was really good on long runs, which allowed us to make up a lot of ground in the closing laps; and Honda as always, did a tremendous job. [Teammate] Jimmie Johnson, did an amazing job, it was fun to watch, he was constantly trying new stuff out there.  We have some things to improve for tomorrow, but looking forward to it, as always.”

Jimmie Johnson (#48 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) led 18 laps, finished 11th: “I learned a lot out there, and I’m glad we get to come back and do it again tomorrow.  I think I now have a better idea of what I need my car to do next time.  We were a little aggressive with our [chassis] setup, and that was hard on the right rear tire.  It really showed itself at the end of each run, so that unfortunately cost us several positions in the final laps.  It was great battling [with several series front runners], I learned a lot from several other drivers, but I think the most fun I had was with [Rinus] VeeKay.  I learned some race craft that is specific to Indy car racing, it’s a lot different from other series.”

David Salters (President and Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race at Iowa Speedway: “Tough day at the office. That’s racing, good days and bad days, you learn most and challenge yourself with the bad days…..it sucks though!  We seem to go forwards and backwards in equal measure, but unfortunately at the end of this race it was a little bit backwards. This place is all about tire management, handling, traffic, and we didn’t quite have it today. But, tomorrow is another day. We’ll regroup and see what we can do! Onwards and forwards.” 

Fast Facts

  • With a lap distance of just 0.89 miles, the banked Iowa Speedway oval is the shortest circuit on the 2020 schedule. Today’s HY-VEEDeals.com 250 will be a 250-lap event; while Sunday’s HY-VEE Salute To Farmers 300 will run for 300 laps.
  • Honda drivers have scored eight wins in 15I previous races at Iowa Speedway.  Honda’s most recent Iowa Speedway victory came in 2018, when James Hinchcliffe came from mid-field to dominate the final 50 laps and score Honda’s sixth (of an eventual 11) 2018 race wins.  The win also marked the sixth career IndyCar Series victory for Hinchcliffe.

Next

The second half of this weekend’s doubleheader NTT INDYCAR SERIES weekend continues tomorrow at Iowa Speedway with the HY-VEE Salute to Famers 300.  Green flag for the 300-lap race will be at 3:30 p.m. EDT, with live network television coverage on NBC.

Honda Racing social media content and video links from Iowa 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).