LEXINGTON, Ohio, Sept. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Honda drivers and teams – led by the Andretti Autosport trio of Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay – dominated the second half of the Honda Indy 200 doubleheader at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, sweeping the top five finishing positions in Sunday’s second 75-lap NTT INDYCAR SERIES race of the weekend.
With seven wins in 11 races this season, Honda continues to lead the IndyCar Manufacturers’ Championship, with an unofficial total of 911 points to 824 points for Chevrolet, as the company seeks a third consecutive manufacturers’ title in 2020. Today’s race was the second podium sweep for Honda this season, as Takuma Sato led a 1-4 finish for Honda drivers at last month’s Indianapolis 500.
Scoring his first win of 2020, but the fourth Indy car win in just the second year of his career, Herta led 57 of the 75 laps today, resisting an early challenge from fellow Honda driver and championship points leader Scott Dixon, then maintaining a narrow, but consistent advantage over his teammates Rossi and Hunter-Reay to the finish. For Andretti Autosport, the 1-2-3 sweep was the first for the team since the 2005 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Finishing second and third, respectively, Rossi and Hunter-Reay fought for position throughout the day, but running identical strategies and with clean pit stops for both, ran in virtual lock step once Rossi passed his teammate during the opening stint of the race. Graham Rahal came from 12th on the grid to finish fourth, while Marcus Ericsson gained 10 positions in an impressive run in the opening laps to complete the top five finishers for Honda.
While dueling with Rossi and Hunter-Reay following the first round of pit stops, championship leader Dixon survived a spin exiting turn one to recover in 19th. He then spent the rest of the day working his way through the field to finish 10th and maintain an unofficial lead of 72 points in the Drivers’ Championship battle after 11 of 14 races.
Following this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 doubleheader at Mid-Ohio, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES takes the next two weekends off, before resuming October 2-3 for the Indy Harvest GP, the final doubleheader and penultimate race weekend of 2020, on the road course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Honda Racing social media content and videos from the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 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.
Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport Honda) Started first, finished first; first win of 2020 and fourth career win: «I’m so happy. We’ve been knocking on the door [of a victory] almost every weekend. We’ve had the pace, but for some reason or another, something has gone wrong. But we finally put everything together. Got the pole this morning, the entire Capstone Andretti crew produced a stellar car and a Honda/Andretti 1-2-3, so happy to be powered by Honda. Now we just need to be finishing on the podium on every other weekend. It seems like we’re only on the podium when we win. So if we can fill in those other races with seconds and thirds, I’ll be very happy then.»
Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport Honda) Started 10th, finished second: «I’m just so happy for Andretti Autosport, Michael [Andretti] and everyone on the team. It’s been a terrible year for us, so to have a good day today, huge hats off to Colton and the ’88’ guys, and for the team to sweep the podium for the first time since 2005 is very cool. We’re just focusing on race wins at this point, and really trying to build a good foundation for next year. I think we’re doing that right now, so this is definitely a step in the right direction. It’s great to be running up front again.»
Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport Honda) Started eighth, finished third: «The race was all right. Alex [Rossi] and I both had a great start, and fought the whole way. The guys did a great job in pit lane, and it was nice to have a solid day. The team needed it. We’ll pick up from here and hopefully keep this momentum rolling.»
Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) Started 12th, finished fourth: «I think we had the pace [to win], and our Fifth Third Bank guys did a great job. I’m extremely pleased with the way the weekend went, it was a strong two days. I think we’ll be very competitive at [the next race] at Indy, I expect we’ll be in contention [for the wins] there. It was great to have the crowd [the circuit was allowed] here. Thanks to everyone who came.»
Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started third, finished 10th; unofficially leads drivers’ championship by 72 points with three races remaining: «We tried to set up the car so that the tires would remain strong throughout a long run, so our cold [tire] pressures were really low. We struggled on the restarts as a result, so I got a little aggressive, hit the ‘overtake’ button on the exit of Turn One and just had way too much Honda power there, so it just spun the tires and spun the car. Total rookie mistake, and I’m so bummed for the team, it’s a mistake I shouldn’t have made. Fortunately, we were able to fight our way back up to 10th, but it should’ve been a much better [championship] points day.»
Allen Miller (Race Team Principal, Honda Performance Development) on today’s seventh Honda win of 2020: «What a great day for Honda at Mid-Ohio, the home race for all of our Ohio associates. Honda power was on full display for everyone to see today. Congratulations to Colton [Herta] and everyone at Andretti Autosport for their dominating 1-2-3 podium sweep. Graham [Rahal] produced another excellent performance and showed that he is coming on strong in the final races of the season; and Scott Dixon fought his way back through the field. Just a great day for everyone, and we hope all our fans can return in full force here next year.»
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Honda Indy 200
Circuit: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (2.258-mile road course) Lexington, Ohio
2019 Winner: Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) 115.837 mph average speed
Weather: Mostly sunny, overnight and morning showers, 72 degrees F
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SOURCE Honda Racing/HPD