HONDA - Indy 500 Preview

Honda Seeking 13th Indianapolis 500 Victory

  • Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon head 17-driver field for Honda
  • Honda victory on Sunday would be 13th since 2004, and third consecutive
  • Honda lineup includes four former winners, three “500” rookies

 

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 23, 2018) – A pair of four-time series champions will head the 17-driver Honda field to the green flag Sunday for the start of the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.              Sebastien Bourdais, now fully recovered from injuries sustained in a qualifying crash for last year’s race, will start fifth in his Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda as he seeks his first “500” victory, to go with his four consecutive ChampCar World Series titles won from 2004-07.

            Another four-time Indy car champion, 2008 Indy winner Scott Dixon, will start from ninth in his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, as he seeks to finish the day in Victory Circle for the second time in his storied career.

            The pair head a talented, 17-driver Honda lineup as the manufacturer and its Honda Performance Development subsidiary seek an unprecedented 13th victory in the last 15 years, and a third consecutive “500” triumph.

            “Last year’s Indianapolis victory by Takuma Sato was thrilling for everyone at Honda and HPD, as was Alexander Rossi’s come-from-behind win a year earlier,” said Art St. Cyr, president of HPD.  “I’m not sure how we can top the excitement levels this Sunday from those two years, but everyone at HPD is incredibly determined, and working hard to extend our Indianapolis win streak to three in a row.

            “We’re proud of Honda’s successes at Indianapolis, and our long history of participation in this great American sport.  As the Indy 500 continues into its second century, Honda’s commitment to innovation and improvement remains just as strong.  We’re looking forward to a great race on Sunday, and finishing in Victory Circle for the 13th time!”

            Honda-powered previous Indy winners in this year’s field include defending race champion Sato; Rossi, who won the historic 100th running as a rookie in 2016; and Ryan Hunter-Reay, who outpaced Helio Castroneves [now a race winner for Acura in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship] in the final laps to win in 2014.

Veteran Honda racers seeking their first Indy victory include third-generation Marco Andretti and his Andretti Autosport teammates Carlos Munoz and Stefan Wilson. Oriol Servia returns to Indy as part of a three-car Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing effort with teammates Sato and Graham Rahal.  Another veteran, Jay Howard, is again driving for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, while Conor Daly returns to the Honda lineup this year driving for DCR-Thom Burns Racing.  Making their second “500” starts with Honda are Ed Jones for Chip Ganassi Racing and Jack Harvey with Meyer Shank Racing.

A trio of Indy 500 rookies complete the Honda field for this year’s race.  Zachary Claman De Melo will start 13th after an impressive qualifying run last weekend.  Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Robert Wickens, already a podium finisher this year, will start 18th, with Zach Veach rounding out the Honda-powered rookie contingent for Andretti Autosport.

Honda is the most successful major car manufacturer at the Indy 500, winning more races, having more starts and completing more laps than any other automaker in the 100 previous editions of the event. Since 1994, Honda has taken part in 16 Indianapolis 500 races, and powered 12 race winners at The Brickyard.

During 24 years of uninterrupted IndyCar competition, Honda has won 12 Manufacturers’ Championships, with Honda drivers winning 221 races and 15 series championships – a record unmatched by any other car company since Honda entered the series in 1994.

 

Honda’s Indianapolis 500 Historical Highlights:

  • Honda has won more Indianapolis 500 races than any major automaker: 12 victories from 17 races
  • Honda has had more race starts at the Indianapolis 500 than any other auto manufacturer: 336 starts
  • Honda has completed more race laps at the Indianapolis 500 than any other carmaker: 55,833 laps

 

Tom Beeler

Tom has been a contributor to RIS since 1992. He was invited to join the staff as a full-time reporter/editor in 1995, and has covered IndyCar, Formula 1, NASCAR, Grand-Am, ALMS and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition to his RIS work, Tom has been a contributor for General Motors, Nissan, Toyota and the ACO.

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Volume 2018, Issue 5, Posted 3:19 PM, 05.24.2018