Dixon Fights to Second at Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

4/23/2017 11:40:00 PM

  • Scott Dixon leads Honda effort at Barber Motorsports Park with second-place finish
  • Sebastien Bourdais remains atop the drivers' championship, Dixon now second
  • Honda drivers claim nine of top 12 finishing positions

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon remained in the thick of the battle for the victory throughout Sunday's Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, finishing second to Josef Newgarden after 90 hard-fought laps around scenic Barber Motorsports Park, the first road course event of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.

Starting fourth, Dixon gained one position on the opening lap and then entered a multi-car battle at the front of the field.  When race leader Will Power pitted on Lap 77 with a deflating rear tire, the race came down to a two-driver duel, with Newgarden prevailing over Dixon by just over one second.

Behind Dixon, 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi rebounded from a disappointing qualifying result, 18th, on Saturday, to finish fifth, while Hinchcliffe recovered from a brief off-course slide to finish sixth.

Honda drivers claimed nine of the top-12 finishing positions, with Sebastien Bourdais maintaining his lead on the drivers' championship following an eighth-place run.  After three races, Bourdais holds a six-point lead, 117-111, over Dixon.

Video recaps from this weekend's Honda Verizon IndyCar Series action from Barber Motorsports Park are being posted on the "Honda Racing/HPD" YouTube channel.  Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.

The Verizon IndyCar Series next heads west to Arizona for the first short-oval race of the year – and first Saturday night race of 2017 – the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix, April 29 at Phoenix International Raceway, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network at 9 p.m. EDT.

Scott Dixon (#9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 4th, finished 2nd, his third podium finish in as many races in 2017: "What a great race here at Barber. Another second-place finish for the number nine car. I think that's our fifth runner-up here [Dixon has five second-place and two third-place finishes in eight starts at Barber Motorsports Park]. One of these days, we're going to win. We had a great NTT DATA car and we were right up in the mix for the win at the end. We just didn't have enough there, but all in all, a good points day for the team."

Sebastien Bourdais (#18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda) started 12th, finished 8th, continues to lead IndyCar Drivers' Championship after three races: "I'm really happy for the whole crew. Everybody did a really good job; we had solid pit stops. We didn't have a great weekend. Performance-wise, we were average.  So, to salvage a top 10 [eighth], in circumstances where there really wasn't much going on, you have to feel pretty good. I think we learned a few things this weekend, and it's going to help us to get the car better for the rest of the season, so that was key to understanding what was doing what. I'm not sure we understand everything yet, but today was a pretty big step in validating some things. Now, on to the next one."

Fernando Alonso (McLaren Honda Formula 1 driver, two-time world champion, will make his Indianapolis 500 debut next month for Honda and Andretti-McLaren Autosport) on watching today's race: "It's fun. It's fun. There's a lot of [race] strategy going on. It's interesting to see how they change positions. The Indy 500 is the biggest race in the world, so I feel very privileged just to be able to participate in that race. I have achieved a few things in Formula One, so now it's time to improve as a driver. The best place in the world would be the Indy 500."

Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: "It was an exciting race, with Scott Dixon challenging for the win throughout.  We knew coming here that Team Penske would be strong, they always run well at Barber Motorsports Park.  Scott had a great run, and I actually thought he would win, until he used up his tires fighting for the lead.  Alexander [Rossi] also was stellar today, making up 13 positions and finishing fifth.  I'm glad that we were able to put on a good show for all of the Honda associates [from Honda Manufacturing of Alabama] and their family members here today."

Verizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Circuit: Barber Motorsports Park (2.3-mile road course) Birmingham, Ala.
2016 Winner: Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) 114.254 mph average
Weather: Morning showers, mild, 64 degrees F

Top-10 Race Results:

Fn. St.

Driver      

Team

Manufacturer

Laps

Notes

  1.

7.

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske

Chevrolet

90

108.809 mph average speed

  2.

4.

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

90

+1.0495 seconds

  3.

  3.

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Chevrolet

90

 

4.

  2.

Helio Castroneves

Team Penske

Chevrolet

90

 

  5.

18.

Alexander Rossi

Andretti Autosport

Honda

90

 

  6.

  6.

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Mtspts

Honda

90

 

  7.

10.

Tony Kanaan

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

90

 

  8.

12.

Sebastien Bourdais

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda

90

 

  9.

14.

Takuma Sato

Andretti Autosport

Honda

90

 

10.

  8.

Mikhail Aleshin

Schmidt Peterson Mtspts

Honda

90

 

Other Honda Results

11. 5.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Honda

90

 

12.

9.

Max Chilton

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

90

 

13.

21.

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

90

 

15.

15.

Charlie Kimball

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

90

 

16. 11. Ed Jones-R Dale Coyne Racing Honda 90  

21.

13.

Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport

Honda

87

Running

 

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