Dixon, Kanaan Head Honda Effort in Phoenix

4/30/2017 5:11:00 AM

  • Scott Dixon finishes fifth, Tony Kanaan sixth in first short-oval race of 2017
  • Opening lap crash eliminates five Honda drivers
  • Separate incidents end the race for Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan led the way for Honda Saturday night at Phoenix International Raceway, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively, in a Verizon IndyCar Series race that saw five Honda drivers eliminated in an opening-lap crash, and three more fall by the wayside prior to the checkers.

A spin by Mikhail Aleshin as the field funneled into the first turn triggered a series of collisions that also ended the night for Marco Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais, Graham Rahal and Max Chilton.  Dixon and Kanaan both avoided the melee and remained in the top six the rest of the night, but were unable to move up any further during the 250-lap contest.

In a third Ganassi Honda, Charlie Kimball enjoyed a trouble-free run to move from 14th at the start to finish eighth, while Dale Coyne Racing's Ed Jones continued his run of impressive rookie efforts to end the night 11th.

James Hinchcliffe avoided the Lap 1 crash, and ran as high as fifth for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, but was forced to make a late-race stop for fuel and dropped to 12th at the checkers. 

Ryan Hunter-Reay fell to the back of the field after he cut a tire driving over debris in the first-lap crash, recovered to run as high as 10th, but later dropped out with suspension damage after contacting the wall on Lap 212.  Separate wall contacts also ended the race for Hunter-Reay's Andretti Autosport teammates, Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi.

Video recaps from this weekend's race at Phoenix International Raceway are being posted on the "Honda Racing/HPD" YouTube channel. In addition to Honda Racing's Indy car activities, video highlights of the Acura Motorsports NSX GT3s of RealTime Racing at Virginia International Raceway in the first "Sprint-X" event of the Pirelli World Championship will also be posted on the site.  Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.

The Verizon IndyCar Series now heads "home" to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for "Month of May" activities, including the May 13 Grand Prix of Indianapolis road race and the May 28 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.  Both races will be broadcast live on ABC.

Scott Dixon (#9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 8th, finished 5th: "Obviously, it was a tough night for the NTT DATA car, and all the Honda entries, I think. The other guys had a leg up on us here and they showed that tonight. We tried to keep our nose clean, but just didn't have anything for them tonight. Hopefully, we can get some momentum back at the Grand Prix of Indy next month."

Tony Kanaan (#10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 6th, finished 6th: "We knew coming into this weekend that it was going to be a difficult one for us. Eric [Cowdin, race team engineer] gave me a stellar car, but we just couldn't get it done. We have good cars heading into next month, so we'll just refocus on the Month of May and hopefully, get the results we've been wanting all year."

James Hinchcliffe (#5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) Started 11th, finished 12th: "Certainly not the end result we were hoping for. For us, the race started pretty decent. But we ended up having to stop a whole lot earlier than the other cars, and we just weren't getting the [fuel] mileage. Even though it gained us positions early on, ultimately, we had to come in for a splash [of fuel]-and-go, which cost a couple spots. It's too bad; I think we could have had a solid top-10 finish. The Arrow Electronics car was the strongest that we've had here between last year, the test and now; it was a really good car. Unfortunately, the mileage situation really deterred us today. We'll head into the Month of May [in Indianapolis] and see what we can do!"

Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on tonight's race: "It seems like we just couldn't get a break tonight, starting with the opening-lap crash that took out five of our cars, and right on through to the late-race yellow that put three of our best cars one lap down.  Thanks to Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan for hanging tough throughout the race, and never giving up.  This is one to put behind us as we look forward to the Month of May and the Indianapolis 500."

 

Verizon IndyCar Series Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix
Circuit:              Phoenix International Raceway (1.0-mile oval) Avondale, Ariz.
2016 Winner:    Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) 139.822 mph average
Weather:           Clear, mild, 74 degrees F

Top-10 Race Results:


Fn.

St.

Driver      

Team

Manufacturer

Laps

Notes

  1.

  5.

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Chevrolet

250

144.058  mph average speed

  2.

  2.

Will Power

Team Penske

Chevrolet

250

+9.1028 seconds

  3.

  3.

JR Hildebrand

Ed Carpenter Racing

Chevrolet

250

 

  4.

  1.

Helio Castroneves

Team Penske

Chevrolet

250

 

  5.

  8.

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

249

Running

  6.

  6.

Tony Kanaan

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

249

Running

  7.

21.

Ed Carpenter

Ed Carpenter Racing

Chevrolet

248

Running

  8.

14.

Charlie Kimball

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

248

Running

  9.

  3.

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske

Chevrolet

248

Running

10.

19.

Carlos Munoz

A.J. Foyt Racing

Chevrolet

247

Running

Other Honda Results


11.

16.

Ed Jones-R

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda

247

Running

12.

11.

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Mtspts

Honda

247

Running

13.

12.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Honda  

220

Did not finish – suspension

15.

15.

Alexander Rossi

Andretti Autosport

Honda  

141

Did not finish – suspension  

16.

18.

Takuma Sato

Andretti Autosport

Honda  

135

Did not finish – crash

17.

  7.

Mikhail Aleshin

Schmidt Peterson Mtspts

Honda

    0

Did not finish – crash

18.

  9.

Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport

Honda  

    0

Did not finish – crash

19.

10.

Sebastien Bourdais

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda  

    0

Did not finish – crash

20.

13.

Max Chilton

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

    0

Did not finish – crash

21.

17.

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

    0

Did not finish – crash

 

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