Dixon’s Championship Run Falls Short in Sonoma

9/18/2017 1:35:00 AM

  • Scott Dixon finishes fourth at GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, third in drivers’ championship
  • Graham Rahal, Marco Andretti complete 2017 season with exciting battle for sixth
  • Ed Jones named 2017 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year

A valiant effort from Scott Dixon and his Chip Ganassi Racing team came up short Sunday at Sonoma Raceway, as the Honda driver finished fourth in the season-ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, and third in the final drivers' championship standings.

Throughout the Verizon IndyCar Series season, Dixon demonstrated remarkable consistency, finishing sixth or better at 12 of the 17 rounds, including the 41st victory of his career at Road America in June.  Only crashes – not of his making – at the Indianapolis 500 and at Texas Motor Speedway prevented the veteran from making an even stronger run toward his fifth series title.

In all, Honda teams and drivers posted seven victories in 2017, including the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, won by Takuma Sato.  Sato became the first Japanese driver to win the Memorial Day weekend classic, and the fourth Honda driver to win Indianapolis in the last six years of multi-manufacturer competition.

Although he failed to finish today's race due to a suspension issue, Ed Jones completed a strong inaugural season of Indy car competition, including an outstanding third-place finish at the Indianapolis 500, for the Honda-powered Dale Coyne Racing driver securing Rookie of the Year honors.

Just behind the leaders, Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti put on an entertaining battle for sixth position, resolved only in the final laps in Rahal's favor.  Ryan Hunter-Reay recovered from a delay during the opening lap shuffling of positions to finish eighth, with Sebastien Bourdais capping his recovery from hip fractures sustained in qualifying at the Indianapolis 500 to finish ninth for Dale Coyne Racing.

Video recaps from this weekend's Honda IndyCar Series action at Sonoma Raceway, as well as Acura Motorsports activities in the companion Pirelli World Challenge events, are available 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

This weekend's race concludes the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series championship.  The 2018 season gets underway on March 11 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 6th, finished 4th, 3rd in the drivers' championship: "It just seems like the three of them [Team Penske cars] covered us. Every time we short-pitted, they followed us, and it was just a massive roadblock. Once we got into clean air we were able to make up ground, but every time we got into traffic, we got real loose. Huge credit to everyone on the NTT DATA crew today.  Obviously, it's not the way we wanted to finish, but a big "congratulations" to Penske and Josef [Newgarden, new series champion] on a job well done."

Takuma Sato (Andretti Autosport Honda) 2017 Indianapolis 500 champion: "It was an unforgettable season. I had a great time and we are so bonded with the #26 boys. I can't thank every single person in the entire Andretti Autosport family enough. It was a great time and we achieved something, an unbelievable win [at Indianapolis]. I really appreciate everybody's support. Thank you for everything. It's been a tough, roller-coaster season, but we showed tremendous speed, especially for the last six races. It's unbelievable, always one of the top Hondas. That's something I'm really proud of and it was a fabulous year, so thank you for everything."

 

Ed Jones (Dale Coyne Racing Honda) 2017 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year: "I had a good start and gained quite a few positions. I attacked really hard, because I knew that would be the best opportunity to make up any ground. After that, we had pretty decent pace. We ran 12th for a long time and we were on course to finish 11th, maybe we could have even slipped into the top 10. That's our first technical failure of the whole season. Obviously, it's frustrating that it happened at the end, but then again, everything has gone so well so far that it's going to happen eventually. It's just too bad that it happened at the last one. I want to thank Dale and Gail [Coyne] and the whole team for the opportunity they gave me this season. I hope we can do it again next year."

Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on the 2017 Indy car season: "Although we did not achieve all of our goals for 2017, I have to count this as a successful season, with seven wins – including another Indianapolis 500 triumph for Honda with Takuma Sato.  Looking back at some of our successes, including podium sweeps at Detroit and Watkins Glen, gives us a great starting off point for the 2018 season – which begins tomorrow.  Thanks to all of our teams, our hard-working associates at HPD, and the support of all of our fans throughout the Honda family."

Verizon IndyCar Series GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
Circuit:                             Sonoma Raceway (2.385-mile road course), Sonoma, Calif.
2016 Winner:     Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) 101.181 mph average
Weather:           Mostly sunny, mild, 72 degrees F

Top-10 Race Results:


 

Fn.

St.

Driver      

Team

Manufacturer

Laps

Notes

 

  1.

  3.

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Chevrolet

85

104.968 mph average

 

  2.

  1.

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske

Chevrolet

85

+1.0986 seconds, new champion

 

  3.

  2.

Will Power

Team Penske

Chevrolet

85

 

 

  4.

  6.

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

85

 

 

  5.

  4.

Helio Castroneves

Team Penske

Chevrolet

85

 

 

  6.

  9.

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

85

 

  7.

11.

Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport

Honda  

85

 

 

  8.

  7.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Honda  

85

 

  9.

10.

Sebastien Bourdais

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda  

85

 

 

10.

13.

Conor Daly

A.J. Foyt Racing

Chevrolet

85

 

Other Honda Results


11.

15.

Charlie Kimball

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

85

Running

12.

14.

Max Chilton

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

85

Running

16.

12.

Tony Kanaan

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

84

Running

 

17.

21.

Zachary Claman DeMelo-R

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

84

Running

 

18.

19.

Jack Harvey-R

Schmidt Peterson Mtspts

Honda

84

Running 

 

19.

18.

Ed Jones-R

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda

69

Did not finish – suspension  

 

20.

  5.

Takuma Sato

Andretti Autosport

Honda  

62

Did not finish – mechanical  

 

21.

  8.

Alexander Rossi

Andretti Autosport

Honda  

60

Running – delayed  

 

22.

16.

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Mtspts

Honda

51

Did not finish – transmission

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