11202017Headline:

Honda Sweeps Opening Race in Detroit

Jun 4, 2017 - (Newswire)

- Starting from the pole, Graham Rahal dominated Saturday's opening Verizon IndyCar Series race of a double header weekend in Detroit, leading virtually from flag-to-flag and spearheading a 1-2-3 Honda sweep at the Belle Isle Park temporary street circuit.

Rahal drove a flawless race - leading 55 of 70 laps, making his Rahal Letterman Lanigan team's two-stop pit strategy work perfectly and beating fellow Honda driver Scott Dixon to the checkered flag by six seconds in the first of the annual doubleheader at Belle Isle.

With the win, Rahal scored his first IndyCar victory since Texas, in August of last season, and joined his father, team co-owner Bobby Rahal, as a Detroit winner. The senior Rahal won here in 1992.

Dixon, less than a week removed from his massive crash during the Indianapolis 500, overcame pain from a left ankle injury sustained in the accident to finish second. Dixon started sixth and, like Rahal, matched a two-stop strategy and superior pace to take over the drivers' championship points lead heading into Sunday's second race of the weekend.

Despite an opening-lap spin, James Hinchcliffe also had the pace to make a three-stop strategy work well, recovering from that early drama to finish third for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and completing the podium sweep for Honda.

Behind the lead trio, Alexander Rossi took the checkers in fifth for Andretti Autosports, with Mikhail Aleshin completing a positive day for Schmidt Peterson with a sixth-place result. Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato completed today's 70-lap race in eighth, just ahead of top rookie finisher, Ed Jones, in ninth with his Dale Coyne Racing Honda.

Video recaps from this weekend's Honda racing activities in Detroit, including today's Indy car and IMSA sports car races, are being posted on the "Honda Racing/HPD" YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found at: www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.

IndyCar Series teams and drivers now prepare for the second race in this doubleheader weekend, with qualifying for Sunday's 70-lap race at 10:45 a.m. EDT, and live ABC television race coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) started 1st, finished 1st: "Winning feels awesome. Everything went according to plan today. You know, I said yesterday, one of my comments was that I felt if I could qualify up front I could dominate this race, and I got a lot of heat from the other drivers for that comment, but I think we did it. I don't say things unless I believe them, and today this car, the United Rentals, TurnsForTroops.com Honda, we raised a lot of money to help our vets. But man, I can't tell you how good it feels. I mean it's Day One of two. We've got [a second race] tomorrow to do, but trust me, today feels extremely rewarding."

Scott Dixon (#9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 6th, finished 2nd, his fourth podium finish in 2017: "It was a tough race, no matter what. Physically, for me it was tougher than normal [due to his ankle injured at Indianapolis]. I think I was favoring a lot of things, but I'm just so proud of the whole Camping World crew. They did an amazing job; the car was fast. I probably couldn't get the most out of it but we were kind of there. It's great for [the championship] points. I'm definitely going to go back to my [motorhome] and put my foot in a big bucket of ice, and see if I can cool it off. Hopefully, we'll get some good rest tonight, as obviously qualifying tomorrow is going to be key for the race [on Sunday]. So we've got to come out blazing. We've definitely got to improve the car; it's not perfect right now."

James Hinchcliffe (#5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) started 5th, finished 3rd: "Tires are the name of the game here. To be able to get off the [softer, alternative] reds after the spin in the first turn there, played to our advantage. And then we got that yellow at the right time, right after our pit stop. It put us up where we belonged and I think we showed that the No. 5 Arrow car had a lot of pace. To come back from that - the boys were great in the pits and we're really happy to grab a podium here today."

Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: "After a thrilling victory last Sunday in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, it's great to see the momentum continuing with a terrific day here in Detroit, both our sweep in the first IndyCar race of the weekend, and our first IMSA GTD victory with the Acura NSX GT3. Congratulations to Graham for a dominant performance from start to finish, to Scott Dixon who showed determination of a true champion in his second-place run, and to James Hinchcliffe's perseverance to recover from his Lap 1 spin and round out the podium for Honda. Now, we get to do it again tomorrow, and hopefully score similar results."

Verizon IndyCar Series Detroit Grand Prix

Circuit:

Belle Isle Park (2.35-mile temporary street circuit) Detroit, Mich.

2016 Winners:

Sebastien Bourdais (KV Racing) 97.857 mph average, Race 1, Saturday


Will Power (Team Penske) 96.414 mph average, Race 2, Sunday

Weather:

Mostly sunny, mild, 78 degrees F

View Table Fullscreen

Top-10 Race Results:

Fn.

St.

Driver

Team

Manufacturer

Laps

Notes

1.

1.

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

70

103.015 mph average speed

2.

6.

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

70

+6.1474 seconds

3.

5.

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Mtspts

Honda

70


4.

9.

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske

Chevrolet

70


5.

4.

Alexander Rossi

Andretti Autosport

Honda

70


6.

20.

Mikhail Aleshin

Schmidt Peterson Mtspts

Honda

70


7.

2.

Helio Castroneves

Team Penske

Chevrolet

70


8.

3.

Takuma Sato

Andretti Autosport

Honda

70


9.

21.

Ed Jones-R

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda

70


10.

17.

Spencer Pigot

Ed Carpenter Racing

Chevrolet

70


Other Honda Results

11.

8.

Max Chilton

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

70

Running

12.

13.

Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport

Honda

70

Running

13.

11.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Honda

70

Running

15.

15.

Tony Kanaan

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

70

Running

19.

19.

Esteban Gutierrez-R

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda

69

Running

20.

22.

Oriol Servia

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

69

Running

21.

10.

Charlie Kimball

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

69

Running

SOURCE Honda Racing

Original Source: https://www.newswire.com/news/honda-sweeps-opening-race-in-detroit

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