Scott Dixon Scores Honda’s 200th IndyCar Victory, Leads 1-2-3 Honda Sweep at Pocono RacewayTarget Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon led a Honda-powered sweep Sunday at Pocono Raceway, taking his first victory of 2013 – and Honda’s milestone 200th Indy car win – as he led teammates Charlie Kimball and Dario Franchitti to the checkers in Sunday’s Pocono INDYCAR 400.
Honda’s first Indy car win, posted by Andre Ribeiro and Tasman Motorsports in 1995, also came on an oval: the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway. But today’s 200th came at the fast, challenging 2.5-mile Pocono speedway, in the second round in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series “Triple Crown”, which also includes the Indianapolis 500 and the season-ending MAV TV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in California.
Running the latest specification Honda Indy V6 Turbo engine, Dixon powered through the field from his 17th grid position during the first half of the 400-mile contest, then took advantage of superior fuel mileage to lead 38 of the final 50 laps and record his 30th career victory.
Coupled with the finishes from teammates Kimball and Franchitti, the result marked the first team 1-2-3 Triple Crown race sweep since Bobby Unser, Rick Mears and Mario Andretti scored a 1-2-3 for Team Penske at Ontario Motor Speedway in 1979. In addition to being Honda’s 200th Indy car triumph, it also was the 100th Indy car victory for Dixon’s Target Chip Ganassi team.
Behind the lead trio, second-year IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden scored a career-best fifth for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, passing fellow Honda driver Simon Pagenaud on the last lap, when the Detroit race winner was briefly delayed by lapped traffic. Justin Wilson made it six Honda-powered cars in the top seven finishing positions with his best oval track result since finishing fifth at Indianapolis in May.
Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Racing Honda Dallara) started 17th, finished 1st; his 30thIndyCar win – Honda’s 200th– and the 100th victory for Target Chip Ganassi Racing: “To say the least, it [winning] was a little bit of a shock. I knew the car was good, we just weren’t sure about our pace. But the team never gave up, and you’ve got to hand it to Honda as well. I think fuel mileage was the key today, and we still had speed up front without having to save [fuel] all the time. It’s the 200th win for Honda, the 100th win for Target, which is just fantastic. I’m just so happy. I love this place. Pocono, the fans, just everyone has been fantastic. It’s been a long drought, almost a year, so it’s fantastic to be back in the Winner’s Circle.”
Charlie Kimball (#83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara) started 12th, finished 2nd; equaled his career best (a 2nd at Toronto in 2012) and his best oval-track result: “Both Thursday at the [pre-race] test and again yesterday, we really focused on our race car [setup]. As evidenced by today’s 1-2-3 finish, focusing on the race day, knowing when it mattered, made the difference. Throughout the race, the guys made the car better at every pit stop, and the car just got quicker and quicker. A lot of credit goes to Honda, they gave us both fuel mileage and speed today.
Roger Griffiths (Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race and Honda’s 200th IndyCar victory: “It’s just such an incredible day for Honda and everyone at Honda Performance Development. I’m so pleased for every one of our associates who have been involved in our 200 race wins, for the Target Chip Ganassi organization on scoring their 100th and Scott [Dixon’s] 30th wins – just a great day all-around. I think the key for us was the exceptional fuel mileage we were able to achieve today. It set us up for a strong finish when many of our competitors were having to conserve. I really enjoyed racing at the circuit, and it seemed to be designed with Scott in mind! In addition, it was great to see Dario [Franchitti] back on form, and I believe this was Charlie [Kimball’s] strongest performance of the year. Takuma [Sato] also was very strong early in the race, until his unfortunate pit incident, and Simon [Pagenaud] was very quick as well. All-in-all, just a memorable day for us. Now we go on to Toronto, which is a Honda event, and full of enthusiastic fans.”