Rossi Runs Second for Honda in Texas
• Alexander Rossi continues championship fight with third podium result In last four races
• Strong run from Graham Rahal nets third-place finish
• Santino Ferrucci takes rookie points lead with career-best fourth
FORT WORTH, Texas (June 8, 2019) – A race that started out well for Honda, with the manufacturers’ drivers and teams running first through seventh on Lap 130 of the 248-lap DXC Technology 600, ended outside of Victory Circle Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway.
Honda drivers started the first night race of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season first through fourth, and claimed nine of the top 12 grid positions. But a variety of issues took many drivers out of contention for the victory. Over the concluding 40-lap run – interrupted by a pair of caution flags – Alexander Rossi emerged as the final Honda challenger, but fell eight-tenths of a second short at the checkered flags to winner Josef Newgarden.
Behind Rossi, Graham Rahal had a fast car and moved up to a third-place finish, his best result of 2019. Series rookie Santino Ferrucci also had the best race of his inaugural Indy car season, holding off Ryan Hunter-Reay to finish fourth. For his part, Hunter-Reay led a race-high 90 laps but was unable to capitalize on his pit strategy in the closing laps and ended the night in fifth.
Other Honda front-runners to fall by the wayside included pole qualifier Takuma Sato, who slid through his pit box during his first scheduled stop, striking one of his crewmen, who fortunately escaped serious injury. The resulting penalty dropped Sato off the lead lap and he was unable to recover the deficit. After running as high as third, James Hinchcliffe crashed out on Lap 218 while closing on the leaders. Two other contenders, Scott Dixon and Colton Herta, tangled on Lap 228 to end their nights.
Indy car’s five-week run of consecutive May-June event weekends concluded this weekend in Texas. The NTT IndyCar Series now takes a week off, then resumes June 23 at the scenic Road America road course in Wisconsin for the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America.
Social media content and video links from this weekend’s Honda IndyCar Series action from Texas Motor Speedway are available on the HPD Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD) channels. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, YouTube video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport Honda) Started 11th, finished second; enters second half of 2019 season second in Drivers’ Championship point standings: “I think we had a good car. We could obviously get a good run on Josef [Newgarden] off of [Turns] 3 and 4. But the outside lane was really never there for me. We could get halfway around the outside, but then would have to bail out [of the passing attempt]. We took out a lot of the tire life going in Lane Two there, so we just didn’t have the rear tires there at the end to stay close to him. Ultimately, I think Scott [Dixon], myself and Colton [Herta] in terms of fuel mileage and where we were going were looking pretty good there till the end.”
Santino Ferrucci (Dale Coyne Racing Honda) Started 18th, finished fourth; career-best IndyCar finish in rookie season: “To be honest with you, I’m out of words. My Dale Coyne Racing crew on pit lane, my spotter Pancho [Carter], Honda, talk about a dream come true. Qualifying [18th] is obviously not what we wanted, but I was pretty confident in our race car, and my engineer Mike [Cannon] gave me a car that was so good. It’s so nice to be able to drive to the front with confidence and race these guys like Graham [Rahal] up front and [Ryan] Hunter-Reay behind me. But that last stint [to the finish] was nerve-wracking!”
Steve Eriksen (vice president and COO, Honda Performance Development) on tonight’s race at Texas Motor Speedway: “This is a race that got away from us. That said, there were some very impressive drives tonight. The split-second decision from Alexander [avoiding the Dixon/Herta crash] put him in position finish to finish second. In just his second oval race, Santino again produced a polished performance that moved him to the top of the Rookie standings. Graham Rahal also had an outstanding drive for his best result of season. But this is a race where several of our drivers and teams were in position to win, yet, for a variety of reasons, we were unable to execute, and that is disappointing. However, it just increases our determination going forward. Thanks to everyone at Honda Performance Development for executing an impressive performance turnaround these last two seasons at a circuit where we have struggled in the past.”