Honda IndyCar St. Petersburg Race Report

3/13/2016

 

 

Honda Racing Report

Sunday, March 13, 2016

 

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Circuit:                             Bayfront Park (1.8-mile temporary street Circuit) St. Petersburg, FL

2015 Winner:     Juan Pablo Montoya (Team Penske) 86.735 mph average

Weather:           Partly sunny, windy, warm, 80 degrees F

 

       
   
 
  Nil:

 

Top 10 Race Results:

Fn.

St.

Driver      

Team

Manufacturer

Laps

Average Speed/Notes

  1.

  3.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Team Penske

Chevrolet

110

89.006 mph average speed

  2.

  1.

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Chevrolet

110

+  2.3306 seconds

  3.

  5.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Honda  

110

+  8.8764 seconds

  4.

  2.

Helio Castroneves

Team Penske

Chevrolet

110

+  9.3237 seconds

  5.

17.

Mikhail Aleshin

Schmidt Peterson Motorsport

Honda

110

+  9.7167 seconds

  6.

10.

Takuma Sato

A.J. Foyt Racing

Honda

110

+26.0373 seconds

  7.

  4.

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Chevrolet

110

+40.7056 seconds

  8.

12.

Carlos Munoz

Andretti Autosport

Honda  

110

+55.9459 seconds

  9.

19.

Tony Kanaan

Chip Ganassi Racing

Chevrolet

110

+59.1204 seconds

10.

13.

Charlie Kimball

Chip Ganassi Racing

Chevrolet

109

 

Other Honda-powered Results

11.

  9.

Jack Hawksworth

A.J. Foyt Racing

Honda

109

Running

12.

18.

Alexander Rossi-R

Andretti Herta Autosport

Honda

109

Running

13.

20.

Conor Daly-R

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda

109

Running

14.

21.

Spencer Pigot-R

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

109

Running

15.

14.

Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport

Honda  

109

Running

16.

  6.

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

109

Running

19.

  8.

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Motorsport

Honda  

109

Running

20.

15.

Luca Filippi

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda

108

Running

             

 

Hunter-Reay, Honda Produce Podium Finish at St. Petersburg

·       Hunter-Reay scores third-place finish in IndyCar season opener

·       Young guns Daly, Rossi star in rookie runs

·       Aleshin, Sato also record top-six finishing positions; contact costs Rahal

 

Ryan Hunter-Reay opened the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series for Honda with a third-place finish Sunday at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, as the 2012 series champion briefly led, hung tough with the leaders through the 110-lap temporary street circuit contest and avoided dramas that delayed other potential Honda contenders.

 

Series rookie Conor Daly also starred, as clever pit strategy from his Dale Coyne Racing team moved the young American driver to the front of the field for 15 laps mid-race, then he continued to battle with eventual race winner Juan Pablo Montoya until the final round of scheduled pit stops.  Just after exiting the pits, Daly was forced up onto the curbing, damaging a front wing and leading to an unscheduled, additional pit stop for repairs, dropping him off the lead lap and to an unrepresentative 13th-place finish.

 

Series returnee James Hinchcliffe, Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal were all victims of contact from other competitors to spoil their respective races.  Hinchcliffe and Sato were hit from behind on the opening lap, and while Sato was able to recover to finish sixth, Hinchcliffe was caught up in a multi-car collision on Lap 57 that ended his chances of a top-10 result.

 

After running solidly in the lead pack for the first half of the race, Rahal also was struck from behind as part of the Lap 57 pileup, leading to a long pit stop for repairs and a 16th-place finish.  Marco Andretti ran solidly with the leaders through the first 45 laps, but then spun following contact while attempting to pass Luca Filippi, dropping Andretti to 15th at the checkers.

 

On a positive note, Hinchcliffe’s Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports teammate, Mikhail Aleshin, had a relatively trouble-free run to finish fifth, while Alexander Rossi led the rookie field in today’s race with a 12th-place result.

 

Video recaps from Honda’s IndyCar Series and Acura Motorsports’ Pirelli World Challenge action at St. Petersburg are being posted on the "Honda Racing/HPD" YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found in the 2016 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV

 

The Verizon IndyCar Series now heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the first oval and first Saturday night event of the 2016 season, to be televised live on the NBC Sports Network at 8 p.m. EDT Saturday, April 2.

 

Verizon IndyCar Series Drivers’ Championship Standings (after 1 of 16 rounds):

1. Juan Pablo Montoya 50 (1 win)                        6. Takuma Sato                  28

2. Simon Pagenaud      40                                   7. Scott Dixon                     26

3. Ryan Hunter-Reay     35                                   8. Carlos Munoz                             24

4. Helio Castroneves     32                                   9. Tony Kanaan                  22

5. Mikhail Aleshin                 30                                 10. Charlie Kimball                             22

 

Manufacturers’ Championship (unofficial total):       

1. Chevrolet                              122 (1 win)                         

2. Honda                           93                   

 

Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28 Andretti Autosport Honda) started 5th, finished 3rd, his fourth podium finish in the last five races, a streak that began in 2015:  “Passing a Penske car here for the podium is an accomplishment.  They run so well here, every year.  I used everything I had to get by [Helio] Castroneves. I used up my rear tires catching him but I think he used his up even more by trying to stay ahead of me.  We’re leaving here with a podium finish and good [championship] points. I’m looking forward to Phoenix."

 

Conor Daly (#18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda) started 10th, finished 13th, led 15 laps:  “Our car was really good today.  It was really nice to lead the race, and fight at the front with the [Team] Penske drivers.  We knew we were right there on pace, and matching them on fuel mileage.  I thought we were headed for a great finish.  After our last pit stop, I braked late to try to pass [James] Hinchcliffe, but then [Carlos] Munoz came flying up the inside and I had to ride up over the curbs.  That damaged the front wing, so I had to make an extra stop.  But I can’t complain. You always want more, but running competitively like this was a great start to the season.”

 

Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s opening race of the 2016 season:  “We believe we’ve made significant improvements in both our engine and aero packages this year, and today’s results reflect that.  Given Team Penske’s historic dominance at St. Petersburg, Ryan Hunter-Reay’s third-place run was an encouraging start to the season. Equally encouraging were strong performances from rookie Conor Daly and the returning Mikhail Aleshin.  As is the nature of street circuits, several other fast Honda drivers were taken out of the picture early on, but we’ll come back and look to build on our strong results from the recent Phoenix open test to have a successful race there.”



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