Rahal Stars for Honda at Barber Motorsports Park

4/24/2016

Honda Racing Report

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

Circuit:                             Barber Motorsports Park (2.3-mile road course) Birmingham, AL

2015 Winner:     Josef Newgarden (Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing) 107.176 mph average

Weather:           Sunny, warm, 84 degrees F

       
   
 
  Nil:

 

Nil: Top 10 Race Results:

Fn.

St.

Driver      

Team

Manufacturer

Laps

Average Speed/Notes

  1.

  1.

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Chevrolet

90

114.254 mph avg. speed

  2.

  6.

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

90

+13.7576 seconds

  3.

  3.

Josef Newgarden

Ed Carpenter Racing

Chevrolet

90

 

  4.

  2.

Will Power

Team Penske

Chevrolet

90

 

  5.

21.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Team Penske

Chevrolet

90

 

  6.

  8.

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Motorsport

Honda  

90

 

  7.

  7.

Helio Castroneves

Team Penske

Chevrolet

90

 

  8.

  9.

Tony Kanaan

Chip Ganassi Racing

Chevrolet

90

 

  9.

10.

Charlie Kimball

Chip Ganassi Racing

Chevrolet

90

 

10.

  4.

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Chevrolet

90

 

Other Honda-powered Results

11.

18.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Honda  

90

Running

12.

19.

Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport

Honda  

90

Running

13.

16.

Takuma Sato

A.J. Foyt Racing

Honda

90

Running

14.

15.

Carlos Munoz

Andretti Autosport

Honda  

90

Running

15.

20.

Alexander Rossi-R

Andretti Herta Autosport

Honda

90

Running

17.

13.

Mikhail Aleshin

Schmidt Peterson Motorsport

Honda

89

Running

18.

12.

Luca Filippi

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda

89

Running

19.

14.

Jack Hawksworth

A.J. Foyt Racing

Honda

89

Running

20.

17.

Conor Daly-R

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda

89

Running

             

 

Late Race Contact Costs Rahal Victory at Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

·       Charge to the front ends after front wing damage

·       Hinchcliffe continues rebound with sixth-place finish

·       Rossi recovers to lead rookie field

 

For the second year in a row, Graham Rahal was the star of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, as the Honda driver charged to the front of the Verizon IndyCar Series field in the closing laps of Sunday’s 90-lap contest, only to suffer front wing damage while lapping Jack Hawksworth and then having to nurse his wounded machine to the checkers as runner-up to race winner Simon Pagenaud.

 

In the 2015 race at scenic Barber Motorsports Park, Rahal fought his way from fifth to second in the final 20 laps, finishing just two seconds behind winner Josef Newgarden.  This year’s race appeared headed for an even better outcome, as Rahal emerged from pit lane after the final round of stops in second place behind Pagenaud on Lap 66. Despite minor front wing damage, Rahal closed the gap to the leader as the pair worked its way through lapped traffic. 

 

On Lap 82, Rahal pulled alongside and, after light contact sent Pagenaud briefly off course, emerged with the lead.  However, Rahal’s advantage would only extend for three more laps, as he clipped the left rear of Hawksworth’s Honda while lapping the A.J. Foyt Racing driver.  This time, the damage to Rahal’s car was more serious, as parts of the left front wing flew off the car, or folded back against the center section.  Rahal was forced to reduce his pace to the finish, as Pagenaud came by to reclaim the lead and his second consecutive Indy car victory, after also winning last weekend in Long Beach, California.

 

Behind the leaders, James Hinchcliffe continued to recover from a poor start to his 2016 season, following his eighth-place finish at Long Beach last week with a sixth-place result for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.  After struggling with handling issues in qualifying, Andretti Autosport improved its pace in the race, with two-time Barber race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay finishing 11th, just ahead of 12th-place Marco Andretti.  Alexander Rossi also found improved race pace to finish 15th and lead the three-driver rookie field at the finish.

 

Video News Releases from this weekend’s Honda Racing and Acura Motorsports action in Birmingham can be found on the “Honda Racing/HPD Trackside” 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 “home” to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for “Month of May” activities including the May 14 Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis road race and the May 29 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.  Both races will be broadcast live on ABC.

 

Verizon IndyCar Series Drivers’ Championship Standings (after 4 of 16 rounds):

1. Simon Pagenaud      188 (2 wins)                             6. Graham Rahal                   100

2. Scott Dixon               140 (1 win)                                7. Will Power                           94

3. Juan Pablo Montoya 136 (1 win)                      8. Josef Newgarden               91

4. Helio Castroneves     118                                 9. Takuma Sato                    90

5. Tony Kanaan            106                               10. Ryan Hunter-Reay             87

 

Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) started 6th, finished 2nd, led six laps: “We should’ve won today.  Honda and my entire team did a heck of a job getting us into this position this weekend.  Simon [Pagenaud] was very strong, but once we got in front I thought we could hold him off to the finish.  When we came up on [Jack] Hawksworth [the last car on the lead lap], he was on the outside of Turn Five and was trying to let us by.  I thought he was going to stay on the outside, but he came across and I hit him with my left front wing.  After that, it was just trying to survive to the finish.  We’re working hard, Honda is working hard, and we’re getting closer.  We just have to keep it up.”

 

James Hinchcliffe (#5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) started 8th, finished 6th“We were dealing with a little bit of everything in the race today.  We missed a bit on the setup, and as a result our tires were really going ‘off a cliff’ at the end of each run.  That cost us a couple of positions at the end.  But this is our second consecutive decent finish [Hinchcliffe finished eighth last week at the Grand Prix of Long Beach] and we’ll carry that momentum into the ‘Month of May’ at Indianapolis.”

 

Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race:  “I think, compared to last week’s results at Long Beach, you can definitely see the performance gains our associates at HPD have made in just the past few days.  Yes, it’s disappointing not to get the victory today.  But for a freak collision, Graham certainly would have ended up in victory circle.  Everyone at HPD has been working hard to turn things around, and our performance gains this weekend – in multiple areas – have been encouraging.  Congratulations to Graham Rahal and the entire Rahal Letterman Lanigan team on an outstanding effort, and we’re going into Indianapolis and the ‘Month of May’ encouraged about our prospects for victory at the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.”



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