Second-place finish for Scott Dixon on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course
•Dixon's third podium finish in five races this season tightens championship battle
•Ryan Hunter-Reay completes podium for Honda with third-place finish
Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon scored his third podium finish in five races this season, leading the Honda effort in Saturday's INDYCAR Grand Prix with a second-place run on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
The finish moves Dixon, who has never finished lower than fifth in 2017, to within 10 points of championship leader Simon Pagenaud as the Verizon IndyCar Series heads into this month's Indianapolis 500. After starting fourth, Dixon gained one spot in the opening lap and continued to run in the top three through the final round of pit stops on Lap 63. He then caught and passed Helio Castroneves for second place, holding on until the checkers at the end of 85 laps.
Behind Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay had his best result of the season, with a third-place finish for Andretti Autosport after gaining ground with a strong run during the middle of the caution-free contest.
After also enduring a tough start to the season, Graham Rahal took advantage of a fast car while running on the 'black' hard-compound primary Firestone tires to finish sixth, his best result of 2017. Dixon's teammate, Max Chilton, matched his career-best Indy car result with a seventh-place finish, while defending Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi finished eighth.
Video recaps from this month's Honda racing activities at Indianapolis, including this weekend's road race and the Indianapolis 500 on May 28, are being posted on the 'Honda Racing/HPD' YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found in the 2015 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
With the completion of the INDYCAR Grand Prix, the focus of drivers and teams now turns to the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. Activities on the famed 2.5-mile oval begin Monday with the first of five full days of practice for the May 28 event, and qualifying starting on Saturday, May 20.
Scott Dixon (#9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 4th, finished 2nd, his third podium finish, and fifth top-five result, in five races in 2017: 'It was definitely a tough race. We couldn't really hold onto the rear tires. The Honda just had too much power there. We were spinning the rear tires. Good championship points there for everybody on the NTT DATA car. Great day for Honda. Obviously, not a win, but very close. Looking forward to Monday and getting on the big track here starting practice for the Indianapolis 500.'
Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28 Andretti Autosport Honda) started 8th, finished 3rd, best result of 2017: 'It was a pretty solid day. We've had a lot of bad luck this year, and it's been frustrating. But we kept our heads down and it feels nice to finish on the podium here, before we kick off the most important few weeks of our careers and our whole season at the Indianapolis 500. It's nice to get the yellow and red DHL colors back here to Victory Circle and close to the top step of the podium. We're saving that for the Indianapolis 500, I guess.'
Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: 'We had two of the top six qualifiers yesterday, and turned that into two of the top three finishers in the race. Although not completely successful, all things considered, it was not a bad day. It was a good day for our championship efforts, both on the manufacturers' and drivers' fronts. We had some great drives from Scott, Ryan, Graham and Max, but now our focus shifts to the Indianapolis 500 and our goal of winning here for the 12th time since 2004.'
INDYCAR Grand Prix
Circuit: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.439-mile road course) Indianapolis, IN
2016 Winner: Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) 108.784 mph average
Weather: Sunny, mild, 78 degrees F