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Honda Drivers Sweep Front Row for the Indianapolis 500

Honda Driver
  • Marco Andretti claims Honda’s 11th ‘500’ pole in Fast Nine final qualifying
  • Scott Dixon and Takuma Sato complete Honda front-row lockout
  • Honda takes 11 of the top 12 qualifying spots in dominant show of speed
  • 104th Indianapolis 500 takes place on Sunday, August 23

In a thrilling “Fast Nine” final qualifying shootout for the coveted pole starting position, Marco Andretti edged fellow Honda driver Scott Dixon today by just 0.017 mph for the honor of leading the field to the green flag in next Sunday’s 104th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Takuma Sato completed a front-row lockout for Honda, as the manufacturer swept the front row and claimed 11 of the top-12 starting positions for next weekend’s race.  Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe will start on the second row, fifth and sixth, respectively.  The third row also is all Honda, with rookie Alex Palou starting seventh, followed by Graham Rahal and Alexander Rossi.

Four different Honda-powered teams are represented in the top nine, including Andretti Autosport (Andretti, Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe and Rossi); Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Sato and Rahal); Chip Ganassi Racing (Dixon) and Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh (Palou).

Andretti’s four-lap margin over second fastest Scott Dixon was the third closest in “500” history.  Only 2012 (Ryan Briscoe over Honda’s James Hinchcliffe by 0.003 mph) and 1970 (Al Unser over Johnny Rutherford by 0.008 mph) were closer.

On Saturday, Honda drivers and teams also dominated first-round qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  In addition to placing eight drivers into the Fast Nine shootout, Honda drivers fill out the fourth row of the starting grid with Colton Herta, Marcus Ericsson and Spencer Pigot.  Felix Rosenqvist will start in the middle of the fifth row, 14th; with Zach Veach in the middle of row six and Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey in the center of the seventh row.  Santino Ferrucci will start to the inside of Harvey after qualifying 19th ; while James Davison rounds out the 15-driver Honda field and will start 27th.

Honda Racing social media content and videos from practice and qualifying from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is available on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and on Twitter at (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD).  Produced by the CoForce Digital Media, YouTube video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.

Next
The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 takes place on Sunday, August 23, with live television coverage on NBC starting with pre-race festivities at 1 p.m. EDT.

Quotes
Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport Honda) Pole qualifier, his first Indianapolis 500 pole, 11th Indy pole for Honda: “For me, I starting feeling the wind on Lap 2, which meant it was going to be a long couple of laps! Laps 3 and 4 definitely were sort of sketchy. [On leading the field to the green flag to start next weekend’s Indianapolis 500] It’s the best seat in the house! Clean air is always good here. Speed’s always good here and man, horsepower’s so cool, isn’t it? Makes everything so much easier.  Honda did an unbelievable job, and our team rolled off so fast [from the first of practice].  I’m just so excited!”

Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Qualified in the middle of the front row, second: “Massive thank you to Honda and HPD, they’ve done a tremendous job.  We know they’ve worked very hard for the race as well.  I feel like we didn’t leave much on the table, we could’ve also gotten the car a little more neutral, it was pretty ‘understeery’ right from the get-go.  But it is what it is, [Fast Nine qualifying] is tough, especially with the wind conditions today.  That’s what makes it so exciting, it was extremely close [for the pole] right there at the end and unfortunately, we came up a little bit short. But I’m extremely happy for Marco [Andretti]. He’s a great person and a really good racer.  We just have to try to beat them [in the race] next weekend.”

Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) Qualified on the outside of the front row, third: “First, big congrats to Marco [Andretti] and Andretti Autosport, they did a fantastic job [winning the pole]. Starting on the front row is a big accomplishment for us.  Everyone at Rahal Letterman Lanningan Racing worked hard over the off season to improved our performance here and the results showed today.  Honda, great, great work from them, just a tremendous job from them and the team.  Now we shift to preparing for the race.  We have another practice this afternoon that will be extremely important; also ‘Carb Day’ [final practice on Friday].  We believe we have a strong car in race trim, we’re so already looking forward to the race on Sunday.”

Ted Klaus (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s Indianapolis 500 pole and front-row sweep for Honda: “This has been a great weekend for Honda, and we’re thrilled to have the pole, and an all-Honda front row.  Everyone at HPD and our partner teams can take pride in the accomplishments this weekend. We all know that the race is going to be a battle. You’ll see tire degradation and pit strategy and fuel-saving strategy all play out just like it’s played out in years past. That’s why the race will be fascinating and fun to watch. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I don’t do anything to piss off the racing gods so that we can have one of our teams bring it home into Victory Circle next Sunday.”

Indianapolis 500 Starting Lineup
Circuit:               Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval), Indianapolis, IN
2019 Winner:    Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) 175.794 mph average
Weather:           Mostly sunny, warm, windy, 82 degrees F

Ps. Driver       Team Manufacturer Avg. Speed Notes
  1. Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Autosport Honda 231.068 Fast Nine final qualifier
  2. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 231.051 Fast Nine final qualifier
  3. Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 230.725 Fast Nine final qualifier
  4. Rinus VeeKay-R Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 230.704 Fast Nine final qualifier
  5. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda 230.648 Fast Nine final qualifier
  4. James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport  Honda 229.870 Fast Nine final qualifier
  7. Alex Palou-R DCR with Team Goh                Honda 229.676 Fast Nine final qualifier
  8. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 229.380 Fast Nine final qualifier
  9. Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Honda 229.234 Fast Nine final qualifier
10. Colton Herta Andretti Harding Autosport Honda 230.775  
11. Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing  Honda 230.763  
12. Spencer Pigot RLL with Citrone/Buhl Autosport Honda 230.539  
13. Josef Newgarden Team Penske Chevrolet 230.296  
14. Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing              Honda 230.254  
15. Pato O’Ward-R Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet 230.213  
16. Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 230.211  
17. Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Honda 229.961  
18. Conor Daly Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 229.955  
19. Santino Ferrucci DCR with Vasser-Sullivan       Honda 229.924  
20. Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Honda 229.861  
21. Oliver Askew-R Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet 229.760  
22. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 229.701  
23. Tony Kanaan A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet 229.154  
24. Dalton Kellett-R A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet 228.880  
25. Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Chevrolet 228.836  
26. Fernando Alonso Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet 228.768  
27. James Davison DCR with Ware/Byrd/Belardi Honda 228.747  
28. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet 228.373  
29. Charlie Kimball A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet 227.758  
30. Sage Karam Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet 227.099  
31. JR Hildebrand Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet 226.341  
32. Max Chilton Carlin Racing Chevrolet 225.819  
33. Ben Hanley Dragon Speed Racing Chevrolet 220.946  

 

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