Honda Sonoma IndyCar Talking Points
GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
August 26, 2012 4 p.m.
EDT NBC Sports Network
- The 2012 season marks the return of manufacturer competition to the IZOD IndyCar Series after six years of Honda serving as single engine supplier. Chevrolet and Lotus now join Honda in providing engines to the 27-car Sonoma starting field.
- Honda comes to this weekend's race second in the Manufacturers' Championship, with 84 points, to 96 for Chevrolet. Lotus is third, with 48 points.
- Honda's most recent IZOD IndyCar Series victory was recorded two weeks ago at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon posted his second win of the season at the Honda Indy 200.
- The victory was Honda's fourth of 2012 and moved Dixon into the thick of the drivers' championship battle, now just 28 points behind leader Will Power.
- Dario Franchitti won this year's Indianapolis 500, his third triumph at the Memorial Day weekend classic, and led a 1-2 for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with teammate Dixon second. The '500' was the first of three consecutive victories for Honda-powered drivers in May and June.
- One week after Indy, Dixon dominated the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, qualifying on the pole and leading every lap, followed by Franchitti in second and Schmidt Hamilton Racing's Simon Pagenaud third in a podium sweep for Honda in the "Motor City".
- Honda-powered drivers finished 1-2 at Texas Motor Speedway in June. Justin Wilson claimed the victory after leader Graham Rahal brushed the Turn 4 wall with just two laps remaining. Rahal held on to finish second.
- Dixon has led an IZOD IndyCar Series-high 431 laps this season, and has led at eight of 10 races, also a series high. Dixon led all 60 laps at Detroit, and race-high totals of 133 laps at Texas, 37 at St. Petersburg and 38 at Barber Motorsports Park. Helio Castroneves is ranked second with 264 laps led.
- Honda's popular "Fastest Seat in Sports" sweepstakes returns at Sonoma, with racing legend Mario Andretti at the wheel of the two-seat Indy car. He will take Jessica Gunn of Houston, Texas, on the ride of a lifetime around the challenging Sonoma road course in advance of the green flag for Sunday's race. Interested fans can find out more information on the "Fastest Seat in Sports" at shophonda.com.
HONDA AT SONOMA
- Honda has supplied the winning engine in all seven previous IndyCar races at Sonoma, including the inaugural 2005 event, when multi-manufacturer competition was still part of the series. Tony Kanaan and Buddy Rice scored a 1-2 finish for Honda over the Toyota-powered cars of Alex Barron and Patrick Carpentier. Tomas Enge was the highest-finishing Chevrolet entry, fifth.
- During the era of single engine supply to the IZOD IndyCar Series, Will Power has won twice, in 2010 and 2011. Other Sonoma winners include Marco Andretti (his first IndyCar victory, 2006); Scott Dixon, 2007; Helio Castroneves, 2008; and Dario Franchitti, 2009.
HONDA CIVIC Si PACE AND SAFETY CARS
- A fleet of new Honda Civic Si coupes and sedans is being utilized for Safety Car and Pace Car duties in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series. The cars will make their seventh appearance of the season at this weekend's GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. The Civic Si Coupe made its debut as an IZOD IndyCar Series Safety Car at the 2011 Honda Indy Toronto, and a quartet of Civic Si's ultimately replaced the Honda Accords formerly used by the series.
- Cars started out as standard Civic Si models, built by Honda of Canada Manufacturing, and were developed according to INDYCAR Pace Car/Safety Car specifications by Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, Calif.
- Modifications installed at HPD include Sparco seats and four-point racing harnesses; an HPD high-performance brake system, with four-piston calipers, competition rotors, racing pads, and stainless brake lines; a Honda Genuine Accessory aerodynamic body kit, consisting of front, side and rear under spoilers; Firestone Firehawk 225/40 R18 tires mounted on Enkei alloy wheels, and an IZOD IndyCar Series graphics package.