Round 14 Pocono

  • Dixon Runs Second for Honda in Rain-Shortened Pocono Event

    Avoiding an opening-lap crash that eliminated or delayed five Honda drivers, Scott Dixon contended for the race victory throughout the ABC Supply Co., Inc. 500 and ultimately finished second in the weather-shortened run at Pocono Raceway.


Report

Dixon Runs Second for Honda in Rain-Shortened Pocono Event

August 18, 2019 - LONG POND, Penn.

  • Scott Dixon continues championship defense with runner-up finish
  • Santino Ferrucci impresses with fourth-place finish
  • Opening-lap crash damages Alexander Rossi’s championship effort

Avoiding an opening-lap crash that eliminated or delayed five Honda drivers – including championship contender Alexander Rossi – Scott Dixon contended for the race victory throughout today’s ABC Supply Co., Inc. 500 and ultimately finished second in the weather-shortened run at Pocono Raceway.

Today’s second-place result, combined with a win three weeks ago at the Honda Indy 200, moves Dixon within 42 points of championship leader Josef Newgarden, after trailing by 98 points following the Iowa Speedway round in July. Three rounds remain in the 2019 NTT Indycar Series championship, including the double-points paying finale next month at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

For the second year in a row, the race was marred by a multi-car collision that eliminated or damaged five Honda entries on the opening lap, including championship contender Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and rookie points leader Felix Rosenqvist.  

Rossi, Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe returned to the race after repairs to their cars to gain additional championship points.  Rosenqvist, who exited his car under his own power, was transported to a local hospital, then released after further examination.

For Rossi, the long delay to repair his car resulted in an 18th-place finish, which was shortened to 128 laps of the scheduled 200-lap distance when lightning and later heavy rain moved across the raceway.  Trailing Newgarden by 16 points at the start of the weekend, Rossi remains second in the drivers’ championship, but now falls 35 points behind.

After a 45-minute delay to repair the track, the race resumed with Dixon battling Simon Pagenaud for the lead, while Graham Rahal, Santino Ferrucci and Sebastien Bourdais ran third through fifth.  With rain threatening to arrive before the scheduled finish, the order changed frequently through the middle third of the contest, as various pit and fuel strategies played out on the 2.5-mile Pocono tri-oval.

Dixon assumed the lead for the first time on Lap 78, and continued at the front through the next round of pit stops.  Following that stop, however, his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda developed increasing understeer [reluctance to turn into a corner] and Dixon was unable to hold off Will Power, who went on to win his first race of 2019.

Further back, rookie Ferrucci showed the form of a veteran to finish fourth, trailing Pagenaud but ahead of Newgarden, Ed carpenter and his Dale Coyne Racing teammate Sebastien Bourdais.

Social media content and video links from this weekend’s Indycar Series action from Pocono are available on the HPD Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD) channels.  Produced by the carolinas Production Group, YouTube video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.  

Next
The Verizon Indycar Series now heads west for the final oval race, and last Saturday night event, of the 2019 season, the August 24 Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park outside of St. Louis, Missouri.

Comments

Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started fourth, finished second, has closed to within 42 points of the championship lead:

“The car was really good until the last pit stop, then something changed and the car just didn’t want to turn.  That’s why I got stuck behind some of the lapped traffic in the closing laps.  It’s been an interesting day, [with the delay from the opening lap crash and weather-shortened race], it almost felt like a 24-hour race!  I’m just glad that everyone is okay.”  [on closing the point gap to leader Josef Newgarden in the last three races] “It just goes to show you, with the platform we now have, how quickly things can change.  You’re never out of it until you’re mathematically eliminated.  We’ll keep our head down and keep charging on.”

Santino Ferrucci (Dale Coyne Racing Honda) Started 13th, finished fourth, equalling his season-best finish from Texas Motor Speedway:

 “This weekend has been pretty amazing. Hats off to the whole team, we rolled the car off the trailer and it was fast. I'd say that's a job well-done and homework well-researched. The #19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda was on rails. I think we definitely had a top three in us and we were fighting for a chance to win the race at one point. Obviously, with the conditions and everything, I'm still happy to bring home a top-five. It makes a huge difference in the rookie championship and moves us up to 12th overall [in the championship]. With three races to go, we'll see how much further we can move up."

Allen Miller (Race Team Principal, Honda Performance Development) on today’s Pocono race:

“Most important, we’re happy all of the drivers are okay after today’s opening-lap crash.  Congratulations to Scott Dixon; it’s great to see him continuing his championship fight, and to Santino Ferrucci, for equaling his career-best finish today.  It was encouraging to see such a good crowd today at Pocono, and it’s really unfortunate that weather prevented us from running the race to its conclusion.”

Results

IndyCar Series 2019
Round 14: Pocono Race

NTT Indycar Series ABC Supply 500
Circuit: Pocono Raceway (2.5-mile oval) Long Pond, PA
2018 Winner: Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport Honda) 191.314 mph average
Weather: Partly sunny, hot, 84 degrees F

Rank Driver (Team)
1 Will Power (Team Penske)
2 Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing)
3 Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske)
4 Santino Ferrucci (Dale Coyne Racing)
5 Josef Newgarden (Team Penske)
6 Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing)
7 Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan)
8 Tony Kanaan (A.J. Foyt Enterprises)
9 Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)
10 Charlie Kimball (Carlin)
12 Marcus Ericsson (Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)
13 Zach Veach (Andretti Autosport)
15 Marco Andretti (Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian)
16 Colton Herta (Harding Steinbrenner Racing)
18 Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport)
19 Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport)
20 James Hinchcliffe (Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)
21 Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)
22 Felix Rosenqvist (Chip Ganassi Racing)

Photos