Honda clinched its 10th overall, and fourth consecutive
Honda clinched its 10th overall, and fourth consecutive, NTT INDYCAR SERIES Manufacturers’ Championship today at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with a podium sweep today in the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.
Today’s title clinch comes on the 25th anniversary, of Honda’s first IndyCar Manufacturers’ championship, recorded on Sept. 8, 1996, with a 1-4 result for Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Alex Zanardi and Jimmy Vasser. Vasser claimed Honda’s first drivers’ title in the same event.
The Honda one-two-three result was led by Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta, winning from pole for the second consecutive time – just as he did in the series’ last visit to Laguna Seca in 2019. Herta would lead all but four laps in today’s 95-lap event en route to his second victory of 2021.
Championship points leader Alex Palou finished second, extending his points lead over Pato O’Ward to 35 with one race remaining. Former F1 driver Romain Grosjean advanced from 13th on the grid, and surviving late-race contact, to round out the podium in the #51 Dale Coyne with RWR Honda.
Graham Rahal finished just off the podium in fourth position, completing a Honda sweep of the top-four positions of the day. For Rahal, it was his seventh top-five finish of the year.
R – Rookie
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Manufacturers’ Championship (unofficial, after 15 of 16 rounds)
Honda 1,306 points [clinches title]
1. Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 517 points [3 wins]
2. Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP 482 [2 wins]
3. Josef Newgarden, Team Penske 469 [2 wins]
4. Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 445 [1 win]
Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport Honda) Race winner, his second win of 2021 and fifth career Indy car victory: “I just enjoy racing here [at Laguna Seca] so much. It’s an amazing track, and it’s been so good to me and my family [father Bryan Herta also has two Indy car wins here]. To go ‘two-for-two’ so far in my career is incredible. We were fast all weekend, and I was happy that we could seal the deal in the race. The was always pressure from [second finishing] Alex [Paou] behind me. He really closed the gap between us back up at the end of each stint, and at the end of the race. I’m just so happy. This is my favorite track in North America, by far. To win here, it means so much.”
Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Finished second, leads Drivers’ Championship by 35 points with one race remaining; can clinch his first title by finishing 11th or better at next weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach: “It was an amazing day. I was surprised to find we were really competitive with [Colton] Herta in the race. We weren’t able to win today, but I was trying my best for the entire race, and we were able to do the best we could do. It was exciting with [Romain] Grosjean catching us there at the end. I think it was an amazing race.”
Romain Grosjean (Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda) Finished third: “The last stint was very (sic) fun. We had fresher tires than everyone else and it was exciting to catch and pass so many people. It’s been a great day. I’m sorry to Jimmie [Johnson] for our contact out there. He was trying to protect [teammate] Alex [Palou], but I wanted to go and chase Alex! So P13 [at the start] to P3 [at the finish], it was a pretty good day!”
David Salters (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s championship- clinching race at Laguna Seca: “This is a moment where I would like to thank all of the stupendous efforts of our team at HPD - who work really hard and are always trying to improve themselves - and days like this just validate their efforts. This is our fourth consecutive Manufacturers’ Championship, our 10th total it comes on the 25th anniversary, almost to the day, of our first IndyCar title. It just shows how serious Honda is in developing people and technology through motorsports. Massive thanks to Honda, massive thanks to our brilliant team, and our brilliant teams! And what a way to win in, we had another sweep this weekend thanks to Colton, Alex and Romain - superb efforts. Well done!”
• This is the ninth INDYCAR victory from 15 races for Honda this season, and the second consecutive 1-2-3-4 sweep for the manufacturer. Palou won the Grand Prix of Portland last weekend, and was followed to the checkers by fellow Honda drivers Alexander Rossi, Scott Dixon and Jack Harvey.
• In addition to the 1996 title, Manufacturers’ Championships followed for Honda in 1998- 99 and 2001 in Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) competition; and in 2004-05 in the Indy Racing League. From 2006 through 2011, Honda served as the sole engine supplier to the IRL.
• Honda’s current championship streak started in 2018, with all five Honda-powered teams winning at least one race, and the company scoring 11 wins in the 17-race season to record its seventh title. Eighth and ninth titles followed in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES concludes next weekend with the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, which will decide the 2021 Drivers’ Championship.
Honda Racing social media content and video links from Laguna Seca can be found on Instagram (www.instagram.com/hondaracing_hpd), Twitter (twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD). Additional features and long-form videos can be found on the Honda Racing/HPD YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV).
SOURCE: PRESS RELEASE
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