Late Charge Nets Second for Dixon, Third for Hinchcliffe in Iowa
- Scott Dixon recovers from one-lap deficit to finish second at Iowa 300
- James Hinchcliffe also moves up in the closing laps to finish third
NEWTON, IA (July 20, 2019) – Gambling on pit strategy paid big rewards for Chip Ganassi Racing and Scott Dixon tonight at Iowa Speedway, as the defending NTT IndyCar Series champion was able to stretch his next-to-last stint on track, take advantage of a late-race caution flag to pit for fresh tires, and finish second in the rain-delayed Iowa 300.
Although it started nearly four hours late after a late-afternoon thunderstorm rolled through the Iowa Speedway grounds, fans were rewarded with a thrilling finish, as both Dixon and 2018 Iowa race winner James Hinchcliffe made rapid gains in the closing 25 laps in an effort to chase down eventual winner Josef Newgarden.
Starting eighth, Dixon struggled with handling aboard his Ganassi Honda throughout the first two-thirds of the race, running as far back as 16th and a lap down on the leaders. However, running an extended third stint allowed Dixon to both regain the lead lap and make his last pit stop under caution – the result of a spin by Ed Carpenter. With fresh tires and chassis adjustments, Dixon charged through the final laps, passing both Simon Pagenaud and Hinchcliffe, and closing to within 2.8 seconds of winner Newgarden at the checkers.
Hinchcliffe’s race, while less dramatic, featured an equally strong finish. Starting fifth, the Canadian ran at the tail end of the lead group for the first two stints as he worked to adjust his Arrow Schmidt Peterson Honda to the changing track conditions. Following a long multi-car battle mid-race with the likes of Alexander Rossi, Spencer Pigot and the impressive Santino Ferrucci, Hinchcliffe moved into fourth place on Lap 250, and was third when the caution flag waved for Carpenter’s spin on Lap 270. Losing a position to Dixon on the final restart, he then passed Pagenaud for third, his first podium finish of 2019.
Rookie Ferrucci made up multiple positions on almost every restart, using the high line to his advantage and at one point running as high as fourth, before fading in the closing laps to 12th. Meanwhile, championship contender Rossi used the low line almost exclusively enroute to a sixth-place finish.
Social media content and video links from this weekend’s IndyCar Series action from Iowa – and Acura Motorsports GTD race highlights from Lime Rock Park – 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.
After back-to-back race weekends in Toronto and Iowa, the NTT IndyCar Series next returns to one of Honda’s “home” events, the July 28 Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Lexington, Ohio. With multiple nearby Honda manufacturing, corporate and R&D facilities, thousands of Honda associates will be on hand to cheer for their favorite Honda IndyCar drivers.
Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started eighth, improved from one lap down and 16th place to finish second: “Holy smokes, we finished second! At one point, I thought it’d be 22nd. Huge credit to the Chip Ganassi Racing team, they definitely pulled one out there. We stayed long [on the third stint] before our last pit stop, and caught the yellow [caution flag] at the right moment. So we had new tires [for the final run] while a lot of others were on used tires and marched to the front. We couldn’t quite get to [eventual winner] Josef [Newgarden]. You can’t get much more excitement than at the short track here in Iowa, with the high banks and the high speed. The team just did an incredible job tonight, and I’m so stoked for our recovery.”
James Hinchcliffe (Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) Started fifth, finished third: “The Arrow car just got better and better as the race went on. We started in the top five, but spent the first stint feeling out the car and the track [after the earlier rain]. We made some really good changes during our pit stops. We didn’t have quite as much tire degradation as we would’ve if it had stayed hot, which is where I thought we were strongest, so we didn’t have quite the advantage at the end of each stint that we would’ve had if the weather had stayed warmer. But still, we had a lot of close battles out there and ultimately to be back on the podium here in Iowa is great. I can’t believe it’s our first one of the year, but really proud of our guys and looking forward to Mid-Ohio next week.”
Allen Miller (Race Team Principal, Honda Performance Development) on today’s Iowa 300: “Tonight’s race demonstrated why short ovals are so challenging for the teams, and so exciting for the fans to watch. Everything changed so dramatically in the final 25 laps, it made for another exciting finish here. Congratulations to Scott [Dixon] and James [Hinchcliffe], who were both tenacious in the final 50 laps and well-earned their podium finishes. Special thanks to all the great fans here in Iowa who stuck with us through the showers earlier today, and throughout the race. Now we’re all looking forward to returning to our Midwestern ‘home’ track next week at Mid-Ohio for the Honda Indy 200.”
NTT IndyCar Series Iowa 300
Circuit: Iowa Speedway (0.894-mile oval) Newton, Iowa
2018 Winner: James Hinchcliffe (Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) 149.636 mph average
Weather: Cloudy, afternoon showers, brief light rain mid-race, 72 degrees F
Top-10 Race Results:
|1.||3.||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Chevrolet||300|
|2.||8.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||300||+2.8527 seconds|
|3.||5.||James Hinchcliffe||Arrow Schmidt Peterson||Honda||300|
|4.||1.||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||Chevrolet||300|
|5.||19.||Spencer Pigot||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet||300|
|6.||6.||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Honda||300|
|7.||20.||Zach Veach||Andretti Autosport||Honda||300|
|8.||7.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Honda||299|
|9.||21.||Sebastien Bourdais||DCR with Vasser-Sullivan||Honda||299|
|10.||13.||Tony Kanaan||A.J. Foyt Racing||Chevrolet||299|
Other Honda Results
|11.||10.||Marcus Ericsson-R||Arrow Schmidt Peterson||Honda||299||Running|
|12.||12.||Santino Ferrucci-R||Dale Coyne Racing||Honda||299||Running|
|14.||15.||Felix Rosenqvist-R||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||299||Running|
|17.||9.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Honda||298||Running|
|18.||11.||Colton Herta-R||Harding Steinbrenner||Honda||276||Did not finish – mechanical|
|20.||4.||Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Honda||216||Did not finish – damage|
|21.||18.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Honda||205||Did not finish – handling|