Honda Indy 500 Talking Points

5/22/2012 1:04:00 PM

Indianapolis 500-Mile Race
May 27, 2012
11 a.m. EDT
ABC Television Network

COMPETITION

  • Fifteen starters in this year's Indianapolis 500 will use the Honda HI12RT turbocharged V-6 engine. Eleven are full-season competitors: Mike Conway, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, James Jakes, Charlie Kimball, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, Alex Tagliani and Justin Wilson.
  • In addition to the regular-season drivers, drivers utilizing Honda power at Indianapolis include Townsend Bell, Bryan Clauson, Wade Cunningham and Michel Jourdain, Jr.
  • 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 33-car Indianapolis 500 starting field.

HONDA HERITAGE AT INDY

  • Honda has powered the last eight Indianapolis 500 race winners, versus manufacturer competition in 2004-05, and as single engine supplier from 2006-11. Winners have included Buddy Rice (2004), Dan Wheldon (2005 and 2011), Sam Hornish, Jr. (2006), Dario Franchitti (2007 and 2010), Scott Dixon (2008) and Helio Castroneves (2009).
  • From 2006-2011, Honda supplied engines to every IndyCar Series competitor. A total of 98 drivers raced with the Honda Indy V-8 during that period, with 15 drivers recording race victories. Honda engines logged approximately 1.2 million miles of practice, qualifying and racing in the series; and nearly 500,000 actual race miles.
  • During the six years that Honda served as IndyCar engine supplier, the company provided engines to the full 33-car Indianapolis 500 starting field - and for the only six times in Indy 500 history (2006-2011), there were no engine failures recorded in the Memorial Day weekend classic.
  • Honda's first competitive appearance at Indianapolis took place in 1994, but the company first put a car on track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, 1968, when Honda conducted an evaluation test using a Formula One car with driver Ronnie Bucknum.

MANUFACTURING

  • Located approximately 40 miles southeast of Indianapolis in Greensburg, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana (HMIN) is Honda's newest North American auto assembly plant. HMIN employs approximately 2,000 associates from Greensburg, Indianapolis and nearby communities; and has the capacity to produce 200,000 cars each year, including the Honda Civic, the Civic Natural Gas and the new Acura ILX sedan.
  • The 1,600-acre HMIN site also features state-of-the-art environmental protection, including lakes around the facility designed to serve as natural aquatic filters to protect local aquifers, rehabilitation of the area floodplain with new creek-side forest growth, and a zero waste-to-landfill policy, meaning nothing from the site is sent to landfills.
  • On Thursday, May 10, four Honda Indianapolis 500 drivers visited Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, including two-time race winner and Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Dario Franchitti, A.J. Foyt Racing's Mike Conway; Dale Coyne Racing's Justin Wilson, and Graham Rahal of Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing. Drivers received a guided tour of the facility, met associates at their individual work stations, and held a two-hour autograph session for plant associates.

MARKETING

  • Honda's popular "Fastest Seat in Sports" sweepstakes makes its fifth stop of the 2012 season at the Indianapolis 500 this weekend. Legendary racer Mario Andretti will take Thomas Patton of Celina, OH for the ride of a lifetime around the historic 2.5-mile oval in a two-seater IndyCar, in advance of the green flag for Sunday's 96th Indianapolis 500. Interested fans can find out more information on the "Fastest Seat in Sports" at shophonda.com.

SUPPORT RACE

  • For the second consecutive year, American Honda will support Starting Grid, Inc.'s diversity-based driver development program. Chase Austin will again compete in the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race on May 25, this year driving for Juncos Racing. In 2011, Austin finished ninth in the 18-car field in his Indy Lights debut.