Honda IndyCar Fontana Talking Points

10/16/2013 3:30:00 PM

MAVTV American Real 500
Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA
8:30 p.m. EDT Saturday, October 19, 2013
NBC Sports Network

ENGINE MANUFACTURER COMPETITION

  • The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series concludes with Saturday's MAVTV American Real 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race will decide both the IndyCar Manufacturers' Championship – between Honda and Chevrolet – and the Drivers' Championship between Honda-powered Scott Dixon and Chevrolet's Helio Castroneves.
  • With nine victories this season, Honda is tied with Chevrolet, each with 135 points, in the battle for the IndyCar Manufacturers' Championship. 
  • With an IndyCar Series-high four race wins in 2013, Dixon comes to Auto Club Speedway with a 25-point championship lead over Castroneves. A finish of fifth or better will secure Dixon's third drivers' title, no matter where Castroneves finishes.
  • Honda drivers and teams have won six of the last eight IZOD IndyCar Series events. The run began at the Pocono Indy 400 in July, continued through the doubleheader race weekend at the Honda Indy Toronto, the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in early August, and the Grand Prix of Baltimore on Labor Day weekend. Honda's most recent victory was recorded by Dixon in the first of two races at the Grand Prix of Houston earlier this month.
  • Of Honda's nine victories this year, four have included podium sweeps:
      • Long Beach, a one-through-four finish led by Takuma Sato, Graham Rahal, Justin Wilson and Dario Franchitti;
      • The second of two races at Detroit, a one-through-five result led by Simon Pagenaud, James Jakes, Mike Conway, Dixon and Franchitti;
      • Pocono, won by Dixon with Charlie Kimball second and Franchitti third;
      • Mid-Ohio, with Kimball winning, followed home by Pagenaud and Franchitti.
  • Dixon's Pocono win in July was Honda's 200th victory in Indy car competition.
  • Honda's 205 Indy car victories include 106 race wins in seasons with manufacturer competition, as well as 99 victories in the six-year period (2006-2011) when Honda supplied engines to the entire IndyCar Series field. 
  • In addition to being the final race in the 2013 IndyCar Series season, this weekend's MAVTV 500 will mark the last appearance of the Honda HI13RT engine in IndyCar competition, which features a single turbocharger. A new Honda engine will debut next season as INDYCAR competition rules for 2014 specify a twin-turbocharge configuration for all engines in the series.

HONDA AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY

  • Honda-powered IndyCar drivers have won three previous times at Auto Club Speedway, all in events featuring multi-manufacturer competition.
  • Dario Franchitti led a 1-2-3-4 Honda sweep of the top finishing positions in the 2005 Fontana race, followed to the checkers by his Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan, Rahal Letterman Racing's Vitor Meira and Scott Sharp, driving for Fernandez Racing.
  • In 2004, Honda drivers swept the top three, and claimed five of the top six finishing positions. Team owner/driver Adrian Fernandez won the 200-lap event, followed by Kanaan and the late Dan Wheldon, both driving for Andretti Green Racing. Buddy Rice finished fifth for Rahal Letterman Racing and Franchitti rounded out the top six.
  • In 1998, former series champion Jimmy Vasser won the 500-mile Championship Auto Racing Teams event in Fontana, with his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate – and future paralympic gold medal winner – Alex Zanardi finishing third during his second consecutive CART championship season.
  • James Fortney from Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, will be given the ride of a lifetime prior to the start of Sunday's race. The latest winner in Honda's Fastest Seat in Sports sweepstakes, Feigel will lead the field during the parade lap in the two-seat Honda IndyCar driven by Indianapolis 500 winner and racing legend Mario Andretti.