Honda engines have always been known for their exceptional fuel economy. On Sunday, May 29th, Indy rookie Alexander Rossi stretched his final tank of fuel for 36 laps to the checkers – four more laps than any other competitor – to win the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. On a similar strategy, Carlos Munoz ran an impressive 32 laps after his final fill-up to make it a 1-2 finish for Honda and the Andretti Autosport team.
But Sunday's victory for Rossi and Honda wasn't just about saving fuel. He also turned the fastest lap of the race, at an average of 225.288 mph, with his Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti producing the second-fastest race lap, at 224.772 mph.
The victory was a record-extending 11th for Honda in 16 attempts at the "500", starting in 1994, the most of any major automobile manufacturer. Rossi was one of seven Honda drivers to lead portions of today's race. Pole qualifier James Hinchclife and outside front-row starter Ryan Hunter-Reay combined to lead all but two of the first 30 laps. Other Honda leaders included Munoz, Townsend Bell, Bryan Clauson and Alex Tagliani.
A series of mid-race incidents led several teams – including those of Rossi, Munoz and Tagliani – to go "off-sequence" on their pit strategy. That proved to be the correct call when Takuma Sato brushed the wall on Lap 163, bringing out the caution flag just inside the final pit window for both Rossi and Munoz. Restarting in seventh and eight, respectively, the pair cycled up the order as the leaders made their final stops for a splash of fuel in the closing laps. It was only on Lap 197 that Rossi assumed the lead, taking the checkers one lap later as the newest American winner of the Indianapolis 500.
Video recaps from Honda racing activities at Indianapolis, including the Indianapolis 500, have been posted on the "Honda Racing/HPD" YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found in the 2015 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.