Honda Baltimore IZOD IndyCar Talking Points

Grand Prix of Baltimore
September 2, 2012
2 p.m. EDT
NBC Sports Network

COMPETITION

  • 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 join Honda this year in providing engines to the 25-car Baltimore starting field.
  • After winning the Indianapolis 500 with driver Dario Franchitti, Honda comes to this weekend's race second in the Manufacturers' Championship, with 90 points, to 105 for Chevrolet.  Lotus is third, with 52 points.
  • Honda's most recent IZOD IndyCar Series victory was recorded earlier this month at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon posted his second win of the season at the Honda Indy 200. 
  • The victory was Honda's fourth of 2012 and kept Dixon's pursuit of a third IndyCar drivers' championship alive.  Coming into Baltimore, Dixon is 54 points behind leader Will Power. 
  • Franchitti's victory at Indianapolis 500 was his third triumph at the Memorial Day weekend classic, and led a 1-2 for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with teammate Dixon second.  The '500' was the first of three consecutive victories for Honda-powered drivers in May and June.
  • One week after Indy, Dixon dominated the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, qualifying on the pole and leading every lap, followed by Franchitti in second and Schmidt Hamilton Racing's Simon Pagenaud third in a podium sweep for Honda in the "Motor City".
  • Honda-powered drivers finished 1-2 at Texas Motor Speedway in June.  Justin Wilson claimed the victory after leader Graham Rahal brushed the Turn 4 wall with just two laps remaining.  Rahal held on to finish second.
  • Dixon has led an IZOD IndyCar Series-high 431 laps this season, and has led at eight of 13 races, also a series high.  Dixon led all 60 laps at Detroit, and race-high totals of 133 laps at Texas, 37 at St. Petersburg and 38 at Barber Motorsports Park.  Helio Castroneves is ranked second with 264 laps led.

MARKETING

  • Honda's popular "Fastest Seat in Sports" sweepstakes returns at Baltimore, with two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk at the wheel of the two-seat Indy car.  He will take winner Tyler Treiber of Uniontown, Ohio, on the ride of a lifetime around the Baltimore street circuit in advance of the green flag for Sunday's race.  Interested fans can find out more information on the "Fastest Seat in Sports" at shophonda.com.

HONDA AT BALTIMORE

  • In 2011, during Honda's final year as engine supplier to the full IZOD IndyCar Series field, Team Penske's Will Power used a Honda Indy V-8 engine to win the inaugural Grand Prix of Baltimore.  Oriol Servia finished second, followed by Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon.  All five drivers will return to Baltimore for this year's race. 

THE FINALE

  • Following this weekend's Baltimore Grand Prix, the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series concludes with the MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships, Sept. 14-15 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. This will mark INDYCAR's first appearance at Auto Club Speedway since 2005, when Dario Franchitti drove a Honda to victory during the final year of IndyCar Series multi-manufacturer competition prior to this season. The 500-mile season finale will be contested under the lights on the two-mile, D-shaped Auto Club Speedway oval.
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