Honda Houston Talking Points
Shell & Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston
Presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers
Reliant Park, Houston, TX
Race 1, 3:30 p.m. EDT Saturday, October 5, 2013
Race 2, 12:30 p.m. EDT Sunday, October 6, 2013
NBC Sports Network
ENGINE MANUFACTURER COMPETITION
- Honda drivers and teams have won five of the last six IZOD IndyCar Series events. The run began at the Pocono Indy 400 in July, then 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 series' most recent race, the Grand Prix of Baltimore on Labor Day weekend.
- With eight victories this season, Honda is tied with Chevrolet, each with 120 points, in the battle for the IndyCar Manufacturers' Championship.
- Honda-powered drivers have already swept the previous two IndyCar Series doubleheader race weekends this season, in Detroit (Mike Conway, Simon Pagenaud) and Toronto (Scott Dixon, both wins). A sweep of the Houston races would clinch the 2013 Manufacturers' Championship for Honda.
- Of Honda's eight 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. With three wins, Dixon is second in the driver's championship, 49 points behind current points leader Helio Castroneves. Pagenaud is third with 431 points, 70 points behind.
- In Baltimore, Pagenaud led a 1-2 finish for Honda, with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing's Josef Newgarden a career-best second. Justin Wilson finished fourth, with Kimball sixth.
- Honda's 204 Indy car victories include 105 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.
HONDA IN HOUSTON
- This year's Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers, marks the return of Indy car racing to Houston for the first time since 2007.
- Honda drivers and teams won three of the first four events, held at a temporary street circuit next to the downtown Houston Convention Center from 1998-2001.
- In 1998, Honda scored its first podium sweep in Indy car competition, a race won by Franchitti, then racing for Team KOOL Green; with Alex Zanardi finishing second and Tony Kanaan, driving for Tasman Motorsports, third. Zanardi's Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Jimmy Vasser, finished fourth.
- In 1999, Paul Tracy led a 1-2 result for Honda, with Team KOOL Green teammate Franchitti finishing second.
- Team Penske's Gil de Ferran won in Houston in 2001, en route to his second CART drivers' championship. Franchitti again finished second. The 2013 race will mark Honda's Indy car return to Houston for the first time since 2001.
- Morris Feigel from Edmond, Oklahoma, 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 two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk.
HONDA ACCORD SAFETY CAR
- The new 2013 Honda Accord Coupe, which will be utilized as the IZOD IndyCar Series Safety Car this weekend, made its debut at this year's season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. This Accord was originally built by Honda of America Manufacturing in Marysville, Ohio, and developed into a series Safety Car at Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, Calif.
- Modifications installed on the Accord by HPD include Sparco seats and four-point racing harnesses; an HPD high-performance brake system, with four-piston calipers, competition rotors, racing pads, and stainless brake lines; a Honda Genuine Accessory aerodynamic body kit; Firestone Firehawk high-performance tires mounted on Enkei alloy wheels; and an IndyCar Series graphics package.