Honda teams reign this weekend in Chevy’s backyard

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Last week, Chevrolet took over the Indianapolis 500. But this weekend on its home turf in Detroit, the Bowtie came undone.

Honda struck back hard after Chevy’s 1-2-3-4 finish at the Brickyard, as they came away with five of six possible podium positions during this weekend’s Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit doubleheader at Belle Isle Park.

They got wins from both Mike Conway and Simon Pagenaud (pictured), as well as an additional third-place result from Justin Wilson on Saturday and second and third-place efforts from James Jakes and Conway on Sunday.

Pagenaud, in particular, has been something of a Honda “lifer.” He has raced with the manufacturer in some way, shape or form since 2008, when Gil de Ferran hired him as his co-driver of his Acura prototype on his sports car team in the American Le Mans Series.

“Honda are famous for making great race engines,” Pagenaud said. “That’s what they did at the Indy 500; they came back very strong. I think they understood how the engine is working a little bit better at Indy, and it’s paying off here in Detroit.

“It’s very sweet for them to win in General Motors’ city, but I want to thank GM for putting on this event,” he added, graciously. “It’s great to have promoters and partners. I wouldn’t bash them at all. But I’m definitely proud of Honda’s work and proud to be part of the family.”

The second Dual race was especially massive for the manufacturer, as they covered the entire Top 5 with Pagenaud, Jakes, Conway, Scott Dixon in fourth and Dario Franchitti in fifth.

“This one is for Honda,” said Jakes after claiming his best career IndyCar finish. “Three Hondas on the podium in Detroit again. They’ve really worked their butts off since Indy, and we’re proud of them.”

The best result that the Chevrolet camp could come up with on Sunday was a sixth-place effort from Marco Andretti, who is now tied with Helio Castroneves for the championship lead.

Both of them, along with Ryan Hunter-Reay (who finished second on Saturday for Chevy’s lone podium of the weekend), make up the top three in the standings. That may give the group a small measure of consolation after being beaten in their backyard for the second year in a row; in 2012, Honda-powered drivers Dixon, Franchitti and Pagenaud locked out the Belle Isle podium.