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.

Tickets on sale for 2019 IndyCar race at Circuit of the Americas

Alison Narro, COTA
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Tickets are now on sale for the upcoming IndyCar Classic at the Circuit of the Americas March 22-24, 2019 and in grand Texas fashion, the series and track kicked off the sale with appearances by Simon Pagenaud and Colton Herta in San Antonio and Austin respectively.

The CoTA race will be the second race of the 2019 season.

Simon Pagenaud visited the Alamo as part of IndyCar’s announcement of ticket sales for next year’s IndyCar Classic at the Circuit of the Americas (Alison Narro – COTA)

The highly anticipated debut of IndyCar at CoTA adds another marquee event to the track’s schedule along with Formula 1, World Rallycross and the Pirelli World Challenge.

Pagenaud was joined by retired San Antonio Sours player Brent Barry and local businessman Red McCombs as they visited the Alamo and world famous McNay Art Museum.

This will be IndyCar’s first trip to the track, but Pagenaud came within one position of winning at Texas Motor Speedway in 2018. Driving for Team Penske, he started and second behind his teammate Josef Newgarden and finished a season-best second to Scott Dixon.

Pagenaud hopes to add to his current 11 victories after going winless in 2018.

Colton Herta, who will compete for Rookie of the Year honors in IndyCar in 2019, made his presence known in the Gen-X capital of Austin, Texas (Alison Narro – COTA)

After visting San Antonio, focus shifted to Austin where Herta was joined by Jay Frye, President of Competition and Operations at IndyCar and Bobby Epstein, Chairman of Circuit of the Americas.

Herta took to the streets of Austin and visited the Texas State Capitol building as part of his tour.

Herta, who will turn 19-years-old the week after IndyCar visits CoTA, will campaign for Rookie of the Year honors in 2019. He has one previous start in the series at Sonoma this September. He qualified 19th and completed all 85 laps before finishing 20th in the 25-car field.

In 33 starts in Indy Lights competition, Herta has six wins, 20 podium finishes and nine poles.