• Honda, Hinchcliffe to start from the pole
• Rossi leads five-driver rookie field
• Honda to field 17 drivers and teams in celebrated race
TORRANCE, California (May 25, 2016) – As the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 approaches on Sunday, Honda and its Honda Performance Development racing subsidiary will be starting the historic race from a position of strength, with a Honda driver on the coveted pole and having claimed eight of the top 12 starting positions.
“We’re honored to be part of the Indianapolis 500 for the historic 100th running of the race, and proud of what Honda power has contributed to this great American open-wheel racing tradition,” said Art St. Cyr, President of HPD. “Honda’s racing spirit runs deep, and the passion we bring to the track, joined to our commitment to innovation and continuous improvement, touches all aspects of our company and its products.”
James Hinchcliffe turned the fastest laps in both first-round and final qualifying last weekend to take the pole in his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda. Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Indy 500 champion with Honda and Andretti Autosport, will start on the outside of the front row, in third.
A pair of Andretti Autosport entries, driven by Townsend Bell and Carlos Munoz, will start on the second row, in fourth and fifth places, respectively. Mikhail Aleshin, Hinchcliffe’s teammate, will start seventh in the second of three Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entries, as Honda drivers held the edge in “Fast Nine” final qualifying on Sunday.
The fourth of the eleven rows of three that make up the historic starting field is all-Honda, led by Oriol Servia, who qualified 10th in the third Schmidt Peterson Honda. Next to Servia at the start of Sunday’s race will be Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi, the quickest rookie in the field, with the Honda of Takuma Sato starting 12th, driving for the legendary A.J. Foyt. Although just missing out on Sunday’s “Fast Nine” session, third-generation racer Marco Andretti starts from the middle of the fifth row, 14th, in his Andretti Autosport Honda.
Starting on the inside of the eighth row, 21st, will be Gabby Chaves, the 2015 Rookie of the Year at the Speedway, who will lead the four-Honda effort from Dale Coyne Racing. Teammates Conor Daly and Pippa Mann will start 24th and 25th respectively, with Bryan Clauson qualifying 28th in his Dale Coyne Honda.
Graham Rahal will be seeking to follow in his father Bobby’s footsteps as an Indy 500 champion, starting 26th, with rookie Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate Spencer Pigot lining up 29th. Honda’s 17-car field is rounded out by the A.J. Foyt Racing duo of Jack Hawksworth, making his third “500” start from 31st, while veteran Alex Tagliani completes the grid, starting 33rd after a crash during his qualifying run.
Honda is the most successful car maker of all-time at the Indy 500, winning more races, having more starts and completing more laps than any other auto manufacturer in the 99 previous editions of the event. Since 1994, Honda has taken part in 15 Indianapolis 500 races, and powered 10 race winners at The Brickyard.
During 23 years of uninterrupted IndyCar competition, Honda has won 12 manufacturers’ championships, with Honda-powered drivers winning 217 races and 15 series championships – a record unmatched by any other automaker since Honda entered the series in 1994.
Honda’s Indianapolis 500 Historical Highlights:
o Honda has won more Indianapolis 500 races than any automaker: 10 victories from 15 races
o Honda has had more starts at the Indianapolis 500 than any other auto manufacturer: 301 starts
o Honda has completed more race laps at the Indianapolis 500 than any other carmaker: 50,019 laps