President of Honda Performance Development David Salters says he believes that their teams did everything they could not to win Saturday’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway. Takuma Sato in the No.30 Shield Cleansers Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing was the highest placed Honda-powered car in sixth place and speaking following the race the Japanese driver said:
St. Louis is one of our favorite tracks, we have a really good record here. Today, our qualifying wasn’t great, but we gradually started moving up. Unfortunately, at the last pit stop we had an issue with the refueling hose, so I had to come in again under yellow to top up [the fuel tank]. Without that, I think we would have had a really strong finish, but I think a top six [result]
was good for the whole team
Alex Palou who went into the race leading the championship suffered his second consecutive DNF after contact with Rinus VeeKay and his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon and speaking following the action the Spaniard said:
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish the race here tonight. We were running the top 10 early, and I think we were doing a
really good job, but we got crashed in Turn One [after contact from Rinus VeeKay] and there was nothing we could do. So, now we just move on to the last three races and keep doing our best for Honda and Chip Ganassi Racing
Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey in the No.60 AutoNation Sirius XM Honda started his final oval event for the team from 15th and came through the field to score a tenth place finish and speaking following the action he said:
“It was a great race. “That last yellow really hurt us and without it, I think that we could have finished fifth or sixth. We made good progress throughout the day. Everyone on pit lane was great and our strategy worked well for us. It’s been a good two weekends in a row and hopefully we can take this with us to Portland in a few weeks.”
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in the No.15 Hy-Vee Honda was left disappointed following contact with Ed Joes in the earlier stages of the race saw him having to retire from the event and in doing so means that the Ohio native no longer has a chance of a top-five finish in the championship and speaking following the race Rahal said:
Well I tried to give him (Jones) tons of room and he just never even hit an apex and slid up the track and apparently hit me. He said it was aggressive for the start, and my response would be that’s on his behalf because I broke early and I gave him a lot of space. So unfortunately, it’s a real shame for us in the championship, it’s a real shame overall. I was excited for tonight. Honestly, I thought I had a really good car – I wanted to go race hard and try and have a good finish so I’m just super disappointed. Unfortunately for us in our Hy-Vee Honda, our race came to a close very quickly. You know I don’t know what else to say, he probably needs to review the tape. I’ve certainly been at blame for a lot of accidents in my career, and a lot of mistakes – but tonight I felt that giving him two lanes of room should have been enough and if you watch the tape you can see that. I’m disappointed for Hy-Vee, and I’m disappointed for all the 15 car guys. Frankly starting ninth, we got boxed in there on the inside going into Turn 1. We’ve seen it on all the restarts and unfortunately it caused us to lose a couple of spots. From there, I thought we had a really great run on Ed. I wanted to start to move forward a little bit and that’s all she wrote. It’s a shame for Hy-Vee, it’s a shame for our Turns For Troops initiative with United Rentals. I’m definitely pretty bummed for everybody today but we will keep our heads up and focus on the next one.
Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing’s Romain Grosjean in the No.51 Nurtec ODT Honda achieved what he set out to do and was to finish his first oval race and speaking after coming home in 14th, the Frenchman who was extremely competitive throughout the race commented saying:
“I finished my first oval race. It was a very, very good experience. We tried a strategy that didn’t quite go our way, so the end result isn’t as good as our race, but we had a fast car, we learned a lot. I made a couple of mistakes on cold tires and got into the marbles, but I was able to save it and I managed to make some good passes. I’m happy with this first oval race, I’m a little dizzy right now but tomorrow should be better.
President of Honda Performance Development, David Salters commented on the race saying:
The race started off well for us tonight, and several of our teams and drivers seemed to be in position to contend for the victory. But then, it seemed as if we did everything we could to not win. There were a variety of reasons, and circumstances, but at the end of the day we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. On to Portland
Despite missing out on a podium finish this weekend, Honda Performance Development head to Portland on September 12th with their lead in the championship over Chevrolet intact at 35 points with just three races left in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season it is still all to play for.