IRL: Richmond: Honda Friday report

Honda Prepares for 100th Open-Wheel Victory at Richmond For the third time this season, rain prevented Indy Racing League IndyCar Series qualifying, and the field for Saturday night's Suntrust Indy Challenge was set according to times...

Honda Prepares for 100th Open-Wheel Victory at Richmond

For the third time this season, rain prevented Indy Racing League IndyCar Series qualifying, and the field for Saturday night's Suntrust Indy Challenge was set according to times recorded in a pair of practice sessions Friday at Richmond International Raceway.

IndyCar Series points leader Helio Castroneves will start from the pole, based on his lap of 173.472 mph around the tight but steeply banked three-quarter-mile Richmond oval, with Delphi Fernandez Racing's Scott Sharp on the outside of the front row, his best starting position of the season.

This weekend's race at Richmond will also mark Honda's 100th victory in North American-based open-wheel racing, with 35 wins in IRL IndyCar competition since 2003 and 65 in Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) events from 1995-2002.

Although Honda is the sole engine supplier for the IRL in 2006, in previous seasons the manufacturer has faced strong competition for victories in both the IRL and CART from a variety of other major auto manufacturers, including Chevrolet, Toyota, Ford and Mercedes-Benz.

The seventh round of the 14-race 2006 IndyCar season -- and the second of three Saturday night races -- starts at 8 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on ESPN2.

Robert Clarke (President, Honda Performance Development) on a combined 100 Honda victories in CART and the IRL: ""Thinking back to 1995, when we won our first race after two years of testing, development and racing -- and knowing the effort and hardship that went into achieving that milestone -- it seems incredible that we're about to mark our 100th win. In New Hampshire in 1995 at the time of that first win, 100 wins would have seemed like a pure fantasy to us. I'd like to congratulate all of our associates at HPD, who have worked hard, made personal sacrifices and have made the success of our racing programs their top priority. I'd also like to thank Honda R&D for the continued assistance and support throughout our CART and IRL programs and our technical partners at Ilmor for their contributions to our IRL program."

-honda-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Robert Clark