Hornish Scores Honda's 100th Open-Wheel Win Marlboro Team Penske's Sam Hornish Jr. scored Honda's 100th race victory in Indy Racing League and Championship Auto Racing Team history Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway,...
Hornish Scores Honda's 100th Open-Wheel Win
Marlboro Team Penske's Sam Hornish Jr. scored Honda's 100th race victory in Indy Racing League and Championship Auto Racing Team history Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway, dominating the Suntrust Indy Challenge in a race run at a record pace on the shortest track on the IRL circuit.
In a race slowed only three times by the caution flag, another Richmond IndyCar record, Hornish took the lead from teammate Helio Castroneves on Lap 39 and was never headed for the remainder of the 250-lap event, scoring his second win of the 2006 season and moving within four points of Castroneves in the championship points battle.
An exciting late-race pass of Dario Franchitti netted Vitor Meira his sixth career second-place finish. Meira ran fourth in the early laps, but problems at the first round of pit stops dropped the Panther Racing driver back to 10th. However, Meira fought his way through the field during the second half of the race, finally going very low in Turn One to pass Franchitti on Lap 246 as the pair came up on a slowing Castroneves, who was struggling with a deflating right rear tire. At almost the same instant, the failing tire came off Castroneves' car, leading to the caution that ended the race.
Other events in the hectic final laps included both Target Chip Ganassi cars having to pit for fuel in the final 10 laps, costing Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon top-six finishes, while Delphi Fernandez Racing's Scott Sharp put on a late-race charge to finish fifth, just behind rookie points leader Marco Andretti.
Honda entered North American open-wheel racing at the start of the 1994 Championship Auto Racing Team season, and the manufacturer scored its first victory, with driver Andre Ribeiro and his Tasman Motorsports team, at the one-mile New Hampshire International oval in 1995.
Honda went on to win 65 times in CART through the 2002 season, then moved to the IRL IndyCar Series in 1993. Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan posted Honda's first IRL race win, at Phoenix in 2003, the start of a run of 35 victories to date for Honda in the IndyCar Series.