• Simon Pagenaud scores his second win of 2014 in Sunday’s 1-2-3 Honda sweep
• Follows Honda win in Saturday’s opening race by rookie Carlos Huertas
• Honda drivers claim five of six podium positions on the weekend
Honda-powered Simon Pagenaud dominated Sunday’s second race of the Grand Prix of Houston Presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers, “double header” Verizon IndyCar Series race weekend, taking a commanding lead in the second half of the 90-lap contest and maintaining his advantage though several late-race caution flags.
It was Pagenaud’s second victory of 2014, following his earlier triumph at the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May, and Honda’s fifth Indy car victory of the season. After stalking pole qualifier and early leader Helio Castroneves for the opening half of the race, Pagenaud made his move for the lead on a Lap 49 restart. Once in front, the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver was never headed, maintaining his advantage even through the final round of pit stops.
Pagenaud’s rookie teammate, Mikhail Aleshin, made it the first-ever 1-2 IndyCar Series finish for the Schmidt Peterson team while yet another rookie, Jack Hawksworth, completed Sunday’s podium sweep for Honda with a third-place finish for Bryan Herta Autosport.
Honda-powered rookies also starred in Saturday’s opening race, won by first-year Indy car driver Carlos Huertas of Dale Coyne Racing, with Rookie of the Year leader Carlos Munoz finishing third in his Andretti Autosport Honda, behind former series champion Juan Pablo Montoya.
Michael Lam, from Houston, Texas, led the field prior to today’s race start in the two-seat Honda Indy car driven by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk.
Simon Pagenaud (#77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) Houston Race 2 winner: “It was an awesome race; the car was just beautiful. We had such a fast car this weekend. It had grip, it had traction and the Honda engine had plenty of power. We regrouped after [a disappointing race weekend in] Detroit and the team came up with this package. Whew, it was really hot out there today, but a great day for the entire team.”
Tom Reichenbach (Senior Manager, Chief Engineer, Technical Division) on today’s race win and weekend sweep for Honda: “This was a great weekend for Honda, with two wins and five out of six possible podium finishes, it just doesn’t get much better. In the two-week break since our last race, at Texas, everyone at HPD has been working very hard to improve the performance and driveability of the Honda Indy V6, and I think you saw the results of those efforts this weekend. We’re always looking forward at HPD, and it was encouraging to see the strong performances from all of our Honda IndyCar Series rookies this weekend. They’re the future of our sport, and we had all four full-season rookie drivers on the podium this weekend! Congratulations to Simon Pagenaud, Mikhail Aleshin and the entire Schmidt Peterson team, and to everyone at HPD. Now let’s go out and get another ‘500’ victory next week at Pocono.”