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Victor Gonzalez Earns First Win of 2019 in SRO Touring Car R Class at Sonoma

  • Civic Type R driver wins Saturday, finishes second on Sunday
  • Chris Haldeman scores a pair of podium finishes with Honda Civic Si in TCA
  • Taylor Hagler takes top-five finish on Sunday

The 2019 Touring Car America season saw a new car in Victory Lane on a sunny Saturday at Sonoma Raceway as Victor Gonzalez used a daring last-lap, last-corner pass to put his Honda Civic Type R on the top of the TCR results sheet for the first time this year.  In the TCA class, X-Factor Racing leader Chris Haldeman again paced the Texas-based squad, earning a pair of podium finishes.

Honda Civic Type R TCR
Starting fifth in Saturday’s opening race, Gonzalez benefitted from contact among the leaders to gain several early positions, then closed on leader Michael Hurczyn in the final laps.  After a couple of attempts around the outside, Gonzalez used a timely thrust on his last trip through the Sonoma track’s signature hairpin turn to pass Hurczyn and roll to the win.

The Honda Civic Type R TCR driver followed his win up with an equally-impressive drive to second in Sunday’s race. Coming from fourth on the grid, he vaulted into third place with less than four minutes to go in the timed race, then again slid past Hurcyzn – this time in the downhill Turn 9 chicane – on the last lap to claim second place.

Making his 2019 debut with LAP Motorsports, Harry Cheung improved throughout the weekend, taking his Honda Civic Type R TCR to fifth on Sunday, after finishing ninth in Saturday’s opening race.

Honda Civic Si TCA
In the companion TCA category, Haldeman powered his XFactor Racing Honda Civic Si to third-place results on Saturday and Sunday, finishing behind Tyler Maxson and Mark Pombo in both events.

As she did at Virginia International Raceway last month, series rookie Taylor Hagler improved over the weekend and came home in fifth place in Sunday’s contest, leading a pack that included the Hondas of seventh-placed Cole Ciraulo and fellow first-year TCA racer Sally McNulty in her Team Sally Civic Si.

Saturday’s event saw Ciraulo post a sixth-place result in his Civic Si while Hagler finished seventh, one spot ahead of teammate Stephen Jeu. Once again, the field of five turnkey, affordable Honda Civic Si’s completed the doubleheader race weekend without a single mechanical-related retirement.

Next
Both the SRO Touring Car America TCR and TCA classes will next complete July 12-14 at Portland International Raceway for round 9 and 10 of the 16-race season.

Social media content and video links from this weekend’s Honda Racing activities at Sonoma Raceway are available on HPD’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and on Twitter at (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD).

Quote
Victor Gonzalez (#99 VGMC Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR) on his Saturday TCR race win“I’m so happy. We’re such a small team from Orlando, and we did not know what to expect this weekendWe knew our setup would allow us to come on later in the race, so I saved my tires until the halfway point of the race and then went for it. I have to thank HPD, the TC America series, our partners, and LA Honda for letting us borrow some extra parts.  We could not have done this without them!”

SRO Motorsports TC America
Circuit: Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma, Calif.
Weather: Clear, warm, 84 degrees F Saturday
Mostly sunny, hot, 91 degrees F Sunday

Saturday Race Top Five TCR Results:

Ps. Driver Team Chassis Laps/Notes
1. Victor Gonzalez VGMC Racing Honda Civic Type R 22 laps
2. Michael Hurczyn FCP Euro VW Golf GTI +2.554 seconds
3. James Walker Risi Competizione Alfa Romeo Giulietti
4. Nate Vincent FCP Euro VW Golf GTI
9. Harry Cheung LAP Motorsports Honda Civic Type R

Saturday Race Top Five TCA Results:

Ps. Driver Team Chassis Laps/Notes
1. Tyler Maxson Copeland Mtrsprts Mazda MX5 Cup 21 laps
2. Mark Pombo MINI JCW Team Mini Cooper JCW +4.975 seconds
3. Chris Haldeman X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si
6. Cole Ciraulo X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si
7. Taylor Hagler X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si
8. Stephen Jeu X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si
10. Sally McNulty TeamSally Honda Civic Si

Sunday Race Top Five TCR Results:

Ps. Driver Team Chassis Laps/Notes
1. Mason Filippi Copeland Mtrsprts Hyundai Veloster N 19 laps
2. Victor Gonzalez VGMC Racing Honda Civic Type R +3.009 seconds
3. Michael Hurczyn FCP Euro VW Golf GTI
4. Nate Vincent FCP Euro VW Golf GTI
6. Harry Cheung LAP Motorsports Honda Civic Type R

Sunday Race Top Five TCA Results:

Ps. Driver Team Chassis Laps/Notes
1. Tyler Maxson Copeland Mtrsprts Mazda MX5 Cup 19 laps
2. Mark Pombo MINI JCW Team Mini Cooper JCW +3.447 seconds
3. Chris Haldeman X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si
5. Taylor Hagler X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si
7. Cole Ciraulo X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si
9. Sally McNulty TeamSally Honda Civic Si
DNF Stephen Jeu X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si

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Four Hondas in Top Eight Finishers in Monaco Grand Prix

Gasly finishes season-best fifth, runs fastest lap of race All Honda-powered cars qualified in top 10 Toro Rosso Honda moves to sixth in team standings

Honda-powered cars continued advancing toward the sharp end of the Formula 1 grid Sunday in Monaco, putting all four cars in the top eight finishing positions for the first time since the 1991 British Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen led the way for the Honda contingent, battling eventual race winner Lewis Hamilton on a tight Monaco circuit and nearly making a pass for the lead with the three laps to go before crossing the line second in his Aston Martin Red Bull machine. Unfortunately, the Dutchman was given a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release from Pit Lane on his Lap 12 stop, relegating him to fourth in the final standings. The finish marked his sixth-consecutive top-four result to start the season, a feat unmatched by a Honda driver since Alain Prost’s seven-race streak began the 1988 campaign.

Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Pierre Gasly had his best outing of the season, coming from eighth on the grid to finish a season-best fifth. The Frenchman ran in the top six for most of the day and as he did in China, built a wide gap to the sixth-place car late in the race, allowing him to stop for tires without losing a position. Gasly then used those new tires to run the fastest lap of the race and earn an extra championship point.

The Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda team had its best result of 2019 as Daniil Kvyat started and finished seventh while rookie Alex Albon climbed two spots from his starting position to earn a season-best eighth-place result. The finish marked the first time both Toro Rosso cars have scored points this year and moved them to within one point of fifth place in the team standings.

Both Honda-powered squads showed their strength early during F1’s crown-jewel weekend on the French Riviera, qualifying all four cars in the top 10 for the first time since the 2001 Malaysian Grand Prix. Verstappen led the second qualifying session before being eclipsed in Q3 by the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, while Gasly ended up fifth in the final qualifying, but lost three grid positions due to a blocking penalty. Kvyat’s seventh-place starting spot marked his third consecutive appearance in Q3 while Albon’s top-10 place on the grid was the second of his young career.

The series will have a week off before coming to North America for the first time this year, journeying to Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the June 9 Canadian Grand Prix.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Technical Director, Honda F1
“A strong performance resulting in all four cars finishing in the points, in the top eight. However, it was a real shame that Max got a penalty. Both teams performed strongly all weekend and managed the race strategy very well. Now, we take a break from Europe and head to Montreal. The track there is very different to this one, so we will be working hard on our Power Unit development before going to Canada.”

Max Verstappen
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Start: 3rd, Finish: 4th after five-second time penalty 
“I gave it my all today and I had a fun race. I think we were very competitive and I enjoyed putting the pressure on and trying to go for the win. You know when you’re up against Lewis it’s going to be very hard but I kept pushing him and I tried to force him into a mistake. I made him use his tires a bit more than he wanted. At one point I could see his tires really dropping off and there were a few corners on the track where he was really slow which meant I could line up a move, but we just couldn’t get close enough. With a few laps to go, I thought I’m going to try it now and see what happens. We touched but luckily nothing came of it.

The penalty from the pit stop is unfortunate, but I don’t think the Team did anything wrong and it is impossible to see in that tight pit lane. When you look at our pace we were very strong and that’s the most important thing. Of course, I would have liked to be on the podium but I enjoyed the race and you win some, you lose some. It’s easy to say with a few more laps I would have got him but I tried my very best and that was all I could do. The Team did a mega job all weekend and we tried everything we could to get that win today.”

Pierre Gasly
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Start: 8th, Finish: 5th + fastest race lap
“It was a really positive day and we can be very pleased with fifth position after starting eighth in Monaco which is a difficult track to recover positions on. We had a very good strategy and a really great car to race. I enjoyed driving such a fast car on a track like this and to be able to push so hard at the end and put in some very quick laps and to finish within ten seconds of the leader after starting eighth. I’m really happy and now we need to keep working so we can deliver similar performances in the coming weekends.”

Daniil Kvyat
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
Start: 7th, Finish: 7th
“We had a very strong qualifying and capped it off with a strong race today, so it’s a nice feeling. I’m very happy because I it was a really strong race for us. We can be satisfied with the amount of points we brought home today – the teamwork was fantastic, the support I got from everyone was great! P7 is a great result in Monaco. We have been working hard over the past few weeks to see where we need to improve and what I need to go faster, and we found it. Now we just need to find it every weekend, so we can continue to score a good amount of points. The car is performing well so we have to keep developing it in the same direction.” 

Alex Albon
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
Start: 10th, Finish: 8th 
“I’ve got to say a big thanks to the team because the strategy was fantastic! We knew there was the chance to get into the points today, and we did a good job to make it happen. It was tricky out there because you spend the whole race close behind other cars, you have to make sure you don’t brake late or lock up otherwise your race is over. The most difficult part of the day was managing the tires, as the Softs don’t really like to last that long, so they begin to degrade and vibrate. Still, it was good fun out there and great to have both cars finish in the points!”

The post Four Hondas in Top Eight Finishers in Monaco Grand Prix appeared first on Blog Honda.

Cold War Kids to Headline Saturday Night Concert at Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

Indie rockers Cold War Kids, who hail from Long Beach, will headline the Saturday night concert presented by Acura and SMG at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13.

Free to race ticket holders, the show will begin at 6 p.m. after the close of daytime racing activities. Opening for Cold War Kids will be local indie-electronic band Moontower.

Formed in 2004, Cold War Kids rose to prominence quickly in 2006 with their first full-length record, Robbers & Cowards, released that year. Since then, the band has released five additional albums including the critically acclaimed Hold My Home, which featured the Billboard Alternative chart-topping hit “First” in 2015.  Other hit songs include “Miracle Mile,” “Love Is Mystical” and “So Tied Up.”

The band’s current lineup includes Nathan Willett (lead vocals, guitar), Matt Maust (Bass guitar), Joe Plummer (drums), David Quon (guitar, backing vocals) and Matthew Schwartz (keyboards, backing vocals).

Said the band, “We are excited to come back home to Long Beach for the Acura Grand Prix!”

“This is just the beginning for us and music at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach,” said Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager of the Acura Division. “Presenting locally grown Cold War Kids and highlighting their sound to stir emotional connections to an incredible weekend of racing is just part of what we plan to bring to the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. We plan to grow the interests in the event beyond just the racing, for all the fans. Quality music is a great way to connect, and we are thrilled to kick off our sponsorship of the weekend with Cold War Kids.”

The show will take place on the plaza in front of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center adjacent to the Long Beach Convention Center and is free to Saturday race ticket holders. Space at the plaza is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Taking place April 12-14 and featuring a wide variety of on- and off-track activities for the entire family, the Acura Grand Prix weekend’s on-track action will be headlined by the NTT IndyCar Series and also include the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix, featuring the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge, SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks, Pirelli GT4 America and the inaugural Historic IMSA GTO Challenge race.

Ticket prices for Saturday’s racing events and concert start at $65 for a General Admission ticket.  Three-day tickets, pre-paid parking packages, handicapped seating, NTT IndyCar Series Paddock access passes, Super Photo tickets and an array of VIP Club packages are also available.

Fans can select and pay for their 2019 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach tickets, parking and paddock passes online at gplb.com. Ticket orders can also be placed by calling the toll-free ticket hotline, (888) 827-7333.

Fans can also follow the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook at GrandPrixLB, Twitter @GPLongBeach, Instagram at GPLongBeach and YouTube at GPLongBeach.

The post Cold War Kids to Headline Saturday Night Concert at Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach appeared first on Blog Honda.

Ridgeline Baja Race Truck Takes Class Win at Mint 400

  • Honda Off-Road Racing Team continues winning 2019 form
  • Class victory at Mint 400 follows victory in February’s Parker 425
  • Ridgeline Baja Race Truck takes on Baja 500 in June

The Honda Off-Road Racing Team and its Ridgeline Baja Race Truck backed up their season-opening win at February’s Parker 425 with a second-consecutive Class 7200 victory this weekend in the Mint 400.

First run in 1968, the Mint 400 lays claim as the oldest off-road race in the United States, and holds the reputation as being one of the toughest courses in the sport.  The race takes place over four laps of an approximately 100-mile long loop in the desert outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Competing in the “7200” class for unlimited V6-powered race trucks, team owner/driver Jeff Proctor and navigator Evan Weller pulled away to an early class lead during the Best in the Desert Racing Association event, and the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck never surrendered its advantage.

After the team made its mid-race pit stop, Proctor handed off the driving duties to team manager and veteran off-road racer Pat Dailey.  Following a hard-fought 400 miles, the Ridgeline took the checkered flags for its second class win of 2019.

Powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 engine produced by Honda Performance Development, the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck features a body designed by Honda R&D Americas’ Los Angeles Design Studio, with inspiration taken from the current Honda Ridgeline, also designed and developed by Honda R&D North Americas.  Key design cues drawn from the production Honda Ridgeline can be seen in the front fascia, hood, roof, bed and side profile.

Making approximately 550 horsepower, HPD’s 3.5-liter HR35TT engine uses the same block and cylinder heads as the production V6 that powers the all-new Ridgeline.  Additional, custom elements of the powertrain include an HPD-designed intake plenum and custom Engine Control Unit programming.

Photos and information from the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck’s efforts at the Mint 400 can be viewed on Instagram at @hondaoffroadracing and @proctor_race.  Honda Racing/HPD news and reports can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD.  The team next takes on the classic Baja 500, the first weekend in June.

Jeff Proctor (team owner/driver Ridgeline Baja Race Truck) 1st in Class 7200 Unlimited V6 Trucks: “We won the Mint 400!  This Ridgeline Baja Race Truck was on rails all day.  We would be nothing without an amazing Honda Off-Road Racing crew.  We had zero flats, no major issues of any kind.  It was a perfect race conditions, and a win.  Thanks to Honda, Honda Performance Development, and all of our partners for making this possible.”

The post Ridgeline Baja Race Truck Takes Class Win at Mint 400 appeared first on Blog Honda.

Ridgeline Baja Race Truck Takes Class Win at Mint 400

  • Honda Off-Road Racing Team continues winning 2019 form
  • Class victory at Mint 400 follows victory in February’s Parker 425
  • Ridgeline Baja Race Truck takes on Baja 500 in June

The Honda Off-Road Racing Team and its Ridgeline Baja Race Truck backed up their season-opening win at February’s Parker 425 with a second-consecutive Class 7200 victory this weekend in the Mint 400.

First run in 1968, the Mint 400 lays claim as the oldest off-road race in the United States, and holds the reputation as being one of the toughest courses in the sport.  The race takes place over four laps of an approximately 100-mile long loop in the desert outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Competing in the “7200” class for unlimited V6-powered race trucks, team owner/driver Jeff Proctor and navigator Evan Weller pulled away to an early class lead during the Best in the Desert Racing Association event, and the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck never surrendered its advantage.

After the team made its mid-race pit stop, Proctor handed off the driving duties to team manager and veteran off-road racer Pat Dailey.  Following a hard-fought 400 miles, the Ridgeline took the checkered flags for its second class win of 2019.

Powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 engine produced by Honda Performance Development, the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck features a body designed by Honda R&D Americas’ Los Angeles Design Studio, with inspiration taken from the current Honda Ridgeline, also designed and developed by Honda R&D North Americas.  Key design cues drawn from the production Honda Ridgeline can be seen in the front fascia, hood, roof, bed and side profile.

Making approximately 550 horsepower, HPD’s 3.5-liter HR35TT engine uses the same block and cylinder heads as the production V6 that powers the all-new Ridgeline.  Additional, custom elements of the powertrain include an HPD-designed intake plenum and custom Engine Control Unit programming.

Photos and information from the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck’s efforts at the Mint 400 can be viewed on Instagram at @hondaoffroadracing and @proctor_race.  Honda Racing/HPD news and reports can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD.  The team next takes on the classic Baja 500, the first weekend in June.

Jeff Proctor (team owner/driver Ridgeline Baja Race Truck) 1st in Class 7200 Unlimited V6 Trucks: “We won the Mint 400!  This Ridgeline Baja Race Truck was on rails all day.  We would be nothing without an amazing Honda Off-Road Racing crew.  We had zero flats, no major issues of any kind.  It was a perfect race conditions, and a win.  Thanks to Honda, Honda Performance Development, and all of our partners for making this possible.”

The post Ridgeline Baja Race Truck Takes Class Win at Mint 400 appeared first on Blog Honda.

Hunter-Reay, Honda Set Opening-Day Pace in St. Petersburg

  • Ryan Hunter-Reay leads a 24-car field as 2019 season begins
  • Five Honda drivers post top-seven times in practice

As he did in 2018, Honda-powered Ryan Hunter-Reay again led the way in opening day practice to officially start the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season in advance of Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Even by NTT IndyCar Series standards, the 24-car field was incredibly close after a pair of Friday practice sessions, with less than three-tenths of a second separating the top 10, and less than eight-tenths of a second between first and 20th positions on the opening-day timesheet.

Marco Andretti ended the day an encouraging third quickest, while Colton Herta led the five rookies in the field and ran fourth on the day.  Alexander Rossi finished sixth overall, with previous St. Petersburg race winner James Hinchcliffe seventh, as Honda drivers claimed five of the top seven positions.

Activities on the temporary street circuit continue tomorrow with final practice and qualifying.  Sunday’s 110-lap season-opening race starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT, with live network television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport Honda) quickest in opening-day practice: “We definitely made some changes between the sessions. At first, I thought the car was a bit of a handful, and it still is, we are right on the edge of tipping it over. But it was a good outing. The car is a handful at the moment; I’d like it to be a little bit more ‘polite’ in a few areas. We will put our heads together as a team and work to get this #28 DHL Honda up front, but it is a good first step.”

NTT IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Circuit: Bayfront Park (1.8-mile temporary street circuit) St. Petersburg, FL
2018 Winner: Sebastien Bourdais (DCR with Vasser-Sullivan Honda) 86.207 mph average
Weather: Sunny, warm, 78 degrees F

Top-10 Friday Practice Session Results:

Ps. Driver       Team Manufacturer Best Time Notes
  1. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda 1:00.8969 106.409 mph avg.
  2. Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 1:00.9812  
  3. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda 1:01.0351  
  4. Colton Herta-R Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda 1:01.0776  
  5. Max Chilton Carlin Racing Chevrolet 1:01.1171  
  6. Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Honda 1:01.1388  
  7. James Hinchcliffe Arrow Schmidt Peterson Honda 1:01.1453  
  8. Charlie Kimball Carlin Racing Chevrolet 1:01.1681  
  9. Josef Newgarden Team Penske Chevrolet 1:01.1811  
10. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 1:01.1896  

Other Honda Results

11. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 1:01.2129  
12. Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 1:01.2700  
13. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 1:01.4284  
14. Felix Rosenqvist-R Chip Ganassi Racing             Honda 1:01.5020  
18. Sebastien Bourdais DCR with Vasser-Sullivan      Honda 1:01.5635  
19. Marcus Ericsson-R Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 1:01.6238  
20. Jack Harvey Michael Shank Racing Honda 1:01.6610  
21. Santino Ferrucci-R Dale Coyne Racing                 Honda 1:01.6736  
23. Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Honda 1:02.0331  

The post Hunter-Reay, Honda Set Opening-Day Pace in St. Petersburg appeared first on Blog Honda.

Expanded Honda Racing Contingency Program for 2019

Red Rider Rewards program covers more models, including Talon sport side-by-side

Honda today revealed additions to the already bountiful Red Rider Rewards powersports racing-contingency program for the 2019 season, with more than $6 million available to racers—an increase of approximately $500,000 over last year. The program gives Red Riders across the country the opportunity to earn payouts at more than 1,500 races in categories including motocross, off-road, dirt track, road racing, ATV competition and—now, with the launch of the new Talon 1000X and Talon 1000R—side-by-side racing.

Important changes for 2019 include:

  • Program structure aimed at benefitting riders of various skill levels (i.e., payouts aimed not only at championships and top race finishes, but deeper race finishes as well)
  • Industry-leading contingency for side-by-side classes in Lucas Off-Road, SCORE International and WORCS. (Grassroots racing series to be announced later this year)
  • Available payouts for riders of a broad array of Honda models, including most of the new CRF Performance family
  • Considerable increases in available payouts for American Flat Track
  • Larger payouts in major off-road championships, including Grand National Cross Country (GNCC), National Hare and Hound (NHHA), National Enduro (NEPG) and the newly named National Grand Prix Championship (NGPC)
  • Increased rewards in Regional Qualifiers for the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn Ranch

“Racing has always been fundamental for Honda, so we’re happy to announce this expansion of the Red Rider Rewards program for 2019,” said Brandon Wilson, Manager of Advertising & Motorcycle Sports at American Honda. “Because of increased opportunities for earning contingency rewards through competition, we’re confident that Honda riders will enjoy even more success on tracks across the country this season.”

In addition to its Red Rider Rewards contingency and support-team programs, Honda continues to grow its Red Rider Support trackside-support program, which will include more dealers and markets for 2019. For more information, visit the Honda Powersports website.

The post Expanded Honda Racing Contingency Program for 2019 appeared first on Blog Honda.

Expanded Honda Racing Contingency Program for 2019

Red Rider Rewards program covers more models, including Talon sport side-by-side

Honda today revealed additions to the already bountiful Red Rider Rewards powersports racing-contingency program for the 2019 season, with more than $6 million available to racers—an increase of approximately $500,000 over last year. The program gives Red Riders across the country the opportunity to earn payouts at more than 1,500 races in categories including motocross, off-road, dirt track, road racing, ATV competition and—now, with the launch of the new Talon 1000X and Talon 1000R—side-by-side racing.

Important changes for 2019 include:

  • Program structure aimed at benefitting riders of various skill levels (i.e., payouts aimed not only at championships and top race finishes, but deeper race finishes as well)
  • Industry-leading contingency for side-by-side classes in Lucas Off-Road, SCORE International and WORCS. (Grassroots racing series to be announced later this year)
  • Available payouts for riders of a broad array of Honda models, including most of the new CRF Performance family
  • Considerable increases in available payouts for American Flat Track
  • Larger payouts in major off-road championships, including Grand National Cross Country (GNCC), National Hare and Hound (NHHA), National Enduro (NEPG) and the newly named National Grand Prix Championship (NGPC)
  • Increased rewards in Regional Qualifiers for the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn Ranch

“Racing has always been fundamental for Honda, so we’re happy to announce this expansion of the Red Rider Rewards program for 2019,” said Brandon Wilson, Manager of Advertising & Motorcycle Sports at American Honda. “Because of increased opportunities for earning contingency rewards through competition, we’re confident that Honda riders will enjoy even more success on tracks across the country this season.”

In addition to its Red Rider Rewards contingency and support-team programs, Honda continues to grow its Red Rider Support trackside-support program, which will include more dealers and markets for 2019. For more information, visit the Honda Powersports website.

The post Expanded Honda Racing Contingency Program for 2019 appeared first on Blog Honda.

Honda Grows Trackside Support Program

Red Rider Support Team and Dealership partners added for 2019

As Red Rider Support begins its fifth year, American Honda continues to expand the trackside support program, with one new Support Team and three Support Dealers added. The program provides access to parts and service for amateur competitors at racing events across the country.

Phoenix Racing Honda (which just clinched the Open Pro and 250 Pro Championships in Kicker Arenacross) will provide trackside support at the Grand National Cross Country series (GNCC), expanding on the support already in place through JCR Honda and SLR Honda at the National Grand Prix Championship (NGPC) and WORCS series, respectively.

In addition to the Support Team component, Red Rider Support operates through local Support Dealerships, including Allen, Texas’s Maxim Honda in the AMA District 41 Texas MX State Championship; Hillsboro, Oregon’s MotoSport Hillsboro in the Pacific Racing Organization (P.R.O.); and Storm Lake, Iowa’s Storm Lake Honda in the AMA District 22 Iowa Moto series. Beginning in April, three additional dealerships will join the program, with Conroe, Texas’s Cycle Shack North supporting the Texas State Championship Enduro series; Bremerton, Washington’s Brothers Powersports supporting the Pac West Motocross series; and Lowville, New York’s Lowville Sport supporting the Central New York Motocross Racers Association (CNYMRA).

Finally, American Honda will continue to provide in-house support at selected amateur national motocross events, beginning with next month’s Ricky Carmichael Amateur Supercross in Daytona Beach, Florida; followed by the James Stewart Freestone Spring Championship in Wortham, Texas; the California Classic Championship in Pala, California; the Mammoth Motocross in Mammoth Lakes, California; the Amateur National Motocross Championship in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee; and the Winter Olympics in Alachua, Florida.

“Amateur racing is vital to the success of the sport, so it’s critical that Honda have a lively grassroots program,” said Brandon Wilson, Manager of Advertising & Motorcycle Sports at American Honda. “We’re able to support some of the bigger races ourselves, and with the collaboration of our partner Support Teams and Dealerships, we can have an even wider footprint. With these new additions for 2019, Red Rider Support is healthier than ever.”

For more information, visit the Honda Powersports website.

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Honda Rookie Herta Stars at Indy Car “Spring Training” Pre-Season Test

  • Rookie Colton Herta impresses, heads time sheets for two-day test
  • Alexander Rossi runs second overall; Honda drivers claim eight of the top 10 positions
  • 2019 NTT IndyCar Series opens March 10 in St. Petersburg, Florida 

Second-generation Honda racer Colton Herta started his first full season of NTT IndyCar Series competition on a most impressive note, leading three of the four practice sessions during “Spring Training” activities at the Circuit of the Americas.

Herta led the first three sessions of the two-day test for Harding Steinbrenner Racing, and set the quickest time overall with a 1:46.6258 (115.132 mph average) on Tuesday afternoon.  Fellow Honda driver Alexander Rossi led the fourth and final session, and was the only other driver to break into the 1:46 range in his Andretti Autosport Honda.

A race winner and championship contender in his two years of Indy Lights competition, Herta made his IndyCar Series debut at the Sonoma season finale last year.  His father, veteran racer and team owner Bryan Herta, scored two Indy car victories and was a frequent development driver for Honda in the 1990s.  Herta currently is a co-owner of the #98 Andretti-Herta Autosport Honda raced by Marco Andretti.

After running second-quickest to Herta in this morning’s third practice session, Rossi turned a 1:46.8535 to lead the final test session on Wednesday afternoon.  He was the only driver other than Herta to break into the 1:46s around the hilly, 3.41-mile COTA road course.

Rossi’s Andretti Autosport teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay, posted the fourth-fastest time of the test at 1:47.1757.  Another impressive rookie, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist, ended the two-day test with the sixth-fastest time, closely followed by Honda drivers Graham Rahal and defending series champion Scott Dixon.  James Hinchcliffe and yet another Honda-powered rookie, Santino Ferrucci, rounded out the top 10.

Social media content and video links from this weekend’s Honda IndyCar Series action at Circuit of the Americas are available on HPD’s Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD) channels.

The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season opens on March 10 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Quotes:
Colton Herta (Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda) led three of the four practice sessions during NTT IndyCar “Spring Training: “Another good day of testing at COTA.  We were quickest this morning and ‘P2’ [second fastest] by a tenth [of a second] this afternoon. And there’s more [speed] to find. We are still working on getting the balance as [temperatures] get colder. When it was warmer, we were really good, so I think we’ll be fine for the race, as it should be warmer then. Overall, the team had a great test, I’m really happy with how everyone is working so hard and putting in so much effort to get everything done. I can’t wait for next month when this #88 Honda hits the Streets of St. Pete.”

Art St. Cyr (Principal, Honda Performance Development) on this week’s open test: “After a long off season, it’s good to finally be back on track.  Although it’s premature to read too much into a single test, having eight to the top 10 times is definitely encouraging.  I think the surprise of this test was the consistent pace demonstrated by Colton [Herta].  It’s a great start for a young team and driver.  The real test will be the first race at St. Petersburg, just three weeks from now.”

NTT IndyCar Series “Spring Training” Pre-Season Test 
Circuit:        Circuit of the Americas (3.41-mile road course) Austin, Texas
Weather:      Mostly clear, cool, 60 degrees F

Indy Car “Spring Training” Top 10 Overall Results:

Ps. Driver       Team Manufacturer Best Time Notes
  1. Colton Herta-R Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda 1:46.6258 115.132 mph
  2. Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Honda 1:46.8535 +0.2277 seconds
  3. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 1:47.1044  
  4. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda 1:47.1757  
  5. Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Chevrolet 1:47.2116  
  6. Felix Rosenqvist-R Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 1:47.2941  
  7. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 1:47.3662  
  8. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 1:47.3684  
  9. James Hinchcliffe Arrow Schmidt Peterson  Honda 1:47.5379  
10. Santino Ferrucci-R Dale Coyne Racing                 Honda 1:47.5970  

Other Honda Results 

13. Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 1:47.7183  
14. Marcus Ericsson Arrow Schmidt Peterson  Honda 1:47.7958  
15. Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Honda 1:47.8892  
17. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda 1:47.9993  
18. Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing                 Honda 1:48.0166  
20. Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Honda 1:48.1888  

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