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Aleshin, Hunter-Reay Star for Honda at Pocono

  • Aleshin starts from pole, leads a race-high 87 laps, finishes second
  • Hunter-Reay charges through field twice to finish third
  • Munoz, Hinchcliffe, Rossi all contend

ABC Supply Co. Inc. Pocono 500

Circuit: Pocono Raceway (2.5-mile oval) Long Pond, PA
2015 Winner: Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport Honda) 146.245 mph average
Weather: Mostly sunny, windy, mild, 68 degrees F

Top-10 Race Results:

Fn. St. Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Notes
1. 8. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 200 180.198 mph average
2. 1. Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Mtspts Honda 200 +1.1459 seconds, led 87 laps
3. 22. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda 200 Led 31 laps
4. 2. Josef Newgarden Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 200  
5. 18. Sebastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Chevrolet 200  
6. 19. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 200  
7. 5. Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Honda 200  
8. 15. Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Chevrolet 200  
9. 9. Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 200  
10. 6. James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Mtspts Honda 200  

Other Honda-powered Results

11. 11. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 200  
12. 13. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda 200  
14. 12. Jack Hawksworth A.J. Foyt Racing Honda 200  
16. 20. Conor Daly-R Dale Coyne Racing Honda 198 Running
17. 21. Pippa Mann Dale Coyne Racing Honda 197 Running
20. 7. Alexander Rossi-R Andretti/Herta Autosport Honda 63 Did not finish – crash
22. 3. Takuma Sato A.J. Foyt Racing Honda 1 Did not finish – crash

Mikhail Aleshin and Ryan Hunter-Reay were among five Honda drivers to contend for victory in Monday's rain-delayed Verizon IndyCar Series at Pocono Raceway.  But at the end of 500 hard-fought miles, Aleshin finished 1.1459 seconds behind race winner Will Power, while Hunter-Reay finished third after two thrilling charges from the back of the field.

Capitalizing on his first Indy car pole, Aleshin took his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda to the front of the 22-car starting field at the green flag.  Meanwhile Hunter-Reay, starting 22nd and last following a crash in the opening practice session on Saturday, picked up eight positions in the opening lap alone as he began working his way to the front.

By the completion of the first round of pit stops on Lap 35, Aleshin and Hunter-Reay were running 1-2, with Hunter-Reay taking the lead on Lap 49.  Carlos Munoz, Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe all ran in the top seven positions as the second round of pit stops began on Lap 60.

Unfortunately, Rossi's race came to an early end with a pit-lane collision, and Hinchcliffe fell slightly off the leader's pace when a piece of right-side bodywork came loose, increasing drag and affecting the handling of his Honda.

Hunter-Reay and Aleshin continued to run at the front, trading the lead several times through the first three quarters of the 200-lap contest.  However, a setup change made to Aleshin's Honda at the fifth scheduled pit stop backfired, and he faded slightly until the issue could be addressed at the final round of pit stops.

On Lap 164, leader Hunter-Reay suddenly slowed, as an electronics issue resulted in his engine switching off.  Successfully recycling the ignition as he rolled through pit lane, Hunter-Reay resumed his race, but was now running 12th, one lap down to the leaders.

A final caution for debris on Lap 175 allowed Hunter-Reay to get back on the lead lap, and he began to close up on the leaders.  At the same time, his handling restored during his final pit stop, Aleshin also began to move up from fifth.  As the laps wound down, both Honda drivers worked their way forward, with Aleshin second and Hunter-Reay third at the checkers.

Video recaps from this weekend's Honda Verizon IndyCar Series and Honda Ridgeline off-road racing action are being posted on the "Honda Racing/HPD" YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found at:

The Verizon IndyCar Series now heads back to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for the completion of June's Firestone 600, which was halted due to rain after 71 of the scheduled 250 laps with Honda drivers James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mikhail Aleshin running 1-2-3.  The race will resume on Saturday, August 27, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Mikhail Aleshin (#7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) started 1st, finished 2nd, led a race-high 87 laps: "I'm very proud of my team and everyone who works on the SMP Racing car.  They did a fantastic job today and it paid off. Will [Power] was just faster in the end and I couldn't do anything with him. When I was catching him, I almost put my car into the wall a couple of times but I still couldn't overtake him. He has a fair win for sure, but I'm happy to be in second place because we had some difficult moments this race and this year, so this is a good position for us to move forward."

Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28 Andretti Autosport Honda) started 22nd, finished 3rd, led 31 laps after starting at the rear of the field:  "I had to come through the field, twice, and that is heart-breaking for us. This is the type of year it has been for us, really heart-breaking. The DHL Honda really deserved to be in contention for the win there at the end. I was going through Turn 2 and [the car] just shut off [due to an electronics issue]. I [power] cycled the [ignition system] once and nothing happened.  Then as I came into the pits and power cycled it again – turned it off/on – then it re-fired, but now we were a lap down. I had to come through the field twice, but the car was a rocket ship – it's a shame."

Allen Miller (Race Team Leader, Honda Performance Development) on today's race:  "Like Mid-Ohio a couple of weeks ago, this is another race the got away from us, despite Mikhail [Aleshin] and Ryan [Hunter-Reay], in particular, dominating much of the 500 miles.  We definitely had several cars with the speed to win today, but things just did not go our way.  As at Mid-Ohio, Mikhail led the most laps, but lost a bit of speed as track conditions changed in the closing stages of the race.  Ryan was outstanding, coming through the field not once, but twice.  We're still investigating the cause of his electronics issue that resulted in his car to shut down until he recycled the ignition, but will take the appropriate countermeasures before next weekend's race in Texas."

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Distribution channels: Automotive