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Sato, Dixon Head Honda Qualifying Effort at Sonoma

  • Takuma Sato to start season-ending race from fifth
  • Scott Dixon, seeking his fifth IndyCar Series drivers’ championship, will start sixth
  • Title to be decided in Sunday’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato and Honda's leading contender for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship – Scott Dixon – led the way for the manufacturer today in qualifying action in advance of Sunday's season-ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

While eight Honda drivers advanced through the first round of knock-out qualifying Saturday at the 2.385-mile Sonoma Raceway circuit, only Sato and Dixon advanced to the final, "Fast Six" shootout for the coveted pole.  Sato's best lap of 1:16.2208 netted him fifth in the 22-car starting field, while Dixon ended the session sixth.

Pole qualifier Josef Newgarden is Dixon's primary rival for the 2017 drivers' championship, but both Helio Castroneves, third; and defending series champion Simon Pagenaud, fourth, are just behind Dixon in the points standings heading into tomorrow's season finale.  Live television coverage of Sunday's 85-lap championship-deciding event starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT, on the NBC Sports Network.

Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) qualified 6th: "I think the air temperature change might have thrown us off a bit. The NTT DATA car was good this morning, but then we just didn't have the grip [in qualifying]. We were lucky to find a few things and scrape through the qualifying rounds. I actually made a big mistake in Turn 3 that cost us some time, but I don't think it would have put us close to the top, maybe just up one more position. I think we're the "best of the rest" today, but the race is tomorrow and there is a lot that can happen between the start and the checkered flag. I'm looking forward to it."

Verizon IndyCar Series GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Circuit:                             Sonoma Raceway (2.385-mile road course), Sonoma, Calif. 2016 Winner:     Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) 101.181 mph average Weather:           Mostly sunny, mild, 72 degrees F

Top-12 Qualifying Results:

Ps.

Driver      

Team

Manufacturer

Best Time

Notes

  1.

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske

Chevrolet

1:15.5205

New qualifying record

  2.

Will Power

Team Penske

Chevrolet

1:15.5556

+0.0351 seconds

  3.

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Chevrolet

1:15.6356

Fast Six final qualifying

  4.

Helio Castroneves

Team Penske

Chevrolet

1:15.8032

Fast Six final qualifying

  5.

Takuma Sato

Andretti Autosport

Honda

1:16.2208

Fast Six final qualifying

  6.

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

1:16.3978

Fast Six final qualifying

  7.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Honda

1:16.1815

2nd Round qualifying

  8.

Alexander Rossi

Andretti Herta Autosport

Honda

1:16.1934

2nd Round qualifying

  9.

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

1:16.1968

2nd Round qualifying

10.

Sebastien Bourdais

Dale Coyne Racing                

Honda

1:16.5811

2nd Round qualifying

11.

Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport

Honda

1:16.8221

2nd Round qualifying

12.

Tony Kanaan

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

1:16.9718

2nd Round qualifying

Other Honda Results

14.

Max Chilton

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

1:16.7581

1st Round, Group 2

15.

Charlie Kimball

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

1:17.1417

1st Round, Group 1

16.

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Honda

1:16.9539

1st Round, Group 2

18.

Ed Jones-R

Dale Coyne Racing                

Honda

1:17.0231

1st Round, Group 2

19.

Jack Harvey-R

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Honda

1:17.2722

1st Round, Group 1

21.

Zachary Claman DeMelo-R

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

1:17.2814

1st Round, Group 1

Distribution channels: Automotive Industry