Alexander Rossi qualifies second for season-opening NTT INDYCAR SERIES race. Honda drivers claim four of the top six starting positions. Chip Ganassi Racing places three Honda drivers in the top six.
Alexander Rossi led the way for Honda today in qualifying for Sunday's Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, opening round in the 17-race 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Advancing through all three rounds of "knockout" qualifying, Rossi set his best time, second overall, on his penultimate lap in the "Firestone Fast Six" final round to claim the outside front row starting position for tomorrow's 90-lap contest.
Making his first start for Chip Ganassi Racing, Alex Palou will start his Honda from the inside of the second row, third; and defending and six-time series champion Scott Dixon starts fifth. Marcus Ericsson qualified sixth in another Ganassi Honda.
Former Formula One driver Romain Grosjean just missed making the final qualifying round in his INDYCAR debut, and will start seventh in his Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda. Grosjean led the three series "rookies" in the field, while Colton Herta was the sixth Honda driver to qualify in the top nine, for Andretti Autosport.
Honda is seeking the company's fourth consecutive NTT INDYCAR SERIES Manufacturers' Championship in 2021.
Seven wins in 2020 brought Honda the company's ninth INDYCAR Manufacturers' Championship, and third consecutive title, with Honda driver Scott Dixon prevailing to win his sixth Drivers' Championship, highest among all active drivers in the series.
Honda has been a fixture in North American open-wheel racing since 1994, and has played an active role in the growth of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES as both a Manufacturers' Championship competitor and single engine supplier, with a record that includes eight Manufacturers' Championships. Honda's Indy car total of 252 wins in 27 years of North American open-wheel racing – including 13 Indianapolis 500 victories since 2004 – is unmatched by any other manufacturer in the same period.
Since the return of multi-manufacturer INDYCAR competition in 2012, Honda has scored five more Indy 500 triumphs, by Dario Franchitti in 2012, Hunter-Reay in 2014, Rossi's dramatic victory in 2016's historic 100th race and Sato's popular victories in 2017 and 2020. The 13 wins by Honda at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway lead all other major automobile manufacturers.