INDIANAPOLIS – In 2018, Honda earned their first NTT IndyCar Series manufacturer’s title since 2011. See, when the DW12 came out for the 2012 season, Chevrolet joined Honda in the series as the two engine suppliers. Chevy, came in and took Honda to the woodshed in winning the manufacturers title in five straight years since their return.
See, prior to 2012, Honda was the saving grace to the series. After joining Indy Car in 2003, Honda won the manufacturer championship in 2004 and again in 2005 when competing with Chevrolet and Toyota. From 2006-’11, Honda was the sole engine supplier before Chevy re-entered in 2012.
Scott Dixon battles Will Power in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – INDYCAR Media Site
But, last year it was all Honda. It was a big accomplishment for them to not only knock Chevy off their perch, but to do so in the first year of the new unified package. They had the pace and durability.
This season, it’s more of the same. With four races remaining in the 2019 season, Honda currently has 1,147 points scored in the manufacturers battle. Chevy, has 1,070.
Only full-season entries earn manufacturer points, with the highest two finishers for each manufacturer at each race earning points based on the driver point system (50 for first place, 40 for second and so on; with double points awarded for the Indianapolis 500 and Sonoma). Bonuses are added for a race win (five points) as well as pole positions and being the fastest Indy 500 opening-day qualifier.
Durability is a key to the manufacturer point system, however. Each full-season entry is allotted four engines for the season to complete a total of 10,000 miles that includes testing, practice, qualifying and the races. If a car uses a fifth engine or more without completing the 10,000-mile threshold first, it becomes ineligible to earn manufacturer points.
Honda, has six wins this season and is coming off of a 1-2-3 finish on Sunday at Mid-Ohio. They have two of the top four in the points standings and eight of the top 11. What makes this even better is, out of the eight drivers in the top 11, five different teams are represented. Furthermore, four of their six teams have won this season and that comes after all four organizations that they represented in 2018 reached victory lane.
For Honda, while they have the lead, Chevrolet is coming.
Chevy won four of the first six races in 2018 but just two of the final 11 for the rest of the season. They won only 1 of the first 4 races in 2019 too. That was a string of 12 victories in their last 15 tries for Honda heading into the Month of May and three for Chevy.
But, that’s where the bowties turned it on. Chevy has won six of the last nine races and is making this a battle again. They also won the Indy 500 for the second consecutive year.
They seem to have the preferred package on ovals and the next two races will contest on them. Can they close the gap to make this an intense battle for the final two races? I think so.