Team Chevy mollywhopped Honda Racing Corporation US at the season-opening IndyCar race at St. Petersburg as its drivers won pole position, the race, and led the most laps.

Honda Racing Corporation US mollywhopped Team Chevy at the second IndyCar race of the year at Long Beach as its drivers won pole position, the race, and led the most laps.

What a relief.

Based on Chevy’s dominance at St. Pete, there was a rightful reason to wonder if the Bowtie’s 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6 engines would help Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden — the race winner — and other teams in the Chevy family turn the new season into a one-sided affair.

Honda’s response at its home race spoke to how hard the team at HRC US worked to find answers to its St. Pete shortcomings. It also gave rise to the hope that both brands will make things interesting as the season moves to permanent road courses and ovals.

“Th is is an Acura/Honda home race, with all their associates here, so huge thank you to everyone at HRC and Honda,” said race winner Scott Dixon, whose No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda sipped fuel while leading 52 of 85 laps to lead home Honda runners Colton Herta and Alex Palou.

“Obviously, that mega fuel mileage from Honda is what got us to victory, so that was huge. I love winning here. This is big.”

There was a strong chance the all-Honda podium was going to be spoiled by Newgarden who was chasing Dixon late in the race, but a hit from behind from Herta caused the electronics that control the transmission in the No. 2 Chevy to momentarily depress the clutch and pause Newgarden’s progress just long enough to let Herta and Palou go by.

Without the contact, the Honda party on the podium would have been interrupted, but nonetheless, the American arm of the Japanese brand served notice that it can fight with Chevy this year, which should make for race-day outcomes that are far from predictable.

“I’m very, very happy,” said Koji Watanabe, president of the parent HRC division that oversees Honda’s Formula 1 program and collaborates with HRC US.

“A Honda power 1-2-3 podium sweep at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, fantastic! Thank you to everyone at HRC and our teams. Thank you to our fans. Thank you all very much.”