Pagenaud Wins Wet-and-wild INDYCAR Grand Prix
Simon Pagenaud overcame the elements and the competition to win the INDYCAR Grand Prix in thrilling fashion.
Pagenaud passed five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon for the lead on the next-to-last lap on a rain-soaked Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and pulled away to collect the 12th victory of his Indy car career and first in a 23-race span. Three of those wins have come in the INDYCAR Grand Prix.
“What a way to start May!” said Pagenaud, who won by 2.0469 seconds. “The car was fantastic; the car was awesome all day. We had something for everybody.”
Starting eighth in the 85-lap race that ran from start to finish in varying levels of rain, Pagenaud charged from sixth place in the final 18 laps in treacherous conditions to collect his first win since the 2017 season finale.
With all running cars on rain tires for the final stint, Pagenaud passed Matheus Leist of AJ Foyt Racing for third place with 10 laps to go and Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey for second position five laps later. The 2016 NTT IndyCar Series champion then set his sights on Dixon.
When Dixon, the reigning series champion, slid a little wide exiting Turn 7 on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn circuit, Pagenaud dove his No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet inside Dixon’s No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. The two cars made light side-to-side contact in the series of corners before Pagenaud exited Turn 9 in front.
“It was a matter of being in the right position,” Pagenaud said. “I pushed all race. When the rain came, I wasn’t sure it was going to work. Surprisingly, it was just the best out there. When Dixon was really struggling with his tires, you could see that.
“I was just braking as deep as I could to catch him. I wasn’t really planning on passing him there. He made a slight mistake.”
The win was No. 205 for Team Penske in its 51-year Indy car history. It was also the team’s 24th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that includes 17 in the Indianapolis 500, five in the INDYCAR Grand Prix and two in NASCAR competition. Pagenaud and teammate Will Power own every win in the INDYCAR Grand Prix’s six-year history, though Pagenaud’s first win in 2014 came with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
NTT IndyCar Series teams are busy the next two days preparing superspeedway cars for the opening of Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge practice on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval on Tuesday. Qualifying for the 103rd running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” takes place May 18 and 19.
Live coverage of the Indy 500 begins at 11 a.m. ET Sunday, May 26 on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. Power is the defending race champion.
The NTT IndyCar Series season finale takes place at the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey September 20-22. Indy cars return to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the first time since 2004. Information on tickets, camping, VIP hospitality, and combined pricing packages with the previous weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event information is available by clicking the link below or calling 831-242-8200.