Tag Archive for Simon Pagenaud

Simon Pagenaud Earns First Oval Victory, Takes IndyCar Points Lead

AVONDALE, ArizonaSimon Pagenaud picked one of the Verizon IndyCar Series tracks richest in open-wheel history to earn his first oval victory.

The reigning series champion drove away from the field in the final half of the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix Raceway, winning by 9.1028 seconds over teammate Will Power and assuming the points lead after four races of the 2017 season.

Driving the No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, Pagenaud collected the 10th win of his Indy car career and led a Chevy sweep of the top four positions on the 1.022-mile oval that has hosted 63 Indy car races dating to 1964. It was also win No. 450 for Team Penske in all racing competitions and its 100th on Indy car ovals.

“I can’t explain how excited I am,” Pagenaud said. “Ovals are not my specialty – I grew up in Europe racing go-karts. I learned about ovals when I was 26 years old so I had to learn the skill and the technique that I didn’t know.

“Man, this is incredible. What a win!”

Pagenaud took control midway through the 250-lap race, running longer while other frontrunners had to stop for fuel and tires. Pagenaud pitted on Lap 140 with a one-lap advantage on the field under a caution period caused when Takuma Sato‘s car made contact with the Turn 4 SAFER Barrier. Pagenaud returned to the track in first place and led the final 114 laps.

“The car was phenomenal and thanks to the Menards Chevrolet crew,” Pagenaud said. “The car was so strong at the beginning of the race; we were able to save fuel in traffic. It paid off with that lucky yellow, but we’ve had our fair share of bad luck, too, this year so it doesn’t hurt sometimes to have a little break.”

Team Penske’s four drivers led all 250 laps, the first time a team has paced every lap in a race since Team Penske did the same thing in the first race of Belle Isle doubleheader last year. Power led 59 laps in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet before finishing second.

“It was good night considering where we’ve finished the last few races,” said Power, whose best result this season prior to tonight was 13th. “I’m happy to finish second and get some points.”

Pole sitter Helio Castroneves led 73 laps in the No. 3 REV Group Team Penske Chevy and finished fourth. Josef Newgarden, the winner of last week’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, led two laps in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevy and ran up front most of the night until contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay forced an unscheduled pit stop and Newgarden finished ninth.

JR Hildebrand finished third in the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet – the best result for Hildebrand since his memorable runner-up finish in the 2011 Indianapolis 500 when he crashed while leading on the final lap. Hildebrand was pleased with tonight’s showing after he sat out last week’s race at Barber Motorsports Park while a broken bone in his left hand mended from an April 9 crash in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

“The car was just awesome all day,” Hildebrand said. “Excited to get the result for the team, for sure. The car was bitchin’. I think at the end of the race we had obviously one of the top three, but I think we might have had the best car on the track.”

Pagenaud holds an 18-point advantage in the championship over Scott Dixon, who finished fifth in the race. Newgarden sits third in the standings, 26 points out of first place.

Sebastien Bourdais of Dale Coyne Racing, who led the points entering the night, was caught in a five-car incident on the opening lap when Mikhail Aleshin spun and collected the cars of Bourdais, Marco Andretti, Max Chilton and Graham Rahal in Turn 2. No drivers were injured. Bourdais finished 19th and dropped to fourth in the standings.


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Will Power claims pole position at Barber, Team Penske Starts 1-2-3

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Saturday, April 22, 2017) РWill Power negotiated the 2.3-mile, 17-turn permanent road course in 1 minute, 6.9614 seconds (123.653 mph) in the Firestone Fast Six, the climactic round of knockout qualifying. It earned the 36-year-old Australian the Verizon P1 Award and his fourth pole position at the track for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

Power edged a pair of teammates and past Barber pole winners for qualifying honors. Helio Castroneves was second (1:07.1429, 123.319 mph) and Simon Pagenaud third (1:07.3817, 122.882 mph).

“Congratulation to Will,” said Pagenaud, the defending Barber race winner and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion. “That was great qualifying and phenomenal for the race team: 1-2-3.”

Power’s 46th career pole – fifth all time – was the seventh for Team Penske in eight events at Barber Motorsports Park. It was also the 248th in Indy car history for the team, which Power said is where it all starts.

“First, it’s having a very good team and car, definitely working well this weekend,” said Power, the 2014 series champion who has Barber race wins in 2011 and ’12. “Kind of focusing very well and making sure I’m looking at the right things. Felt like I had a much better car on used tires; I think that’s kind of where we’ve been going wrong. Yeah, just very good result.”


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20 Photos From INDYCAR Chevy Test (April 2, 2017)

Sunday, April 2, 2017, was a perfect day weather-wise, and the INDYCAR Chevy testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway thrilled race fans who can’t wait for May to arrive.

Here are TWENTY more photos from the weekend for you to enjoy!

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20 Photos From INDYCAR Chevy Test (April 1, 2017)

It was a cold mid-40 degree April day in Indianapolis, so INDYCAR Chevy testing ended up being canceled at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and rescheduled for Sunday, April 2, 2017.

But never fear, we do have TWENTY photos for you!

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Simon Pagenaud Wins 2016 Mid-Ohio, Continues on Championship Run

indycar-logoIf there were any questions that Simon Pagenaud was feeling the pressure of the Verizon IndyCar Series title battle, the Team Penske driver answered them emphatically with an aggressive victory at today’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Pagenaud, in the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet, banged his way past teammate and primary championship contender Will Power for the deciding pass of the race and drove on to a 4.1620-second victory. Coupled with winning the Verizon P1 Award in qualifying Saturday, Pagenaud extended his championship advantage to 58 points over Power with 12 of 16 races completed.

“The car was really good today, so when it was time to push, it was easy to lay down some fast laps,” said Pagenaud, who picked up his series-leading fourth win this season and eighth of his career. “The red Firestone tires were amazing today on the car. I just pushed as hard as we could and here we are. It’s awesome, four wins this year.”

Starting from pole, Pagenaud led only 17 laps through the first two-thirds of the 90-lap race – the 32nd Indy car event on the permanent road course since 1980 – due to teams’ differing fuel strategies. Power, in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, even passed his teammate during a mid-race pit-stop sequence by staying on track two laps longer.

The decisive moment of the race came on a Lap 66 restart with Power running second and Pageanud third. Pagenaud made repeated bold overtaking maneuvers throughout the lap, with the two Penske cars making side-to-side contact several times until Pagenaud finally forced his way past Power exiting the 13th and final turn on the 2.258-mile circuit.

Pagenaud pulled away from Power and then waited out race leader Conor Daly, who had to stop for a splash of Sunoco E85R ethanol six laps shy of the finish.

“It was an awesome battle with Will there,” Pagenaud said. “I knew that was my chance on that restart, it was time to go. It was a pretty interesting lap, fun driving like that. That’s racing. It was fair, it was clean, it was hard racing.”

Power, who collected his fifth straight top-two finish of the season, was mad at himself for not getting a good jump on the critical restart.

“I was sleeping on that restart and I regret that,” Power admitted. “I should have been on it, then I got marbles on the tires. It was a good, clean battle. It was tough but it sucked finishing second, all the effort you put into that race.

“But Simon did a bloody good job and it’s turning into a pretty good battle.”

Carlos Munoz used a fuel-saving strategy to finish third in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda, the Colombian’s best showing since he placed second at the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May. Defending race winner Graham Rahal finished fourth in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda.

Pagenaud has totaled 484 points in the 12 completed races to 426 for Power. The Team Penske duo achieved some separation from several other contenders who had issues in the race.

Five-time Mid-Ohio winner and 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon and two-time Mid-Ohio winner Helio Castroneves had contact on Lap 15, snapping Dixon’s left front suspension and damaging Castroneves’ left rear wheel guard. Castroneves ended up in 15th place and Dixon 22nd and last.

“I got alongside (Castroneves) and he kept edging me over until I just had nowhere to go,” Dixon said. “I braked when I was alongside him and then he just turned in.”

Josef Newgarden was forced to pit on Lap 22 to replace his entire rear wing assembly after contact with Power, finishing the race in 10th. Castroneves, Newgarden and Dixon now rank third through fifth in the point standings, but each has fallen more than 100 points in arrears of Pagenaud.

“It was tough day,” Newgarden said. “I feel bad for my guys because I think we had a good car. Pagenaud and Power would have been tough today, but I think we were a podium car, for sure.”

Daly, in the No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda, wound up in sixth place after the late splash-and-go. Mikhail Aleshin led a race-high 33 laps in the No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda, but made contact exiting his pit with Newgarden on Lap 62. Aleshin was penalized for making an improper pit exit and hitting Team Penske crewman Vance Welker (who was uninjured) and finished 17th.

“I was the fastest car on the track so obviously the car was pretty good,” said Aleshin, who had led only four career laps prior to today. “I think the incident (with Newgarden) was unfortunate. … Sometimes these things happen in the race and we’re ready to win, but we just got a little bit unlucky today.”

The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to action for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 21. Broadcast coverage of the 500-mile race on the 2.5-mile triangular oval begins at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.


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Simon Pagenaud wins INDYCAR 2016 Mid-Ohio pole with record lap

indycar-logoNot even a sore back that nearly kept him out of the race car could prevent Simon Pagenaud from winning another Verizon P1 Award and setting another Verizon IndyCar Series track record.

The 2016 championship leader hustled his No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet around the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 1 minute, 3.8700 seconds (127.271 mph) to edge Team Penske teammate Will Power for the pole position and will lead the 22-car field to start Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

It marked the sixth track record etched in Verizon IndyCar Series competition this year and second for Pagenaud. The 32-year-old Frenchman accomplished the feat while nursing a back injury sustained early in Friday’s first practice session.

“All of a sudden it was like somebody jammed a knife in my back,” Pagenaud said. “This morning the pain was 10 out of 10. I didn’t know if I was going to be doing qualifying, to be honest. But the doctors took good care of me and I managed to get in the car, and once the adrenaline got in, it was better.”

Pagenaud’s best lap in the Firestone Fast Six – the climactic third round of knockout qualifying – was more than seven-tenths of a second quicker than the track record set last year by Scott Dixon. It gave Pagenaud a series-leading six pole positions this season, eight for his career and 244 in Indy cars for fabled Team Penske, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

“(The Firestone Fast Six) was awesome with Will,” said Pagenaud, who has advanced to the final round of qualifying at all eight road/street venues this year and set the lap record for Detroit’s Raceway at Belle Isle Park in June. “What a battle. The PPG car was really hooked up today. Thanks to Team Penske. They give us the best equipment out there.”

Power, in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, ran second at 1:03.9381 (127.135 mph). Despite missing the first race of the season with an inner-ear infection, Power is second in the championship, 47 points behind Pagenaud entering the Mid-Ohio race weekend. Threatening clouds and periodic light rain on portions of the permanent road course threw a wrench into everyone’s qualifying strategies.

“It was just like mayhem, you know, not knowing what tires to use, and everyone went out on reds (alternate tires) so we went out and did one lap on blacks (primary tires) and came straight in for reds,” Power said. “It was just a mixed-up session and it was tiring as hell because you had to run hard every single lap. It was crazy.”

Josef Newgarden qualified third in the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium/ECR Chevrolet (1:04.1200, 126.775 mph). Ryan Hunter-Reay was the lead Honda, qualifying fourth in the No. 28 DHL entry for Andretti Autosport (1:04.3265, 126.368 mph).

“Hopefully we’ll continue off where we left at Road America and Detroit, third and fourth there,” Hunter-Reay said. “Hopefully we can get that DHL Honda up front. It would be great to have a great result for Honda here this weekend at one of their home races.”

Past Mid-Ohio winners occupied the next four qualifying positions, with Charlie Kimball (2013) fifth, Graham Rahal (2015) sixth, Helio Castroneves (2000 and ’01) seventh and Juan Pablo Montoya (1999) eighth.

Five-time Mid-Ohio winner Dixon will go off 11th in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Dixon’s team mistimed his final run in the second segment of qualifying and he failed to advance to the Firestone Fast Six.

“We waited too much,” said Dixon, the 39-time career race winner currently fourth in the championship. “The team thought we would be safe. Coming into the pits, I thought it was getting faster on track. The rain was getting lighter. The times picked up drastically in the end there, which hung us out.

“We just had a miscue in communication there. It’s kind of how our season has gone so far.”

A final 30-minute warmup practice is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. ET Sunday (streamed live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com). Coverage of the 90-lap race begins at 2 p.m. ET on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, with a race re-air on NBCSN at 5:30 p.m.

The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio is the 13th of 16 rounds on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, but will be the 12th race completed. The Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway was suspended by rain after 71 laps June 12 and will resume Aug. 27.


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Simon Pagenaud Earns 500th Pole for Team Penske


Simon Pagenaud has been setting the standard in the Verizon IndyCar Series this season and he helped take Team Penske to another level today.

Pagenaud, a three-time winner in 2016 and the championship leader after nine of 16 completed races, won the Verizon P1 Award for the Iowa Corn 300, earning the 500th pole position in all racing disciplines in the illustrious history of Team Penske in the process. The driver of the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet circled the 0.894-mile Iowa Speedway oval twice at 185.855 mph (34.6334 seconds) to capture his fifth pole position this season, seventh of his Indy car career and coveted No. 500 for boss Roger Penske.

“Five hundred, how cool is that?” the 32-year-old Frenchman asked while wearing a cap with “500” embroidered across the front. “It is just qualifying – we have a lot of work to do this weekend – but it certainly puts a great stamp on the work the No. 22 team has been doing as well as the whole Penske organization.”

All four Team Penske drivers qualified in succession following the blind draw for the order. Pagenaud benefited from being the last of the Penske quartet to make his attempt, receiving information relayed from his teammates about track and car handling conditions.

“It is such a gamble for the engineers in this situation,” he said. “You only get two laps. Conditions from this morning to the afternoon changed. It is fun when you get the car right like this on an oval.

“Chevy has been incredible giving us so much power and such a good aero kit. It’s been comfortable and a lot more to my driving style.”

Pagenaud led a Chevrolet sweep of the top eight qualifying positions. Josef Newgarden, in the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka/ECR Chevrolet, was second fastest with a two-lap average of 185.639 mph (34.6738 seconds). Newgarden is four weeks removed from sustaining a fractured right clavicle and bone in his right hand in a crash during the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway that was suspended by rain after 71 laps.

“It’s always tough when you qualify second, you think, ‘Arrrgh!’” said Newgarden, who has finished second in the past two Iowa races. “It’s just really hard to qualify second. You almost wish you qualified fifth or something. That sounds really stupid, but it’s always tough.

“We needed that last little bit, but it’s nothing to complain about. I think we have fast cars. We’ve had fast cars here for the last couple years with Ed Carpenter Racing and I feel really good about our race car.”

Helio Castroneves qualified third in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet (185.433 mph, 34.7122 seconds) and will be joined in Row 2 by rookie Max Chilton, who qualified a career-best fourth. Chilton’s two-lap average speed was 185.419 mph (34.7148 seconds) in the No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy.

“Great job by the Ganassi guys,” said Chilton, who won the 2015 Indy Lights race at Iowa. “It was nice to be the fastest (of the four Ganassi drivers), no easy feat. Really happy with that and tomorrow is what counts. I hear no one’s won from pole here, so I’m obviously in the right sort of area to have a good result.”

Defending race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, who has won three of the past four Iowa races, was uninjured in a morning practice crash in which his Andretti Autosport No. 28 DHL Honda sustained minor rear-end damage. He qualified 20th in the 22-car field. The Andretti team, which has won six straight Iowa Speedway races and seven of the nine to date, struggled as a whole, with Carlos Munoz qualifying 15th, Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi 17th and Marco Andretti 19th.

View complete Iowa Corn 300 qualifying results.


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Meet Team Penske May 25th at Plainfield Verizon

Indianapolis 500 race fans are invited to meet with Team Penske drivers for a one-hour autograph session at the Verizon Wireless Plainfield store at The Shops of Perry Crossing on Wednesday, May 25.

Simon Pagenaud wins his second Grand Prix of Indianapolis

Simon Pagenaud started from the Pole and won his second Grand Prix of Indianapolis at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

INDYCAR: Grand Prix of Indianapolis Post-Event Infractions

INDYCAR announced today post-event infractions from the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, which was held May 10 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. INDYCAR officials have fined engine manufacturer Chevrolet $20,000 and penalized it 10 engine manufacturer’s points for violations of the engine regulations. Chevrolet was found to have violated Rule 11.2 (Torque Control) and 12.1 (Traction […]