Simon Pagenaud scores first IndyCar victory in the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Race 2By Ashley McCubbin
At the end the second race of the weekend in Detroit, it’d be Simon Pagenaud picking up his first career victory. The victory for Pagenaud in the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans Race 2 marks the sixth different winner in seven races this season.
Pagenaud would win the race through a series of pit strategy, slightly going down a different route than yesterday’s race winner and dominate car Mike Conway.
Conway would pit shortly after lap 46 after being based by Charlie Kimball for the lead. When Kimball pitted on lap 50, Pagenaud inherited the lead. Pagenaud would pit on lap 56, handing the lead to James Jakes. When Jakes pitted with 13 laps to go, that would hand the lead back to Pagenaud.
From there, Pagenaud would lead the final 13 laps to pick up the win.
“There were a lot of things going on in the cockpit those last few laps,” Pagenaud noted. “It’s just feels amazing. The car was awesome. Had more horsepower out there than anybody else right now. Honda had great engines. It’s a great feeling. I hope there are more to come.”
It also marks the first IndyCar Series win for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.
James Jakes would finish second for his best career finish, topping an eighth at Toronto in 2012.
“It’s huge for a lot of people,” Jakes said. “Three Hondas on the podium in Detroit – it’s awesome. They’ve really worked their butts off since Indy and we’re proud of them.”
After winning yesterday in a one-off start for Dale Coyne Racing, Mike Conway would finish third today.
“Just driving flat out,” Conway said. “As fast as it would go. I pushed really hard at the beginning and that may have taken a little bit out of the tires but it was still good towards the end. I was catching James [Jakes], I could see he was on reds, so he started to pull away to start with when he came out to start with from that last pit stop. I thought they may go out until the end, and they were, and I used my overtake, the one I had left, maybe a lap to early. And that was enough. I couldn’t quite get close enough.”
Ganassi teammates Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti would round out the top five. It marks a highlight to a less than stellar year for Franchitti as he is not in the top 10 in poins thus far this year.
Marco Andretti would finish sixth to take back the points lead, which he lost last year. He is now tied for the lead with Helio Castroneves, while last year’s champion Ryan Hunter-Reay sits third, 15 points back.
“We were missing a little bit to the top guys, but I think we got about as good as we can get from starting 14th,” Andretti said afterwards. All the RC Cola guys did their part in the pits and with strategy, and I was able to hang on and gain a little ground. But, like I said we were still a little bit off. It’s good to get back up there in the points and we’ll keep marching forward at Texas next weekend.”
Kimball would finish seventh, followed by Castroneves, Graham Rahal and Sebastian Saavedra.
While yesterday’s race was clean, this race had a number of cautions.
After being involved in a first lap incident yesterday, A.J. Allmendinger’s weekend wouldn’t get any better as he would make contact with the wall on lap one.
On the restart, there’d be another caution when Simona de Silvestro would hit the wall with a flat tire.
The second restart would bring another caution with Alex Tagliani making contact with another car, and then ending up in the turn 11 runoff.
“That was just Carpenter nailing me from the back on the restart,” Taglani said after being involved in a later wreck. “It’s just a shame for our team. We have pace, we just can’t get a break. I don’t know what voodoo stuff that we’re going to need to do to get things going our way.”
Meanwhile, Josef Newgarden would have problems the same lap.
Hunter-Reay would run into problems on the third restart and hit the turn 11 wall; the caution would fly for debris. He would go behind the wall for repairs, before returning back on track to finish 17th.
The cautions would continue as Takuma Sato would get into the tires in turn three. Sato bounced off of Tristan Vautier, and then got into the wall.
On the fifth attempt to restart the race, there’d be a big pile-up on the restart as Sebastian Bourdais would get into Will Power, triggering a pile-up.
“Double file restarts and Bourdais got into the back of me,” Power commented. “Just disappointing because the Verizon guys were having such a good day and we had moved out there. hopefully the guys can get it back out there and we can get some points, not that it matters anymore. Bourdais once was a champ, but now he is a chump.”
All in all, the following drivers collected damage: Justin Wilson, Ryan Briscoe, EJ Viso, Ed Carpenter, Tagliani, James Hinchcliffe, Castroneves and Saavedra. Several teams would end up being unable to finish the event, while other teams either made repairs on pit road or in the paddock.
Bourdais would receive a penalty for avoidable contact and have a make pass through. He would finish 11th.
“I am really ashamed for the guys because they have worked so hard to give me a fast car,” Bourdais said. “We got robbed and that is not right. Yesterday my teammate was taken out by Marco (Andretti) and there was no penalty given. We have had at least 15 contacts throughout the weekend and maybe 2 or 3 guys were penalized, including me today. I hardly touched Will Power at that restart and was penalized. This is just not right because my team works so hard and we deserve so much better than this.”
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Firestone 550 on June 8 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live at 8:30 p.m. (ET) by ABC. The IMS Radio Network will also carry the race live on Sirius and XM channels 211.