Pagenaud Charges to Another IndyCar GP Win

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Since the IndyCar Grand Prix was introduced to the NT IndyCar Series schedule in 2014, I’ve said it was a boring race. That’s because it was. For the first time in five years, today’s race bucked that trend. A lot of things stayed the same. Team Penske won for the fifth year in a row. Chevy won for the fifth year in a row, and there are still only two drivers that have ever won this race – Will Power and Simon Pagenaud.

2019 IndyCar GP

What was different? This race actually provided edge of your seat excitement. The rains came as expected. Just as the cars were firing up, we could feel rain hitting our face. It never really amounted to much until just past the halfway point.

Tony Kanaan was the first car to pit for rain tires on Lap 52. Helio Castroneves was the second to take the wets on Lap 57. Unfortunately for Helio, he spun on his out-lap. I guess teams were assuming that a caution would be coming out, so many cars ducked into the pits for rain tires.

The caution finally came out on Lap 60.

When the green flag finally flew on Lap 68, Scott Dixon had a huge lead over Jack Harvey and Matheus Leist. Simon Pagenaud was in sixth. He quickly dispatched Spencer Pigot for fifth and the next lap got Pigot’s teammate, Ed Jones for fourth. He then set his sights on Leist for third. Leist did a great job holding off the former champion, but on Lap 74 – Pagenaud made a great pass on the inexperienced Leist. Next on Pagenaud’s radar was Jack Harvey. Five laps later, Pagenaud was in second and closing in on Dixon.

With two laps to go, Pagenaud pulled alongside of Dixon going through a series of turns and they seemed to almost touch wheels. It was Pagenaud who emerged in the lead. The two came around to take the white flag with Pagenaud in the lead. Dixon had nothing for him in the final lap and Pagenaud’s march through the field was complete (thanks to Susan for the winning photograph).

pagenaud win lo

In my opinion, this was the best race of this young season. I suspected that we were in for a good race, with the new faces in the first three rows – and we got it. Fresh names up front and the rain to spice things up made for one fantastic race. It’s too bad that few people were here to see it. Hopefully, NBC was able to pull in a decent audience. It would be a shame if no one saw this race.

A tip of the hat goes to Matheus Leist of AJ Foyt Enterprises. He started twenty-first and found himself fighting for a podium finish at the end. Also, what else can be said for the job that Jack Harvey and Meyer Shank Racing have done this season. They had two Top-Tens to start the season and a thirteenth-place finish at Barber, before finishing third today.

But this day belonged to Simon Pagenaud. In the last race, Alexander Rossi  lulled everyone to sleep in total domination at Long Beach. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone that didn’t think that Rossi deserved the win that day. But after watching Pagenaud carve through the field with a handful of laps left, I can’t remember the last time I saw a driver more deserving of a win than Simon Pagenaud.

Pagenaud win face lo

pagenaud press

So congratulations to Simon Pagenaud for ending a winless draught that dated back to the 2017 season finale, and earning a much-needed win. In the post-race press conference, Pagenaud downplayed any pressure he may have been feeling regarding his security at Team Penske. But on a day when Will Power was the only other Penske driver to finish in the Top-Ten (seventh), Pagenaud was the class of the field. This race has restored my faith in the IndyCar Grand Prix. If you missed it, you missed one great race.

George Phillips

Please Note:  I will have more on the IndyCar Grand Prix on Monday with my usual “Random Thoughts” post. I would like to wish all mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day. I went to visit my own mother last weekend, knowing I would be up here. It’s not the same , so I especially want to wish my own mother a very Happy Mother’s Da and I’m sorry you’ll have to spend it alone. Please come back Monday, and every day next week. – GP

12 Responses to “Pagenaud Charges to Another IndyCar GP Win”

  1. “In my opinion, this was the best race of this young season.”
    which epitomizes the declining TV ratings of motorsports.
    the “good” ones are not the “big” ones.

  2. I think this was the best Indy GP. Lots of exciting passes, the weather, strategy, and Simon’s passing for the lead resulted in us jumping up and cheering. Thanks for your weekend coverage, George.

  3. Interesting race. Is Paul Tracy on crack? He’s hard to listen to sometimes, it’s like he’s watching a different event that I’m seeing when he’s commentating. Great coverage George, thanks.

  4. James T Suel Says:

    No doubt the best GP race at Indianapolis! This race was as good as it gets on a road course. NBC had a good one to open with.

  5. Ron Ford Says:

    IMO NBC did a good job of covering the race. It was indeed a good race. Prior to the race NBC showed a one hour movie called “Drive Like Andretti”. It is about the life and driving career of Mario Andretti. The movie is not something that was just slapped together. It is VERY WELL DONE. I am sure it will be repeated before the Indy500 as this year’s race will be the 50th anniversary of Mario winning the race. Mario’s sense of humor is on display in the movie. For example, during a tour of his Nazareth, Pa. home he stops to show a framed speeding ticket he received for going 183 mph. in a Lamborghini. This movie is already on YouTube. Check it out!

  6. good weather for competition, not so much for fans apparently. I have a couple questions if anyone wants to answer them. Are the garages that were built for F1 still there? Are they used for anything in Indycar races? And what would happen if the cars went around the road course the opposite way?

    • Yes, the F1 garages are still there. This weekend, they were used by the Indy Lights teams, while the other Road to Indy teams had to work out of temporary garages b their transporters. I’ve never been to the Brickyard 400, but I believe they have started using some of them for that. They also have some gift shops and other things set up in some of them for the Month of May. – GP

  7. billytheskink Says:

    Gripping race! Only issue I had was Leigh Diffey regularly calling the race the “IndyCar Grand Prix of Indianapolis”. I kid, I kid, I found that kind of amusing, actually, and I suppose to be fair the uninformed viewer might not know that the race was in Indianapolis.

    John Menard wins another race at the Speedway, just not THE race… yet.

    • Doug Boles said that when they just called it the Grand Prix of Indianapolis people would always ask them what cars ran at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. So they tacked IndyCar on there to avoid that issue and make it clear it was an IndyCar race. That’s a good enough reason for me.

  8. Shyamc Cherupalla Says:

    All were good except, why did it take 8 long laps to go back to green, the yellow came on at lap60 and didnt go back green till lap 68. Hey cleared the cars by third lap of the caution, but why wait so long. IndyCar has no urgency to go want to go back to green right away, its preposterous that they dont think of the playing customer

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