Simon Pagenaud takes the Indianapolis Grand Prix in dominant fashion. Simon Pagenaud becomes the first driver since teammate Will Power to win three races in a row. With his third win in succession, Pagenaud extends his points lead to 76 over reigning champion Scott Dixon.
Following the trend of the previous two Indianapolis Grand Prix, the first caution was thrown before the drivers could even get out of turn 1. Sebastien Bourdais found himself in the wall after Tony Kanaan was forced high by teammate Scott Dixon. This accident would end Kanaan’s day and Bourdais would pit for repairs and return to the race multiple laps down.
The race would finally get underway without turn 1 shenanigans. Simon Pagenaud led early with James Hinchcliffe and Charlie Kimball following not far behind. Pagenaud would eventually open a gap and the battle for second heated up between Kimball and Hinchcliffe.
Former champion Will Power would run into trouble when rookie Alexander Rossi would get the better of Power going into turn 7 making the former champ run wide and into the grass spinning out. The incident would not bring out a caution and Power would continue. Unfortunately, for Rossi, he would also run wide but in turn 10 in the closing laps. Rossi would go for a spin much like Will Power but would only lose spots to Carlos Munoz and Spencer Pigot.
The second caution of the race would come when Sebastien Bourdais would bring his 11 machines to a stop in the turn 1 runoff area.
During the caution, Dale Coyne Racing driver Conor Daly and Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves would assume the lead spots due to pitting just laps prior to the caution. Daly would lead and Castroneves would be second. During pit stops James Hinchcliffe’s pit crew would get the number 5 car out ahead of Simon Pagenaud for the third position.
The last restart would commence with Daly opening up a healthy gap to Pagenaud and Castroneves. With the last round of pit stops coming up Daly’s pit crew would not be able to keep the young rookie out front much like in the season opener at St. Petersburg. Daly would drop back to third place. Daly would end up being passed by Hinchcliffe, Kimball, and Graham Rahal who had come back from the last position after being disqualified from qualifying.
Pagenaud would once again show his muscle and fly away from his teammate to win his third race in succession while his teammate would struggle to hold off a hard charging James Hinchcliffe.
Pagenaud after the race, “The car was fantastic once again. The balance was perfect all race. When we were in the lead, we were cruising, doing what we could to save the tires. But the car was just fantastic to drive. What a day. Three races! It’s incredible to win three in a row like this and here in Indy for me, it’s very special. I lived here for nine years so this place is very special in my heart.”
With the completion of the Indianapolis Grand Prix, the next race will be in 2 weeks when the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 ensues on May, 29th. Can Pagenaud make it four in a row or will the Honda teams continue to improve and take the 100th Indy 500?
Featured Image Credit – Chris Owens and www.indycar.com