Simon Pagenaud takes victory at Barber

Simon Pagenaud takes a thrilling victory at Barber Motorsports Park holding off a charging Graham Rahal and his Penske teammate Will Power. This is Pagenaud second win in succession after taking his first for the team last week at Long Beach. Pagenaud now has six wins in his IndyCar career.

The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama started in chaos with Carlos Munoz running into the back of Mikhail Aleshin before the start collecting Jack Hawksworth in the mayhem. This would lead to another double file restart.

Once the race saw the green flag for the second start mayhem would come again when Sebastien Bourdais would turn series champion Scott Dixon on lap 3. The accident would send Dixon back to 20th place and Bourdais would be given a penalty along with having to pit to fix the damage. Dixon would rebound to finish in the 10th position with Bourdais finishing in 16th.

Gaining from early race shenanigans were Marco Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya. Andretti who started 19th would make his way through the carnage into 10th place. Montoya would follow suit making his way to the 12th position from last after the first lap of green. Juan Pablo Montoya would finish his epic drive in 5th position. Andretti would finish 12th adding to an already dismal season for the 3rd generation driver.

Pagenaud would take a commanding lead with Will Power and Josef Newgarden following suit. Newgarden would pass Power but to no avail, Newgarden would not be able to challenge the Frenchmen. Power would overtake Newgarden soon after during the pit cycle and would stay in second throughout the stint.

Graham Rahal would come on as a contender soon after the halfway mark when much like last season his strategy would put him in the right position to challenge for the win. Rahal would close in on the Penske drivers Pagenaud and Power due to the Dale Coyne entry of Conor Daly holding the duo up. During the last round of pit stops, Rahal would pass Power allowing him to fully chase down Pagenaud. Rahal would have to get around the lap car of Daly to fully attack Pagenaud.

After getting around Daly the fight for the lead would heat up with Rahal closing on Pagenaud quickly. Rahal would catch the Penske driver and make his move with both driver touching and Pagenaud running wide. The pass would be reviewed but no action was taken. Pagenaud fought back to eventually get alongside Rahal due to the backmarker of Jack Hawksworth. Pagenaud and Rahal would go around Hawksworth but in the process, Rahal would make contact worsening his already damaged wing. Rahal would try to hold off Pagenaud but the damage would get the best of Rahal and Pagenaud would pass taking the lead for the final time.

During the race, Andretti Autosport would continue to struggle with Ryan Hunter-Reay finishing the best of the four entries in 11th along with Marco Andretti in 12th, Carlos Munoz in 14th, and rookie Alexander Rossi in 15th. Positives for Honda would be the 2nd place from Graham Rahal and the James Hinchcliffe continuing to impress in his comeback season finishing in 6th position.

IndyCar will be back in three weeks at Indianapolis for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

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