Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet came from 22nd place on the grid in the Chevrolet 275 at Michigan International Speedway NTT IndyCar Series iRacing Challenge on Saturday to take his first win in the third race of the six event series. Speaking following the race the Frenchman credited his strategist Ben Bretzman for helping him take his first victory of the season saying:
“All credit to (strategist) Ben Bretzman and my virtual team behind me. “We worked hard to understand this kind of racing. It’s a pleasure to bring the DXC car into Victory Lane this year.
“We were just saving fuel trying to stay out of trouble. At the start of the race, everybody piled up (in a crash). We were trying to avoid it. We didn’t have the pace in qualifying. We qualified toward the back and decided to use option B, which was saving fuel and conserve tires.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr in the No.3 Nationwide Chevrolet made his first NTT IndyCar Series iRacing Challenge debut starting the race from 18th place and came through unscathed from the first lap accident to finish the race on the virtual podium in third place behind Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud and Scott McLaughlin.
Speaking the race, the NASCAR star turned NBCSN motorsport analyst said:
It was a lot of fun. “We got a little damage in that wreck on the front straightaway at the start of the race. I had a real bad push in the car, so I couldn’t really run with the lead pack.
“A lot of those guys were pretty ticked off about how the strategy worked out for them with that wreck on the front straightaway at the start. It took a bunch of guys down pit road and put a bunch of us in fuel-mileage mode. The fastest cars didn’t win, the best sim racer today probably didn’t win, but this is the closest I’ll probably get to the real thing. That’s why I like it.”