Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 DXC Technology Chevrolet for Team Penske was delighted with his victory at the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday.
The Frenchman who started the race from pole dominated proceedings and held off a late charge from defending series champion Scott Dixon to take his third win of the season.
Speaking following the race he said:
“I needed that time off (between Road America and Toronto) to just reorganize my team around me – my personal team, not Team Penske – and find time for myself to refocus on the game and we did just that. Ben Bretzman (engineer) has been really good at steering me in the right direction, also. I think it was a team effort, really. It looked like we were dominating today and I can’t thank these guys enough because they come in in the morning with big smiles on their face, every day same thing. We just are working together and that is why you have days like today. The whole race I was waiting for that yellow. For sure there is going to be a yellow with five laps to go; we’re going to have a restart. But no matter what, we had the best car. When we had to push, we could go faster than (Scott) Dixon, match anyone, save the fuel. It was just an amazing day. Dixon made it interesting in the end and that was fantastic for the fans. I also want to say a special “Hi” to France, it’s obviously Bastille Day and I’m so proud to fly the French flag so high this year. It’s time. It’s time to go and we need to be aggressive now. This race we had to win and we did it. I think this team shows when it’s time to execute, we’re always there. There’s no question about that.
Series points leader Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Hitachi Chevrolet who started the race from fifth place came home in fourth and has seen his lead shrink to just four points with six races remaining this season.
Speaking following the race the Tennessee native said:
“It has been a tough weekend – hasn’t been my strongest weekend, for sure. I had a flat hit against the wall in Turn 11 there with a handful (of laps) to go. I was smelling blood on (Alexander) Rossi a little bit and trying to get another position. But I think I sealed our fate on the No. 2 car in qualifying. Starting fifth was tough. When a race goes green like that, where you are is where you are going to finish. You can make some up in the pit stops, but we just didn’t have enough today to overhaul Rossi and (Scott) Dixon. That was my goal coming into today, was trying to get up to second. We knew that if Simon (Pagenaud) had a clean start, that he was going to be tough to beat. Getting on the podium was our goal. But for having a tough weekend and to finish fourth isn’t a bad thing. The Hitachi car looked good and felt good. It just wasn’t enough. And thanks to Chevy. They gave us a good package this weekend and that’s how we fought so hard.”
It was a disappointing day for Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet as he qualified for the race in 15th place and was involved in a multi car pile up on the opening lap which resulted in him needing to pit for a new front wing at the end of the opening lap.
Power tumbled down the order but recovered well before retiring from the race with two laps to go after planting his car in the tire wall.
Speaking following the race he said:
I got a good run on Graham (Rahal) and when I realized he was turning into the corner aggressively, I tried to back out of it. I wish I didn’t go for it that early. I feel bad for him. It was just a mistake and I didn’t realize someone was on the outside of him. Then, I just made a bad mistake there at the end. We just locked the rears up there. I have been having problems all weekend long with locking up the rears. I feel bad for the Verizon team. We had a reasonable comeback going, all the way up to eighth, I think. That wasn’t the way I should be driving. But I know how to come back from this. I just need to mentally keep in the right place and keep doing what I know.”