Verizon IndyCar Series championship leader Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet took his four victory of year at the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio sports car course on Sunday.
The Frenchman led home a Team Penske 1-2 with his main challenger Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet finishing the race in second place.
Pagenaud takes a 58 point advantage to the next race the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway in three weeks time. Speaking following the win, Pagenaud commented by saying:
I can’t feel anything right now so it’s all good. My back was fine all race, thanks to INDYCAR Medical. Whew, that was a race there, that was fun. It was an awesome battle with Will (Power) there. I knew that was my chance on that restart, it was time to go. It was a pretty interesting lap, fun driving like that. That’s racing. It was fair, it was clean, it was hard racing and I’m just glad I won, really. The PPG Chevrolet was really good today so when it was time to push it was easy to lay down some fast laps. The red Firestone tires were amazing today on the car. I just pushed as hard as we could and here we are. It’s awesome. Four wins this year.
Will Power has five podium finishes in his last five races this season which includes wins in Toronto, Detroit Race 2 and at the Kohler Grand Prix at the Road America circuit and speaking following his second place, Power commented by saying:
Great strategy by the Verizon Chevy team and we did a great job saving on fuel. It was an interesting battle there. I was sleeping on that restart and I regret that. I should have been on it, then I got marbles on the tires. It was a good, clean battle. It was tough but it sucked finishing second, all the effort you put into that race. But Simon (Pagenaud) did a bloody good job and it’s turning into a pretty good battle. Like Simon said, we’re not racing for 11th place. It’s for a win and for a championship and you have to go for it. It was my bad for not being on it on the restart. I regret that, but he’s got to push. I thought of the team on the last corner when we went side-by-side, I had to back out or we were going to crash. It’s racing. It’s tough.
Juan Pablo Montoya in the No.2 Hawk Performance Chevrolet started the race from 8th place and ended the event in 11th place and speaking following the race he commented by saying:
First, I want to say that I’m really glad that Vance Welker (No. 2 car chief mechanic – outside front tire changer) is OK, after the incident (in the pits between No. 7 and 21 cars) today. Secondly, the Hawk Performance Chevrolet was good all weekend and it definitely had the speed for a podium finish. For the race, we went with a different strategy and it didn’t work out as well as we would have liked. We went with a different set of (Firestone) red tires that we thought would work well for us during the latter part of the race, but the balance was off after that. We have to keep our heads up and look ahead. We just need to go back and look at things this week and see what we can do differently for Pocono.
Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Hitachi Chevrolet had a tough day. The Brazilian was involved in an track scuffle with reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Scott Dixon in the No.9 Target Chevrolet which resulted in Dixon suffering a broken front suspension. Castroneves finished the race in 15th place having started the race from seventh place. Speaking following the race he commented by saying:
The Hitachi Chevy was consistent. Unfortunately, I don’t understand yet what happened with the No. 9 (Scott Dixon) in Turn 2. Obviously, I went to move to the inside. He was on the push-to-pass. I was on the push-to-pass. Unfortunately, I felt a big hit on the back. I didn’t move anything. It is a shame. Not sure what happened. I have to ask him what happened. We stayed out but the sidepod was a little bit off and the rear of the car was moving a lot, especially in the high-speed section. I believe that is where I went off when I was passing the No. 8 car (Max Chilton), the rear just took off. Looks like some of my competitors had a bad day except for Will (Power) and (Simon) Pagenaud – great job for them. They are probably on their way to a good battle for the championship, but we will keep focused.