Pagenaud outduels Rahal for second IndyCar win in a row
Simon Pagenaud led the field virtually start to finish, eventually taking the checkered flag, but the final 10 laps provided some nervy moments for the series points leader.
“We made it exciting at the end for the fans which is great,” said the Team Penske driver. “I am happy there was some action.”
On lap 81 of 90, second-place Graham Rahal began to pass Pagenaud, resulting in contact between Rahal’s left front wheel and Pagenaud’s right rear. That contact send Pagenaud briefly into the sand, allowing Rahal to make the pass for first place. IndyCar would review the pass and take no disciplinary action.
“There is no doubt that we were better than (Pagenaud),” said Rahal.
Four laps later, Rahal and Pagenaud approached Jack Hawksworth in lap traffic. It appeared Hawksworth was trying to slow down to let the duo pass, but Rahal misjudged the situation and made contact with Hawksworth’s car, severely damaging his own front wing.
“I thought he was going to stay out and he just caught me out,” explained Rahal. “He was going to let us by.”
From there, Pagenaud was able to easily pass the hobbled Rahal and pull away for his second-straight IndyCar victory.
“We are just on a roll,” said Pagenaud. “The car is amazing and I am so comfortable driving that PPG Car.”
Rahal held off the field for second place, followed by 2015 winner at Barber, Josef Newgarden, in third. A pair of Team Penske drivers round out the top five in Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya, who started dead-last (21st) but worked his way up to fifth by race’s end.