IndyCar: Pagenaud Dominates the Indy 500

Simon Pagenaud celebrates his clean sweep at the Brickyard, having won the Indianapolis Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. Image sourced from @simonpagenaud via Twitter.

Simon Pagenaud was victorious in Sunday’s  Indianapolis 500, and his first career win in the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’

Pagenaud in Dreamland

Pagenaud, who started on pole, dominated the race and led over 100 laps along the famed ‘Brickyard.’

The victory made him the first French winner of the event since Gaston Chevrolet’s success in 1920. On top of this, Pagenaud is also the first pole-sitter to win the Indy 500 since 2009.

Despite a late battle with Alexander Rossi, Pagenaud’s Chevrolet engine seemed to have the advantage all day over Rossi’s Honda.

The victory capped off a perfect month of May for Pagenaud, after the Team Penske driver won the Indianapolis Grand Prix earlier this month.

After making his final pit stop with over 30 laps to go, many doubted whether Pagenaud would have enough fuel for the end of the race. However, a big crash on Lap 178 brought out a late caution and allowed Pagenaud to save fuel.

The win moves Pagenaud into first place in the Drivers’ standings, with a one-point lead over Penske team-mate Josef Newgarden.

Sato’s Late Charge and Consistent Power

Takuma Sato produced an incredible drive to finish third in the 2019 Indy 500 for Rahal Letterman Lanigan. © Zach Catanzareti

Crossing the ‘yard of bricks’ third was 2017 Indy 500 champion Takuma Sato. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver started the race from 14th on the grid and was lapped at one stage.

However, Sato made his way up to the lead pack on the late-race restart and ended up in an incredible third.

Defending Indy 500 champion Will Power crossed the line fifth for Penske-Chevrolet. This marked the Australian’s seventh top-ten finish in twelve Indy 500 starts.

Rookie driver Colton Herta’s hopes of becoming the youngest-ever Indy 500 winner came to an early end on Lap 6 when his No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner Honda suffered gearbox troubles.

Dale Coyne Racing’s Santino Ferucci went on to become the race’s top rookie finisher in seventh, after starting in 23rd position.

The race, which managed to deliver very few full course cautions, saw its fair share of incidents in the pits.

Helio Castroneves earned a drive-through penalty on Lap 41. He made contact with James Davison, after the latter missed his pit stall.

Will Power and Jordan King were both issued penalties after their separate incidents involving their own crew members.  

While Will Power’s fueler was able to continue on with the pit stop, the injured member of Jordan King’s team was taken to the Indianapolis University medical centre with non life-threatening injuries.

The NTT INDYCAR Series will have very little time to decompress following the long month of May. Next weekend, the series returns to action with a doubleheader race at Detroit’s Belle Isle Raceway.