Pagenaud Holds Off Rossi to Win Indy 500
Simon Pagenaud swept the month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and extended Team Penske’s Indianapolis 500 legacy in thrilling fashion, holding off Alexander Rossi to win the biggest race of them all, the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday.
Pagenaud pushed the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet across the finish line by 0.2086 of a second ahead of Rossi, the 2016 Indy 500 winner. It was Pagenaud’s first win at “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and extended Team Penske’s record for Indianapolis 500 victories to 18.
INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRESENTED BY GAINBRIDGE: Official Results
“It’s amazing. It’s another dream come true, and the biggest dream of my life come true,” said Pagenaud, the 35-year-old native of Montmorillon, France. “It’s hard to fathom, really. It’s really hard to process it right now, but I’m just filled with a lot of joy.”
“I drove really spirited today, but it’s just incredible,” Pagenaud continued. “I can’t take all the credit because I think it showed I had the best car out there. The car was just on rails; the yellows came out perfectly. The stars are aligned. … It’s pretty amazing.”
Takuma Sato, the 2017 Indy 500 winner, overcame an early pit-stop mistake to finish third.
Two of Pagenaud’s teammates at Team Penske, Josef Newgarden and 2018 Indy 500 winner Will Power, finished fourth and fifth, respectively. With double race points awarded, Pagenaud unofficially holds a one-point lead over Newgarden after six of 17 races in the NTT IndyCar Series season.
Santino Ferrucci was the highest-finishing rookie, taking seventh place in the No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.
The 200-lap race on the 2.5-mile oval featured 29 lead changes among 10 drivers. There were five caution periods for 29 laps, including a six-car incident on Lap 178 involving Sebastien Bourdais, Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, Felix Rosenqvist, Charlie Kimball and Zach Veach.
Bourdais, Rahal, Rosenqvist and Veach were eliminated in the incident. All of the drivers were checked and released from the IU Health Emergency Medical Center at the track, though Veach was not cleared to drive pending further examination of a right knee injury. The race was red-flagged for 18 minutes to allow the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team and track workers to clean the debris.
When the race resumed on Lap 187, it became a memorable duel between Rossi, who restarted first in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda, and Pagenaud. They swapped the lead five times, the last when Pagenaud made an outside move on the Californian heading into Turn 3 on the next-to-last lap.
Rossi unsuccessfully tried three times to return the favor one more time, but Pagenaud held fast to become the fourth Indy 500 winner born in France and first since Gil de Ferran in 2003.
The NTT IndyCar Series returns to action May 31-June 2 with the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, the only doubleheader weekend on the 2019 schedule. Indy cars return to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the first time in 15 years for their season finale at the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on September 20-22. Tickets and information are available here.