Simon Pagenaud wins another crazy race at Baltimore

Simon Pagenaud has collected his second career win in a very eventful Baltimore Grand Prix presented by SRT.

“The car was fantastic, as you can see on the first stint,” said Pagenaud. “I struggled there for a bit, but we picked up in the middle section there. We got very lucky on the restarts; we didn’t get collected. I pushed hard on the last restart against Marco (Andretti) and TK (Tony Kanaan). Awesome job for the HP team. They’ve been awesome this weekend and I guess it’s good for the championship.”

Up until lap 48, the race was very clean with Will Power and Scott Dixon leading a majority of the laps. Bourdais assumed the lead on lap 33, as he was off sequence from Dixon and Power and held the lead until lap 40 when he made his pit stop. The yellow flew a lap later for Justin Wilson’s contact with the barrier in turn 7. The leaders (Tristan Vautier, Sebastian Saavedra and Helio Castroneves) all pitted under the yellow, with Castroneves hitting one of his crew members during his stop which he was penalized for. Bourdais cycled back into the lead, and the yellow was extended a few laps longer for Ryan Hunter-Reay stalling on the course.

When the race restarted on lap 48, Graham Rahal made contact with Scott Dixon, spinning him out and collecting Castroneves, Newgarden and James Hinchcliffe. On the restart on lap 53, Dixon made a move on the inside of Power and Power dove to the inside to pass Bourdais and sent Dixon into the wall, ending his day and causing huge championship implications.

“The No. 15 (Graham Rahal) should have received a penalty (for spinning us) and the No. 4 (Oriol Servia) car passed us on a yellow,” said an upset Dixon. “So that restart near the end was a complete botch. On the restart I had an overtake advantage on (Will) Power, it must have been in fourth-gear, so they can’t complain about wheel spin. Then I got beside him and he ran me straight into the wall. Then, they wouldn’t bring the car back.”

Power was just as shocked as Dixon was. “I thought I had a really good run on Bourdais and I was going to the inside to get around him and I thought I hit a bump or just lost it on cold tires,” he said. “I really had no idea that (Scott) Dixon was there. I actually didn’t even know until I got back to the pits and they told me. I feel terrible for him and his team. All I can do is tell them how sorry I am and move on to Houston.”

They weren’t done wrecking however. On lap 57, Bourdais was spun by Oriol Servia in turn 1, involving Vautier, Saavedra, E.J. Viso and Simona de Silvestro to some degree or another and blocking the track. The race restarted on lap 62 and only lasted one lap before the next yellow flow for another multi car calamity in turn 3 which involved Wilson, Hinchcliffe, Servia, Ed Carpenter, Rahal and Bourdais.

Marco Andretti, with front wing damage, led the field to the final restart on lap 67. The wing damage at first did not seem to affect Andretti, but on lap 69 Pagenaud made his move going into turn 1 and completed the pass. Pagenaud was not out of the woods, as he drove wide in turn 7 and Sebastien Bourdais made a bold move for the lead. The two barely touched, but Bourdais couldn’t stay in front and was passed by Pagenaud, Andretti and Josef Newgarden. From there Pagenaud extended his lead despite front wing damage and crossed the finish line 4.1592 seconds in front of Josef Newgarden.

Newgarden’s 2nd place finish is the first podium of the Tennessean’s young career, and today he battled hard being involved in a few incidents and a transmission gremlin mid race. It is also the first podium for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing since Ed Carpenter’s win at Kentucky in 2011.

Bourdais wound up in 3rd place, and was the biggest mover of the day starting in 22nd place. Fourth was Justin Wilson and rounding out the top 5 was Simona de Silvestro, who scored her best finish of the season on her 25th birthday.

Points leader Helio Castroneves recovered from a lap 1 incident with Newgarden which forced him to come into the pits to change his front wing and the penalty for contact with his tire changer to finish in 9th place and now has a 49 points lead over Dixon heading into the Houston Doubleheaders in a month.

“Wow, what a crazy race. Well, first off I have to say sorry to (right front tire changer) Doug (Snyder). I’m glad he seems to be alright. It was very slippery in the pits and I just slid in – I’m not really sure what happened. I want to thank PPG and Team Penske for never giving up. I am glad we were able to finish in the top 10 and keep our lead in the championship. Now, we’ll turn our attention to Houston. That will be a big race for us and our sponsors and a lot of points on the line with the doubleheader.”

In his record setting 212th consecutive race, Tony Kanaan was running in 2nd on the final restart but faded late and subsequently hit the wall on the final lap and finished in 15th place.

Final Results

  1. Simon Pagenaud
  2. Josef Newgarden, -4.1592
  3. Sebastien Bourdais, -7.9588
  4. Justin Wilson, -10.7598
  5. Simona de Silvestro, -11.6017
  6. Charlie Kimball, -21.4160
  7. James Hinchcliffe, -22.8422
  8. Sebastian Saavedra, -25.5377
  9. Helio Castroneves, -29.31177
  10. Marco Andretti, -40.5499
  11. Tristian Vautier, -1 lap
  12. Oriol Servia, -1 lap
  13. E.J. Viso, -1 lap
  14. Ed Carpenter, -1 lap
  15. Tony Kanaan, -2 laps
  16. Stefan Wilson, -3 laps
  17. Graham Rahal, -7 laps
  18. Will Power, -8 laps
  19. Scott Dixon, -23 laps (contact)
  20. Ryan Hunter-Reay, -33 laps (mechanical)
  21. Dario Franchitti, -53 laps (mechanical)
  22. Luca Filippi, -63 laps (mechanical)
  23. James Jakes, -70 laps (mechanical)
  24. Takuma Sato, -71 laps (mechanical)

Points Standings

1Helio Castroneves501
2Scott Dixon452
3Simon Pagenaud431
4Marco Andretti430
5Ryan Hunter-Reay427
6Justin Wilson393
7Dario Franchitti388
8James Hinchcliffe376
9Will Power371
10Charlie Kimball363
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