Pagenaud scores first series win at Detroit's Belle Isle Park

Pagenaud is the sixth different winner in seven races this season (Hinchcliffe, Hunter-Reay, Sato, Kanaan, Conway, Pagenaud).

Pagenaud scores first series win at Detroit's Belle Isle Park

DETROIT -- Simon Pagenaud became the sixth different winner in seven IZOD IndyCar Series races when he drove the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports car to 5.6-second victory in the second race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans.

Race winner Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda celebrates
Race winner Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda celebrates

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

It was the initial win in the series for the native of France and for the team co-owned by former IndyCar drivers Sam Schmidt and Davey Hamilton. It also was the 100th victory for Honda with Indy car engine manufacturer competition.

"It's unbelievable. I don't know how we did it," said Pagenaud, who started sixth in the 70-lap race on the 2.346-mile, 13-turn street course. "It's a great feeling. One I hope of more to come. I started karting when I was 8 so it's been 21 years of hard work to finally win an IndyCar race."

James Jakes, who started second, finished a career-best second in the No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing by holding off Race 1 winner Mike Conway by .4342 of a second. Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti were next to cross the start-finish line.

Helio Castroneves overtook Graham Rahal on the final laps for eighth place, gaining the extra point to retain the championship points lead. He's tied at 206 with Marco Andretti, who finished sixth, heading to the Firestone 550 on June 8 at Texas Motor Speedway.

In Race 1 on June 1, Conway overtook Ryan Hunter-Reay for the lead on Lap 44, built a 20-second gap leading into the final round of pit stops and went on to easily claim his second series victory. Because Conway missed sweeping the inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series doubleheader, the prize fund for the SONAX Perfect Finish Award jumps to $100,000 at the Honda Toronto Indy in mid-July.

Chevrolet Indy dual in Detroit #2 post-race quotes:

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "There were a lot of things going on in the cockpit in the last two laps, I can tell you that. It's unbelievable. I don't know how we did it. The car was mega fast. The HP team did a fantastic job. Honda has been amazing. I certainly had more horsepower than anyone else out there right now. Thanks to everybody. I want to thank my family and everybody around me. This wouldn't have happened without them. Man, it's a great feeling. One I hope of more to come."

JAMES JAKES (No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Honda): "It's huge. It's huge for a lot of people. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan guys have done a great job this weekend. This one is for Honda. Three Hondas on the podium in Detroit again. They've really worked their butts off since Indy, and we're proud of them. The No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts-StemCyte car was just magical today."

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "Something happened up ahead, and I was going into the corner on the outside of Charlie (Kimball), and I couldn't see because the rear wing is so big and everyone just stopped. And it was just a road block. The complete track was blocked from where I was. I hit the wall trying not to run into anyone. It's a disappointing day. Had a good race car. Seems like everyone is getting a little crazy today. Yesterday was nice and calm, but today was crazy."

AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 2 Quicken Loans Team Penske Chevrolet): "(Did your thumb affect his crash?): "No, that's just a poor excuse right there. It was just a huge mistake by me again. Start of the race, trying to be aggressive, not kind of get sucked into everything and just made a mistake again. I don't know what to say, I apologize to Roger, everybody at Team Penske, Quicken Loans, everybody that puts in the effort, all my guys, it's embarrassing, honestly. It's embarrassing for me. Roger deserves better than that, the sponsors, it's just a great event here in Detroit, Bud Denker and everybody put on such event. I don't know where I go from here. I'm heartbroken, I don't even know what to say anymore. Hopefully Will and Helio can go win this thing, Roger deserves it. I feel so lucky that he believes in me and that's not even close to how I want to repay him. We'll figure out where I'm going to go.

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "It wasn't as physical as yesterday's race with the caution periods and everything. It was still a grueling day and we had a few issues with the car with the shifting and then toward the end when we were on red tires something broke in the suspension. It wore a big hole in the car so I'm just happy the Target car finished where it did today."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Suave Honda): "Our day was pretty crazy. We took a very aggressive strategy on the Suave car. We had to make some serious fuel mileage at the end which was frustrating for us because we were really fast. We just had to make that fuel mileage because another trip to the pits would have sent us way back there. We struggled a little bit on restarts to get going and I was thankful to be out in front of that big crash. It was a pretty interesting day at the office."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "What a great job by the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen guys in the pits. They ran two solid pit stops and I couldn't have asked for more. They played the strategy dead-right as far as I was concerned. The communication was really good, they let me know what I needed to do through the restarts. The Novo Nordisk car has been producing all weekend. We've had so little track-time that we were able to take the experience from yesterday's race and put it into a top-10 for today's race. I'm looking forward to going to Texas, Milwaukee and Iowa. Coming off the car and the race we had in Indy, I think it will show really well. It looks like Honda and HPD have taken a good step forward today, sweeping the top-5 in the second race and that will be good as we get going in the season."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "I thought the Verizon car was good enough to win today, it's a real shame that we didn't get the opportunity to run the entire race. I hate it for the Verizon guys as they had given me such a fast car and really deserve to get a win. They did an amazing job to get me back out there to finish the race and I can't thank them enough for that. I feel the team is right on the cusp of really taking off and I look forward to getting to Texas to give it our best shot."

MIKE CONWAY (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): (On strategy after last pit stop) "Just driving flat out. As fast as it would go. I pushed really hard at the beginning and that may have taken a little bit out of the tires but it was still good towards the end. I was catching James [Jakes], I could see he was on reds, so he started to pull away to start with when he came out to start with from that last pit stop. I thought they may go out until the end, and they were, and I used my overtake, the one I had left, maybe a lap to early. And that was enough. I couldn't quite get close enough." (On the physicality of the track) "Yeah, it was tough. You're pushing maximum effort all the time. Especially on the restarts. You have no time to relax. And even with the breaks with the safety car, you know of need that little breather to get your heart rate back down. But you know, I feel good. Adrenaline is pumping. But I'm sure I'll be shattered tonight."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet): "We were missing a little bit to the top guys, but I think we got about as good as we can get from starting 14th. All the RC Cola guys did their part in the pits and with strategy, and I was able to hang on and gain a little ground. But, like I said we were still a little bit off. It's good to get back up there in the points and we'll keep marching forward at Texas next weekend."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "Wow, what an adventurous day we had in the Hitachi car, we crashed and somehow still had a great race. Credit the Hitachi crew for fixing the car and putting me in a position to turn some great laps at the end. It felt like we just won the lottery being able to finish in the top-10. We leave here tied for the top of the points standings, which is where we want to be, so overall it was a good weekend."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet): "I just threw the race away; completely my fault. I just tagged the right front on the entry wall at one of the corners here. That's how it is with street circuits; when you mistake by an inch, it can cause you a race. The guys did an unbelievable job - we only lost 11 laps. The right front and right rear corner were damaged completely. To only lose 11 laps is just miraculous; they did a great job. Unfortunately, we didn't get any more yellows to help us out."

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "It's a shame that we got caught out by something that wasn't our fault. We just had to salvage what we could. It's a tough day but at least we got some points. They're pretty stout here at SFHR so they did the best job they could to put it (the car) back together and get it going as quickly aspossible under green flag conditions. We fixed it as quickly as we could and didn't lose too many laps and ran it right to the end and got some spots back through the cautions, which was lucky."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "That was a wild one. I got into Tag (Alex Tagliani) one time and that was my fault. But the way it all worked out, it didn't really matter unfortunately. The big pileup in turn one took us all out anyway. It's just a bummer. We had an okay race Saturday, and I think we would have been better today. It was a better finish but we really didn't get to run the race. I really feel badly as a group that we didn't get it done for Chevrolet. Hopefully we can make up and get one at Texas next Saturday night. I thought our team did a good job and kept their cool in the pits today. Everyone had the right frame of mind and fixed the things we needed done. We did gain a few positions due to their hard work. We were able to score some valuable points today. The guys really kept their heads with the crazy circumstances that we were dealing with today. Now, it's on to Texas and I'm very excited to go there this week. I feel like we will be in contention there, but, at the same time, this series is so competitive it will be tough in Texas."

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 6 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "Very proud of the #6 TrueCar Dragon Racing boys today, they did an amazing job. It was more than a race today, it was a battle for survival. I am very happy to finish in the way we did, since we were not looking that good in the beginning. We battled tire pressure issues, but were able to stay calm and move from there. I am just very proud of the team and the strategy we had for the race today. It was a great way to end my birthday and I am very thankful for all of my supporters."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "I am really ashamed for the guys because they have worked so hard to give me a fast car. We got robbed and that is not right. Yesterday my teammate was taken out by Marco (Andretti) and there was no penalty given. We have had at least 15 contacts throughout the weekend and maybe 2 or 3 guys were penalized, including me today. I hardly touched Will Power at that restart and was penalized. This is just not right because my team works so hard and we deserve so much better than this."

E.J. VISO (No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA Citgo Chevrolet): ""It was a weekend to forget, but also a weekend to learn from. I think we've shown to have the speed, but we really didn't have all the factors aligned during the races. I believe that, anyways, even if it was an unsuccessful weekend, it was another weekend that we've proved we had speed. Starting the first race on "pole" was good. Starting the second race in the top five was good. Just some misfortunes during the races didn't contribute to a good result. Now I'm looking forward to the upcoming ovals which I have a lot of faith on."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 KV Racing Technology-SH Racing Chevrolet): "We gambled on the strategy to try to get upfront but because the way that the yellow flags played out we didn't get the most of it. The timing was wrong and by the end of the race I had to pit for fuel, which dropped me back to the end of the line. I still have to thank the guys from for coming on board for this race, they we're awesome. Let's turn the page and focus on Texas next week. We had a good race going last year at TMS and I believe that we'll be fast there again on Saturday night under the lights."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires Honda): "It was a busy race. On the initial start I was the series punching bag; I got hit by about 10 guys and pushed backwards. And the car just didn't really come to me until a few laps in. Unfortunately it kept going yellow and we barely got any clear running. When we got up and running, we tried a different strategy to make up a little bit of time and initially it was working but with all of the yellows that came out, everybody ended up doing a similar sort of thing. By no means am I upset with where we finished but certainly this weekend has been a difficult weekend for all of us. James (Jakes) did a great job and we scored two top-10's but we need to find a better balance in our cars, not only here but the ovals and everything."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): "The restarts today were a lot slower than yesterday. It was getting a lot more guys packed up and we saw the result. It wasn't just us... it seemed like every restart someone was getting caught up in something, and I honestly think (the restarts) were just a little bit too slow. One restart we lose a couple places; one restart we gain five and one restart we're pretty much out of the race. It's just one of those things when you do double-file restarts on a tight track like this. The GoDaddy car was really good, and we were making progress like we did yesterday. We were moving up and then Will (Power) got tagged and spun, and I thought I had a gap -- he started to roll backward and then rolled forward and closed the gap I was aiming for. We went back to the truck and the guys did an awesome job getting the thing fixed. We went back out to try and salvage some points. They did a tremendous job getting the car back in shape; our third lap back out there was our fastest lap of the race at the time. It's just unfortunate when you see that because we know we had a good race car and we just didn't get to show it today."


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