Pagenaud Completes Weekend Of Upsets
Team Penske would later repair Power’s Dallara/Chevrolet and he would re-enter the race. He finished 20th, completing 53 of the 70 laps.
Three Andretti Autosport cars driven by 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe and Viso all spent time in the garage area for repairs before being wheeled back to the pit area and refired to rejoin the race.
It was an action-packed race and while many of the teams were upset with the style of racing that left Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix Chairman Bud Denker was thrilled.
“They wanted us to change the track and we did,” Denker said with a smile during the race. “I think this track put on quite a show. The fans and the drivers got what they wanted.”
Pagenaud, who finished 12th in Saturday’s race, was able to improve his car dramatically on Sunday in a race that began looking as if Conway would make it two in a row. Conway was in front two times for 31 laps but the nature of the race changed in the multi-car pileup on Lap 28.
Two races in two days left the drivers exhausted but for Pagenaud it was a tremendous culmination.
“It feels like the 24 Hours of Le Mans all again,” Pagenaud said. “Seventy-laps is a tough race with an IndyCar without power steering. At the end of the second race you are holding on on the nerves.
“Saturday we had a really rough day. Today we had a fantastic day. The whole team is working really well together.”
Sam Schmidt is the winningest team owner in Firestone Indy Lights and was finally able to win as an IZOD IndyCar Series team owner.
“This is better,” Schmidt said referring to an Indy Lights race victory. “It’s just fantastic.
“The turnaround after Indy we were fortunate that the cars were in one piece. We have grown pretty substantially over the years. We’re all pushing in the same direction so nobody had their heads down this weekend. The drivers kept the cars all in one piece which really helps.”
Helio Castroneves, who took over the points lead in Saturday’s race, is tied with Marco Andretti as both drivers have 206 points but Castroneves gets the position based on tiebreaker. Ryan Hunter-Reay is third, 15 points out of the lead.
Pagenaud became the sixth different winner in the seven IndyCar Series races this season. Out of those six drivers, none of them are from Team Penske or Target/Chip Ganassi Racing.
It’s the year where the “Little Guys” rule and the big teams have struggled.
“This year it’s very much been the case,” Pagenaud said. “It’s quite impressive to be honest. We never know who is going to be on top each weekend. Everybody was impressed with Dale Coyne and Conway. Mike was the class of the field most of the time this weekend. I was happy to reverse that.
“But it’s great to see what IndyCar has been able to provide, a product that’s helping every team to be able to be competitive. There are a lot of smart people in every team right now. It’s about who is going to be the smartest every weekend.
“But it’s certainly very, very competitive, very difficult to pick a winner every race.”