INDIANAPOLIS - Simon Pagenaud and the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports team began the Indianapolis 500 in the 21st position and never looked back, battling all the way to an eighth place finish in the 2013 Indianapolis 500.
"It's only my second year here at Indianapolis and I think we showed a lot of promise for the future," Pagenaud said. "This is the biggest racing event in the world and we showed so much strength today."
After turning the quickest lap in the final practice session before the Indianapolis 500 on Coors Light Carb Day, Pagenaud knew he would have a car beneath him that could excel in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
"Obviously we started far back in the 21st position, but we made our way as high as fourth at one point," Pagenaud said. "It was a solid Indy 500 for the No. 77 HP IndyCar today and I'm very happy about how the race progressed."
In a race known for being unforgiving to even the most seasoned veteran drivers, Pagenaud and the No. 77 crew systematically climbed through the field.
"We passed a lot of cars out there today, and our Honda-powered car was really comfortable maneuvering through traffic," Pagenaud said. "I know the race just ended but I'm ready for the next Indy 500 and hope to come back next year and win!"
Tristan Vautier, driving the No. 55 Lucas Oil/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, ended his first Indianapolis 500 in 16th place. The 23-year-old started in 28th position and made quick gains early on in the race.
"We had a very good first stint and made a lot of progress," Vautier said. "Unfortunately for some reason the tire pressures and a few other things needed to be changed as the race went on. Halfway through the car started vibrating and got very loose."
Vautier held on and finished the race on the lead lap and without incident.
"We were just happy to make up some track position during the second half of the race," Vautier said. "I finished my first Indy 500 so I'm very happy. I owe a huge thanks to my team who gave me great pit stops all day."
Katherine Legge, driving the No. 81 Angie's List Schmidt Peterson Pelfrey car, started from the 33rd and final starting position on the grid for Sunday's Indianapolis 500. She quickly navigated her car several spots forward before she brushed the wall and damaged her car.
"My car was awesome at the beginning of the race and we were picking other cars off left, right and center," Legge said. "We had a top-10 car but unfortunately I got pushed up in the gray and bent a toe link on the wall."
Legge lost several laps while her crew repaired the car, and ended the day in 26th.
"After we lost those laps I spent the rest of the race trying to stay out of trouble," Legge said. "We brought the car home in one piece and I learned a lot in the process. I'm just so grateful to Sam (Schmidt), the entire team and Angie's List for giving me this opportunity."
The 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 was slowed by five caution periods for a total of 21 laps and set the record for the most lead changes in event history at 68.
Tony Kanaan scored his first victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and was followed to the checkered flag by rookie Carlos Munoz and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Simon Pagenaud and Tristan Vautier will return to action in just six days for a double-header race weekend at the Indy Dual in Detroit.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports