Pagenaud rides the positive momentum wave into the Grand Prix of Houston

"I've remained very focused on the Grand Prix of Houston during the break because it's going to be a huge race weekend for us"

Pagenaud rides the positive momentum wave into the Grand Prix of Houston

INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 3, 2013) - The heat has been turned up literally and figuratively on the IZOD IndyCar Series Championship as it heads south for the final doubleheader event of the 2013 season. Championship contender Simon Pagenaud is focused on staying cool-headed as he heads into one of the most important race weekends of his career at the Grand Prix of Houston.

Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt/Hamilton Motorsports Honda
Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt/Hamilton Motorsports Honda

Photo by: John Cote

Pagenaud is currently third in championship standings, 70 points behind leader Helio Castroneves, after his win at the Grand Prix of Baltimore last month.

"I'm excited to go into the Grand Prix of Houston third in points because I don't have the pressure that the drivers in front of me have," Pagenaud said. "I'm just focusing on myself and my performance in the HP car. I can't wait to get back to work."

Momentum has been a crucial factor for Pagenaud and the Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports team over the last three races in Mid-Ohio, Sonoma and Baltimore.

"We've showed the most strength of any team in the past three races by scoring more points than anyone else," Pagenaud said. "We'll obviously be riding that wave in Houston. Being a doubleheader race weekend, we have two chances to maximize points and close in on Helio (Castroneves)."

Although it has been a month since the last race, Pagenaud has kept busy in the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car. He participated in Firestone Racing's tire test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on September 11th and 12th, and tested at Auto Club Speedway on Sept. 24th.

"It's been a long break, but we've stayed busy testing," Pagenaud said. "I've remained very focused on the Grand Prix of Houston during the break because it's going to be a huge race weekend for us. To challenge for the championship we need to have a strong showing to stay in the hunt."

Rookie teammate Tristan Vautier spent his month out of the No. 55 Angie's List Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car testing, visiting his home in France and even playing the role of a race fan.

"I went home to France for 10 days! It was so great to see my family and friends after not having been home since February," Vautier said. "I attended a race of the French GT Championship and got to see a lot of my old racing friends too.

"Apart from that I participated in the development of the new Indy Lights tire compound from Cooper Tires with testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Milwaukee Mile. Later in the month I got to test at Auto Club Speedway with Simon (Pagenaud) to prepare for the season finale. That track is very different in an IndyCar than it was in an Indy Lights car for me last year so it was a big bonus to be able to get a first impression of things before we go there in a few weeks for our race."

As Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports prepare for the 10-turn, 1.683-mile street circuit at the Grand Prix of Houston, the teams have opted for similar strategies to what they brought to Baltimore.

"It looks like Houston will be very bumpy and is primarily made of concrete, similar to the Baltimore circuit," Pagenaud said. "Our car should be fast again, so we'll arrive in Houston with a similar car and not try to revolutionize the set-up. If our cars aren't fast we'll deal with it but we should be starting from a good point with the data we have from Baltimore. I'm very much looking forward to the challenge."

IZOD IndyCar Series action begins in Houston for practice and qualifying on Friday, October 4. Race 1 will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3 p.m. ET, and Race 2 will air on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. ET. For the latest updates from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports during the race weekend, follow @SPMIndyCar on Twitter.

SPM

shares
comments
Wilson leads opening day of practice at Houston

Previous article

Wilson leads opening day of practice at Houston

Next article

Carpenter survives opening day of Houston Grand Prix

Carpenter survives opening day of Houston Grand Prix
Load comments
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie Prime

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021