Pagenaud “always a little ahead while not taking too much risk”

Toronto winner Simon Pagenaud says that his Team Penske-Chevrolet was so “phenomenal” this weekend that he felt he had the measure of his IndyCar rivals without having to run on the edge, and that gave him confidence while under pressure from Scott Dixon in the closing stages.

Pagenaud “always a little ahead while not taking too much risk”

The 2016 IndyCar champion and this year’s Indy 500 winner has put himself firmly back into the championship hunt with his third victory of the season, and he now lies just 36 points behind championship leader and teammate Josef Newgarden.

Pagenaud, who topped two practice sessions and qualifying, led 80 of the 85 laps and only looked under threat from Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda driver Scott Dixon in the closing laps as he tried to manage his fuel consumption while also needing push-to-pass to get around backmarkers

“The car handled really well,” he explained. “We definitely had an advantage on the tire wear. I knew we had a really good racecar. We were able to match the Honda power pretty well. Helped us really to perform even better, so thanks to Chevy.

“On the black Firestone tires, we were trying to make the fuel [mileage]. Passing the backmarkers at the end was very complicated. I just played the game with Dixon to make sure I was covering myself through Turn 1, catch the backmarkers.

“That wasn't very fun for the leaders or for the fans. If I was trying to pass them, I would use a lot of fuel. They were making it quite difficult. I just used my experience to be smart there…

“I built a gap at the beginning to be safe over the pit sequence. Then at the end when I saw the backmarkers, I knew that was his chance to come back. So what I did is once I figured out that [Ryan] Hunter-Reay was using 'push to pass', I could use my 'push to pass', but I was using a lot of fuel doing so. I was putting myself at risk.
“What I did is I just looked at where Dixon was strong and I adjusted my pace to make sure I was ahead of him enough, and not bothered by the backmarkers through Turn 1 and 3. The rest of the track Dixon couldn't pass me, so I was saving the fuel there. I kept a distance from the backmarkers not to be in trouble myself. I used a bit of experience there. Throughout the years I learned how to do that, watching the greats. That's how I pulled it off.”

Pagenaud explained his ability to soak up the pressure from Dixon came from running a car that he felt had been strong throughout the weekend.

“I was very composed today because I knew I had such a great racecar,” he said. “It was just frustrating in a way. But I've been racing for a while now, so I managed to control my emotion and found a way to use backmarkers to my advantage. Really I was in that mentality this weekend, just positive, never thinking negative.

“Certainly the car was phenomenal this weekend, so it really was a matter of understanding how to extract the maximum out of it and stay on that aggressive level. I kept driving hard all weekend, while still having some margin – except in qualifying…

“That really was a comfortable zone. Definitely a good approach certainly. I'm still working on that to make sure that happens every race!”

 

shares
comments
Power admits “bad” and “terrible” mistakes in Toronto

Previous article

Power admits “bad” and “terrible” mistakes in Toronto

Next article

Dixon: Pagenaud had “ridiculous” speed advantage in Toronto

Dixon: Pagenaud had “ridiculous” speed advantage in Toronto
Load comments
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
Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious? Prime

Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious?

A quarter of the drivers racing in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 are former winners - but are they the favourites? The veteran drivers largely impressed in qualifying - but there's also a plethora of young guns looking to secure victory at IndyCar's flagship race...

IndyCar
May 25, 2021
What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1? Prime

What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1?

The FIA says it wants American drivers in Formula 1, but would it take an IndyCar driver to transfer or does an American need to join the European junior ladder system to get there? By David Malsher-Lopez.

Formula 1
May 19, 2021
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Prime

Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

After spending the majority of his 179-race Formula 1 career in middling to tail-end machinery, Romain Grosjean finds himself once again with an underdog team in IndyCar. While not without its challenges, he's relishing the more level playing field that means his Dale Coyne Racing crew can expect to claim a few scalps...

IndyCar
May 14, 2021