Pagenaud rues lowly qualifying for hampering Indy 500 race

One-time Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud rued his lowly qualifying position for this year's race which mired his Penske entry in traffic during the race, unable to show its potential

Pagenaud rues lowly qualifying for hampering Indy 500 race

The 2016 IndyCar champion qualified on pole for last year's 500 and led a race-high 122 laps on his way to victory after a tense battle with Alexander Rossi, but could only manage 25th on the grid in 2020, which left him reliant on off-sequence pit strategy to vault him up the order.

Pagenaud duly led between laps 31 and 44 after pitting early under the yellow caused by James Davison's right-front brake exploding on the back straight, but was unable to make decisive progress through the pack, despite feeling "like we had one of the best cars".

"It was a real shame to start as far back as I did," he said.

"I really do think that Chevy brought an incredible race engine, it had so much power.

"So I think if we started further up, we would not have lost as much time in traffic.

"I feel like we had one of the best cars."

His race was then compromised by contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay which required an additional stop for a new front wing and put him two laps down in 22nd at the finish.

"The car was really, really good and it would have been good for the last shootout, but it wasn't our year," he added.

Defending series champion Josef Newgarden was the best of the Penske contingent and best-placed Chevrolet in fifth, with team-mates Helio Castroneves and Will Power managing 11th and 14th respectively.

He rose as high as third with 40 laps to go, but didn't have the pace to challenge Scott Dixon and eventual winner Takuma Sato ahead, eventually falling behind Sato's Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team-mate Graham Rahal and Santino Ferrucci in the closing laps.

"We actually came in with Sato on that last stop and maybe we should have went one lap longer," Newgarden said.

"But in the end, we were a little behind the eight ball on the final stint. We were working to unhandcuff ourselves.

"We just didn't have what we needed. We were in position, but couldn't capitalise to take advantage of it."

shares
comments
Sato: Indy 500 win for Rahal "mission completed" after 2012 near-miss

Previous article

Sato: Indy 500 win for Rahal "mission completed" after 2012 near-miss

Next article

Spencer Pigot has full memory of horror Indy 500 crash

Spencer Pigot has full memory of horror Indy 500 crash
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Simon Pagenaud
Author James Newbold
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Plus

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
How Herta's aversion to complacency spells bad news for his IndyCar rivals Plus

How Herta's aversion to complacency spells bad news for his IndyCar rivals

Colton Herta's dominant IndyCar win on the streets of St. Petersburg confirmed what rivals have long-suspected - that the second-generation racer is destined for stardom. But it was Herta's comments afterwards that gave perhaps the most interesting insight into a driver that will be around for a long time to come

IndyCar
Apr 29, 2021
How good is Palou - and can he be Dixon's main IndyCar title rival? Plus

How good is Palou - and can he be Dixon's main IndyCar title rival?

Last Sunday, Alex Palou delivered his first IndyCar victory on his Chip Ganassi Racing debut. Is the young Spaniard going to become his legendary teammate Scott Dixon’s biggest title threat? DAVID MALSHER-LOPEZ investigates Palou's potential

IndyCar
Apr 21, 2021
Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans? Plus

Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans?

IndyCar's gold standard teams Ganassi and Penske are set for another slugfest beginning this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park. A poor start to the first season with the new aeroscreen left Josef Newgarden with too much ground to make up on Scott Dixon in the title chase, but his strong end to 2020 suggests a battle royale lies ahead...

IndyCar
Apr 16, 2021
The six major IndyCar subplots to follow in 2021 Plus

The six major IndyCar subplots to follow in 2021

From rookies arriving with big reputations to veterans who still have the fire and an F1-linked squad pushing to join the big leagues, IndyCar has it all this year. Here are six of the key storylines to keep track of

IndyCar
Apr 15, 2021
The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed Plus

The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed

Often unfairly characterised as a car-breaker, judged for his lack of an Indianapolis 500 win and a disappointing part-season of Formula 1 in 1993, Michael Andretti was highly respected by his rivals and only thwarted greater success by ill-fortune. When it all came together in 1991, he was a truly formidable force

IndyCar
Mar 6, 2021
How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite Plus

How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite

The second year of McLaren's full-time IndyCar return is looming, with Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up. Strong team personnel and work behind the scenes means that 2021 could be the year it joins the established elite

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart Plus

The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart

Flashes of brilliance amid spells of obscurity have been too common for Marco Andretti. While the third-generation racer has opted to bring his full-time IndyCar career to a close, his peaks and troughs have never been for want of trying

IndyCar
Jan 20, 2021