Pagenaud takes second straight IndyCar win after wild Rahal fight

Penske's Simon Pagenaud took a second win in as many IndyCar races with victory at Barber Motorsports Park after an entertaining late-race tussle with Graham Rahal

Pagenaud takes second straight IndyCar win after wild Rahal fight

Pagenaud led for much of the encounter, but was reeled in and overtaken by Rahal in the final laps, only to regain the advantage when Rahal clipped Jack Hawksworth as the pair attempted to lap the AJ Foyt driver, damaging his front wing.

After easing away at the start - which was delayed by two laps for an incident including Carlos Munoz, Mikhail Aleshin and Jack Hawksworth - Pagenaud always looked in control as he broke away from Josef Newgarden and Penske team-mate Will Power in the opening stint.

That control disappeared towards the end of the race, though, as he failed to make any significant progress on Conor Daly, the Dale Coyne Racing driver attempting to stay on the lead lap, allowing Power and Rahal to close up to his tail.

Pagenaud re-established a cushion during the final round of pitstops, but despite clearing Luca Filippi with relative ease, fell once again into the clutches of Rahal - who had left Power behind - who charged up to the Penske driver.

With 10 laps to go, Rahal had closed to well within a second of Pagenaud and pounced two laps later after dispatching one of his push-to-pass boosts on the exit of the Turn 5 hairpin.

The pair touched running through Turns 7 and 8, with Pagenaud forced off into the gravel and Rahal sweeping into the lead.

Race control decided no further action was warranted but Pagenaud, eager to regain the lead he had held for so long, caught back up to Rahal's rear with five laps to run.

He was handed victory after Rahal clipped Hawksworth's rear guard on the run through Turn 6, with Pagenaud completing a pass on the ailing Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara-Honda a couple of corners later.

The Frenchman eventually won by a flattering 13.7476 seconds to extend his championship lead after victory a week earlier in Long Beach.

Rahal hung on for second, while Newgarden finished third after disposing of Power on the penultimate lap.

Ed Carpenter Racing driver Newgarden, who won at Barber last year, made a fantastic start and headed Power at the beginning of the opening stint.

Despite being jumped by the Penske driver and Rahal through the middle of the race, Newgarden stayed with Power in the final laps before executing his pass.

Juan Pablo Montoya, who lined up 21st and last on the grid, wound up a fine fifth despite complaining of gearshift problems, and headed James Hinchcliffe and Helio Castroneves in an intriguing fight behind the leaders.

Tony Kanaan came home eighth ahead of Charlie Kimball, with champion Scott Dixon completing the top 10 - the Kiwi recovering from being tapped into a spin on the opening lap by Sebastien Bourdais.

RESULTS - 90 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1h48m42.3334s
2 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 13.7476s
3 Josef Newgarden Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 15.8039s
4 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 16.7315s
5 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 21.1160s
6 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 23.6222s
7 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 25.5391s
8 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 27.9007s
9 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 31.8726s
10 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 39.0603s
11 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 40.7485s
12 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 53.3648s
13 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 55.2122s
14 Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m03.5214s
15 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1m04.8661s
16 Sebastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1 Lap
17 Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1 Lap
18 Luca Filippi Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1 Lap
19 Jack Hawksworth AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 1 Lap
20 Conor Daly Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1 Lap
21 Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1 Lap

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Pos Driver Points
1 Simon Pagenaud 188
2 Scott Dixon 140
3 Juan Pablo Montoya 136
4 Helio Castroneves 118
5 Tony Kanaan 106
6 Graham Rahal 100
7 Will Power 94
8 Josef Newgarden 91
9 Takuma Sato 90
10 Ryan Hunter-Reay 87
11 Charlie Kimball 80
12 James Hinchcliffe 75
13 Mikhail Aleshin 70
14 Sebastien Bourdais 69
15 Carlos Munoz 66
16 Max Chilton 64
17 Marco Andretti 61
18 Alexander Rossi 59
19 Conor Daly 59
20 Jack Hawksworth 50
21 Luca Filippi 45
22 Spencer Pigot 16
23 Oriol Servia 12
24 Ed Carpenter 9


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