Simon Pagenaud takes controversial first Penske win in Long Beach

IndyCar championship leader Simon Pagenaud snatched his first Team Penske win following a controversial move at the pit exit in Long Beach

Simon Pagenaud takes controversial first Penske win in Long Beach

Pagenaud, who claimed second in the opening two races of the season, grabbed the lead from Scott Dixon and Penske team-mate Helio Castroneves in the final pit phase, but his race-deciding exit from the pitlane raised eyebrows from the Chip Ganassi Racing stable.

Dixon dived into the pits attempting the undercut on Castroneves from second after the leaders caught up with lapped traffic on lap 50 out of 80.

Polesitter Castroneves then followed a lap later, but the reigning champion's tactic paid off, and Castroeneves wasn't able to keep on Dixon's rear wing with his colder tyres.

That left Pagenaud leading, before he pitted a lap later. At the end of the pitlane, the Frenchman appeared to cut part of the yellow line from the pit exit in order to maintain track position ahead of Dixon.

Race officials investigated the incident but Pagenaud escaped punishment with only a warning.

Ganassi disgruntled as Pagenaud escapes penalty

Dixon put in a personal best lap to cut the gap from 0.7s to 0.3s, and tried a pass on the outside at the end of the pit straight, but Pagenaud kept his car wide enough to maintain the position.

Dixon attempted a last gasp move as the chequered flag waved but couldn't get past and finished just 0.3032s down on Pagenaud.

The win represents Pagenaud's first win since Houston in 2014.

Despite maintaining the lead from pole and leading the first 47 laps, Castroneves wasn't able to better third, in a Long Beach race featuring no caution periods for the first time since 1989 and that was classified as the fastest ever IndyCar race at the track.

Juan Pablo Montoya continued his strong start to the season to finish a largely anonymous race in fourth.

The Penske driver's Dallara-Chevrolet was challenged in the dying stages by the Honda-powered AJ Foyt Dallara of Takuma Sato.

The 2013 race winner finished top of the Honda runners in fifth, thanks to having seven push-to-passes remaining after the final pitstops.

That allowed Sato to scythe through the pack, and he just ran out of time to snatch fourth from Montoya.

RESULTS - 80 LAPS

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1h33m54.4835s
2 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 0.3032s
3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 10.8376s
4 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 12.2162s
5 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 12.2918s
6 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 17.6267s
7 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 18.7449s
8 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 19.0362s
9 Sebastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 22.9147s
10 Josef Newgarden Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 23.6654s
11 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 24.2179s
12 Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 40.1250s
13 Conor Daly Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 47.1809s
14 Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 53.9106s
15 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 56.9082s
16 Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m01.2966s
17 Luca Filippi Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m08.0543s
18 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m30.3302s
19 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1 Lap
20 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1 Lap
21 Jack Hawksworth AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 3 Laps

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Pos Driver Points
1 Simon Pagenaud 134
2 Scott Dixon 120
3 Juan Pablo Montoya 106
4 Helio Castroneves 92
5 Tony Kanaan 82
6 Takuma Sato 73
7 Ryan Hunter-Reay 68
8 Will Power 62
9 Graham Rahal 59
10 Charlie Kimball 58
11 Mikhail Aleshin 57
12 Josef Newgarden 56
13 Max Chilton 55
14 Sebastien Bourdais 55
15 Carlos Munoz 50
16 Conor Daly 49
17 James Hinchcliffe 47
18 Alexander Rossi 44
19 Marco Andretti 43
20 Jack Hawksworth 39
21 Luca Filippi 33
22 Spencer Pigot 16
23 Oriol Servia 12
24 Ed Carpenter 9


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