Simon Pagenaud secured his second victory in as many races after a hard fought battle with Graham Rahal over the closing stages at Barber Motorsports Park.
Pagenaud had led the majority of the race for Team Penske only to be caught by Rahal, and with ten laps remaining the two ran virtually side by side down to turn six, with Rahal clipping Pagenaud’s rear wheel and pushing the Penske driver across the gravel trap.
Stewards deemed no action was required over the incident, and Pagenaud recovered to make a move back to reclaim the lead from the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver with five laps remaining just as the duo came up to lap Jack Hawksworth.
Rahal got too close to the AJ Foyt Enterprises car and broke his front wing, allowing Pagenaud an easy run to the flag, while Rahal struggled to the flag but was able to hang on for second.
2015 Barber winner Josef Newgarden secured the final podium position for Ed Carpenter Racing after passing Will Power for the second time during the race on the penultimate lap. The young American had made a first lap pass on the Team Penske on the opening green flag lap to run second.
Despite starting the race at the back of the field following a disastrous qualifying on Saturday, Juan Pablo Montoya claimed an excellent fifth for Team Penske, made even more impressive that apart from the opening two laps of the race there were no caution periods.
That caution was caused by an incident before the race had even begun; Carlos Munoz had been too adventurous as they headed towards what should have been the green flag, only to hit the back of Mikhail Aleshin’s Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry, which turned him into the side of Hawksworth.
The start was called off, and two further laps were made before they were given the green flag, with Aleshin, Hawksworth and Munoz being made to start at the back of the pack.
James Hinchcliffe secured sixth for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports ahead of the fourth Penske of Helio Castroneves, while Tony Kanaan led a trio of Chip Ganassi Racing entries in eighth ahead of Charlie Kimball and Scott Dixon.
Dixon had been looking to extend his remarkable record of finishing on the podium at every race at Barber, but was on the back foot early in the race, being spun around at turn five by Sebastien Bourdais and falling to the back of the field.
Barber Motorsports Park Race Result
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