Simon Pagenaud was a happy Frenchman on Sunday after securing his second consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series victory and his fourth top-two finish in the four races in 2016 at Barber Motorsports Park.
The Team Penske driver held off the spirited challenge of Graham Rahal to claim the spoils, and praised his #22 team for their efforts after giving him a good car to go racing with.
“I tell you it is impressive. Thanks to everybody,” said Pagenaud. “We are just on a roll. The car is amazing and I am so comfortable driving that PPG Car.
“And Chevrolet man, those guys. I always tell Jim Campbell after a good race; it’s the best equipment you could give us on the racetrack. So thank you so much for that.
“First and foremost, I am just so excited. Another green flag race I guess. We made it exciting at the end for the fans, which is great. I am happy there was some action.”
The ‘action’ that Pagenaud described was a late race tussle with the #15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing entry of Rahal, which ultimately come out in the Frenchman’s favour.
He firstly lost the lead in a battle down to turn six with ten laps remaining, running across the grass and gravel as a result of contact between the two, before assuming the lead again five laps later as Rahal got too close to Jack Hawksworth’s AJ Foyt Racing entry and breaking his wing as Pagenaud attempted to pass the American racer back.
“I was dealing with traffic pretty much all the way through the race,” said the Frenchman. “It is so hard with this aerodynamic to pass people and I tell you (Conor) Daly was pretty fast. So you know it’s not like I was two seconds faster; you know we are talking about eight tenths of a second.
“And you know Graham, that was a really good piece of driving from him but it was a late pass and that is not a corner that you can pass. I went off and it made me really upset too. So I said I am going to pass him back and that’s what I did.”