Simon Pagenaud: “We want to show is we are strong on ovals”

Simon Pagenaud - Credit: Chris Jones / IndyCar

Simon Pagenaud was delighted to secure Team Penske’s 500th pole position in their history across all disciplines by taking the top spot in qualifying for the Iowa Corn 300 on Saturday.

“It is great to show so much strength,” said Pagenaud. “I’m the lucky one who got to win the 500th pole for Team Penske; a Frenchman and on an oval. That’s pretty cool isn’t it? 500 [poles for Penske Racing]- how cool is that?”

The Frenchman set a two-lap average of 185.855mph to take his fifth pole position of the season, and only the second ever around an oval, but knows that the important part of the weekend comes on Sunday.

Pagenaud praise the Penske team and engine and aerokit suppliers Chevrolet for providing him with a strong car around the Iowa Speedway, and is looking to prove that he can show strong form on ovals as well as the road and street courses as he aims to take the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series title.

“It is just qualifying and we still have a lot of work to do this weekend but it certainly is a great stamp on the work the No. 22 team has been doing, as well as the whole Penske organization,” said Pagenaud.

“We work, all four of us together, with Helio (Castroneves), Juan (Pablo Montoya) and Will (Power) makes it really nice to go to work in the morning. We manage to make the car better together and it shows on the race track.

“Super proud of everyone with the Menards team. It is fantastic to accomplish success this year. But again, this is qualifying and the big prize is tomorrow when the points come.

“It is such a gamble for the engineers in this situation. You only get two laps. Conditions from this morning to the afternoon changed. It is fun. When you get the car right like this on an oval.

“This Menards car is beautiful. It has been super close all weekend. Super proud of the No. 22 team. Chevy has been incredible giving us so much power and such a good aero kit it’s been comfortable and a lot more to my driving style. The biggest statement we want to show is we are strong on ovals as well and want to win.”