Simon Pagenaud admitted to being disappointed with what unfolded towards the end of the first Verizon IndyCar Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park since 2003 after Josef Newgarden forced his way passed for the lead.
The two Team Penske team-mates banged wheels heading into turn one on lap 218, with Pagenaud losing momentum as a result, which not only cost him the race lead but also fell behind Scott Dixon and into third, a position he would remain until the chequered flag.
“We had a great race with the Menards Chevrolet,” said Pagenaud. “All of the adjustments left us with a great car at the end. When we needed to come up with a great pit stop, we did. Those guys really are the best. They always come through when they have to.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t work out there at the end. I can’t say that I’m overly pleased, but that’s racing. We still have the championship out there, so we’ll get ready for Watkins Glen.”
When asked whether Newgarden deserved a penalty for the incident, Pagenaud felt that he didn’t, but the respect between the drivers should have meant the American made a much safer attack for the lead.
“No, because there’s no crash,” added Pagenaud on IndyCar.com. “It’s more … a driver rule. It’s how much you respect each other when you think the gap is open enough to risk it on an oval.
“I’m not talking road course. I think on a road course, that was a beautiful pass, but we’re not on a road course. There, we are going 40, 50 miles an hour (in a tight corner). Here, we’re doing 190. … It’s a completely different story.
“Obviously, I wanted to win. We all want to win. Sometimes, you know, it is what it is.”