Simon Pagenaud won the 2016 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park

41BK8137Simon Pagenaud takes the twin checkers to win the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park — Photo by: Bret Kelley

Starting from Car 22 Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet won the 2016 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. 2nd Place Car 15 Graham Rahal, Honda, started from 6th place & fought to keep his position after losing his rear wing. 3rd Place Car 21 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, started from 3rd place.

04CJ3256The champagne flies in Victory Circle following the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park — Photo by: Chris Jones

4th Place Car 12 Will Power, Chevrolet, started from 2nd place followed by 5th place Car 2 Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, started from 21st place. 6th Place Car 5 James Hinchcliffe, Honda, started from 8th place followed by 7th place Car 3 Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, started from 7th place. 8th Place Car 10 Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, started from 9th place followed by 9th place Car 83 Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, started from 10th place. Lastly in the Top 10 was Car 9 Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, started from 4th place.

41BK5831AThe field takes evasive maneuvers during the aborted start of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park — Photo by: Bret Kelley

There was only 1 Caution for a No Start.

The race had 4 Lead changes 4 among 2 drivers: Lap Leaders: Pagenaud 1 – 19, Rahal 20 – 21, Pagenaud 22 – 81, Rahal 82 – 85, Pagenaud
86 – 90.

41BK5871Simon Pagenaud and Will Power lead the field to the green to start the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park — Photo by: Bret Kelley

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Pagenaud 188, Dixon 140, Montoya 136, Castroneves 118, Kanaan 106, Rahal 100, Power 94, Newgarden 91, Sato 90, Hunter-Reay 87.

04CJ5922James Hinchcliffe comes in for service on pit lane during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park — Photo by: Chris Jones

Car 22 Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet was dominate most of the race until Car 15 Graham Rahal, Hondaon made a pass on lap 82. Rahal was gaining on Pagenaud for many laps, then he took the lead but it was short lived as he had contact with traffic. It was great effort to hold 2nd place as the contact damaged his rear wing giving the lead back to Pagenaud.

04CJ6026Simon Pagenaud and Team Penske win the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park — Photo by: Chris Jones

Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Race quotes

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The Verizon Chevy was very good. We had a good car all weekend, but just in qualifying, our tires just didn’t come in. I don’t know what happened and we’ll go back and look at what went wrong there. We knew we had a fast car. It was fun and we made some good moves today. On the red tires, I ran them all day pretty much. They were wearing at the end a little bit, but we kept pushing it. At the start of the race, if you would have told me I would have finished fifth, I wouldn’t have believed it. I’m pretty happy where we finished and now we look ahead to Indy.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet): “We started on the black Firestone tires with the AAA Chevrolet and we stayed just inside the top 10 all day. We couldn’t seem to move forward, unfortunately. Strategy-wise, it was very tough to pass out there. I got held up by a group at one point, then we just started blistering tires. They were down to the cords at one point. So all of those details resulted in us finishing seventh. At least we collected points for the championship. Now, let’s move forward to Indianapolis.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It was a solid day. Being able to move up a couple spots was good. We struggled a little bit more than others with tire degradation, so it forced us to stop early a couple times, which meant we were saving fuel in those runs there. All in all, the No. 5 Arrow Electronics car was really quick, maybe just a little bit rough on tires, but it’s good two weekends in a row to come out with strong finishes and we’ll hopefully keep this momentum going into the month of May.”

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “Well, that’s what happens when someone doesn’t use their brain. The rest of the race was bad because I got hit in the back of the car at the start and then someone hit me on my front wheel. The car was completely unbalanced after that. Something was bent, so the job was done before it even started.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet): “We had a top-five car but made a bad call on the tires. We should have gone to reds but went to blacks when everyone else was on reds. We got passed by three cars and could never make it back. All in all, we had great stops. The NTT guys did a great job in the pits. It’s one of those things. It could have gone right for us but it was the wrong call this time.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team EUROPA Chevrolet): “Obviously not what we wanted today. I feel really sorry for Scott (Dixon). He was collateral damage in something that was not in any way his fault. I was fighting with Graham (Rahal), side-by-side with him, trying to hold position and Scott was probably trying to do the crossover on the inside in Turn 5 on someone. I was boxed in. Scott in front and Graham on the right, there was no escaping from there. It is my fault, so I have to apologize for that. It is a shame because the car had pace. I held the gap with Simon (Pagenaud) despite running into some traffic. I definitely had the car to contend at the front. I just couldn’t show it. I am very disappointed for the Europa – KVSH Racing guys. They worked really hard all weekend. This was a wasted opportunity, but there is nothing I can do about that now, so just move on and try not to make a mistake like that
again.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The Verizon Chevy boys worked really hard to keep us up in the forefront. We had a good car going into it. However, we had a slower pit stop on our last pit stop and that’s how we lost track position, from P2. Then on the last lap, we caught the train of cars and didn’t have enough time to make that back up, unfortunately. Passing is very hard here. It’s not the finish we hoped for, but, overall, I’m proud of the Verizon Chevy team and we’re excited to go back to Indy. We’ll definitely look for better results there.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “At the start it was ridiculous that (Carlos) Munoz punched (Mikhail) Aleshin before the green flag. I avoided them and gained a few positions but then on the restart, I lost all (of them) in Turn 2. There were lots of cars on the inside and a car had a moment. I avoided him, but then I had moment and dropped the left side in the dirt and went to the back of the queue. The ABC boys did a good job in the pits. Our strategy to pit early and attack worked because I was able to gain some positions. Then the mission was to save fuel and we did. We did everything we could.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda): “It’s just a racing incident. (Jack) Hawksworth was on the outside of (Turn) 5, and I thought he was going to stay out and he just caught me out. He was going to let us by, it was just the direction in which he was and Simon was very good in Turns 2 and 3. I know that I had to get a good run out of (Turn) 5. I was better than them in (Turn 5), and you know, all in all our front flap, the right front flap, broke on Lap 40. We were doing the whole race without the front wing as it should have been. So it was a tough battle to stay with those guys in the first place. So ultimately I am proud of those MiJack boys. They keep working hard and obviously had a great result for us. We should have won today. There is no doubt that we were better than (Pagenaud). Honda has done a heck of a job putting us in this position. We can race with these guys. We are getting close. We are going to keep working to make them proud. We aren’t giving up anytime soon, I can tell you hat.”

CONOR DALY (No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda): “The start was bad. It was just a massive stack up and the same thing that happened on the first start was about to happen on the second start if I didn’t just jump out of the way of the guys in front of me. We have to think about the way we start these races. I hate rolling starts. I think we should be doing standing starts on road courses. It was just tough from then on. It was a difficult race. It’s just a shame. Plus, it’s almost impossible to pass out there.
We made a few passes work but it doesn’t matter when you’re that far back.”

LUCA FILIPPI (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “The start was good. There was a bit of a mess in Turn 5. Everybody had to slow down quite a lot and I was on the inside. Somebody turned around on the outside, so everybody suddenly came closer to me, and I had a bit of damage on my front wing. It wasn’t big but we had to carry that for the entire race. The balance of the car was still good but we probably lost a bit of overall downforce and performance. The pack was so tight and the pace was the same for everybody so the strategies and pit stops became very important. I was quite happy with the balance of the car and I don’t think our pace was that bad. It’s just that it didn’t work out as I wanted it to. Unfortunately, every time I was leaving the pits on new tires, I always had someone in front of me so I never could make the strategy work as we wanted. It didn’t really turn our way.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “Pretty decent weekend for sure! You know, it’s great to go out with a great result in the Fuzzy’s car. We have the 100th Running bottle so everybody has been pretty excited about that. So I was really happy to get a good result for those guys. It is going to be a really fun month of May for sure. We have JR (Hildebrand) coming back on board
for the next race, for the Grand Prix and then we are all back together with Ed (Carpenter) for the 500. I think this is a great lead in for our team. Really proud to be a part of this group and everything that we are doing. We were good today. I think we were there, we just didn’t have enough for those first few guys. We will regroup and try to do a little bit better. We weren’t far off. So I am pretty proud of everyone.” (You got passed Will Power, that’s something to say and you did that last year, too): “Yeah I got him a couple times. I think I have his card right now and it’s going to be fun racing him all year. I can’t believe he let me do that twice to him. I got him in the beginning and then I thought he would learn and then I got him again. It got a little tighter on the second on but I got him again. So it was fun at least getting some racing in today. I can’t believe we went no yellows. I don’t know what’s going on just that everybody’s keeping their heads cool. A little bit of racing but obviously we would like to be a little higher
up.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish team Penske Chevrolet): “I tell you it is impressive. Thanks to everybody. 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.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): “We had to restart the race in the back (after the Lap 1 yellow). On the first start everyone started to pack up and brake. I couldn’t avoid hitting (Mikhail) Aleshin. They put us in the back of the grid, that didn’t help at all. After that the rest of the race had no yellows, and with no yellows it’s hard to move to the front or do any strategy, so it is what it is”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 hhgregg/Snapple Honda): “It was an extremely hard fought race – were just really struggling for grip as a team. We got a bit of track position on the start for the hhgregg/Snapple car, but that’s all we could do. We were just hanging on. We’ve had four well balanced race cars this year, just no grip to the front runners”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “That was a lot of hard work for P 11, I don’t even know what to say. With no yellows coming out- we needed at least one yellow for our strategy to work out. We had nothing, no help. We’re really looking for some luck this year at some point, hopefully we’re saving that up for Indy. We’ve had nothing, if not bad luck this year. The race running green just went against our strategy, we only picked up seven spots.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “We didn’t get a good start because (Mikhail) Aleshin got hit [by Carlos Munoz] and spun in front of us and I had to go off track to miss him. They sent all of us to the back. On the reds, the car had a lot of understeer. We went to blacks on the third stint, and it was OK and we saved a lot of fuel. We had to go to used blacks on the last stint and it wasn’t very good. I got hit by Aleshin at the end (lost four positions) and that was it.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda): “Yet another day where we could have used some yellows, but they didn’t come. It was already going to be difficult starting from 20th. Our pace on the alternate tire was not good, but I think the primary tire was decent – we need to understand why we lost out on that. Again it’s not a great team result but we brought the car home and we need to work really hard for the Angie’s List Grand Prix (of Indianapolis).”

04CJ2988Simon Pagenaud leads the field through the Turn 8-9 corkscrew during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park — Photo by: Chris Jones

Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Race Results

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Results Sunday of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.3-mile Barber Motorsports Park, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, car, driver, aero kit-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Car 22 Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 90, Running
2. (6) Car 15 Graham Rahal, Honda, 90, Running
3. (3) Car 21 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 90, Running
4. (2) Car 12 Will Power, Chevrolet, 90, Running
5. (21) Car 2 Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 90, Running
6. (8) Car 5 James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 90, Running
7. (7) Car 3 Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 90, Running
8. (9) Car 10 Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 90, Running
9. (10) Car 83 Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 90, Running
10. (4) Car 9 Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 90, Running
11. (18) Car 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 90, Running
12. (19) Car 27 Marco Andretti, Honda, 90, Running
13. (16) Car 14 Takuma Sato, Honda, 90, Running
14. (15) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 90, Running
15. (20) Car 26 Alexander Rossi, Honda, 90, Running
16. (5) Car 11 Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 89, Running
17. (13) Car 7 Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 89, Running
18. (12) Car 19 Luca Filippi, Honda, 89, Running
19. (14) Car 41 Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 89, Running
20. (17) Car 18 Conor Daly, Honda, 89, Running
21. (11) Car 8 Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 89, Running

Race Statistics:
Winners average speed: 114.254
Time of Race: 01:48:42.3334
Margin of victory: 13.7476
Cautions: 1 for 1 lap
Lead changes 4 among 2 drivers
Fastest Lap: 120.958 mph (68.4533 seconds) on Lap 66 by 9 – Scott Dixon.
Fastest Leader Lap: 119.449 mph (69.3180 seconds) on Lap 68 by 22 – Simon Pagenaud

Verizon P1 Award ($10,000): Simon Pagenaud (01:06.7262, 124.089 mph) Bonus Awards: Simon Pagenaud ($30,000), Graham Rahal ($20,000), Josef Newgarden ($15,000), Will Power ($11,000), Juan Pablo Montoya ($10,000), James Hinchcliffe ($9,000), Helio Castroneves ($8,000), Tony Kanaan ($6,000), Charlie Kimball ($5,000), Scott Dixon ($4,000), Ryan Hunter-Reay ($3,000), Marco Andretti ($2,000)

Next Race: May 14 Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Indianapolis, IN

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Graphics & Photos Courtesy of Indycar

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