Simon Pagenaud won the Verizon IndyCar Series 2016 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

04CJ4484Simon Pagenaud, Scott Dixon, and Helio Castroneves hoist their trophies in Victory Circle following the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach — Photo by: Chris Jones

Starting from 3rd place Car 22 Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, won the Verizon IndyCar Series 2016 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with a Margin of victory: 0.3032 of a second. 2nd Place Car 9 Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, started from 2nd place. 3rd Place Car 3 Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, started from pole.

04CJ4265ASimon Pagenaud comes in for service on pit lane during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach — Photo by: Chris Jones

4th Place Car 2 Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, started from 5th place followed by 5th place Car 14 Takuma Sato, Honda, started from 8th place. 6th Place Car 10 Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, started from 4th place followed by 7th place Car 12 Will Power, Chevrolet, started from 6th place. 8th Place Car 5 James Hinchcliffe, Honda, started from 7th place followed by 9th place Car 11 Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, started from 14th place. Lastly in the Top 10 was Car 21 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet in 10th place, started from 9th place.

04CJ4148AHelio Castroneves and Scott Dixon lead the field down the frontstretch during the parade laps prior to the start of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach — Photo by: Chris Jones

The race did not have 1 Caution but did have 6 Lead changes among 4 drivers. Lap Leaders: Castroneves 1 – 26, Dixon 27 – 28, Kimball 29 – 30, Castroneves 31 – 51, Pagenaud 52 – 54, Kimball 55, Pagenaud 56 – 80.

04CJ3860James Hinchcliffe leads pit lane during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach — Photo by: Chris Jones

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Pagenaud 134, Dixon 120, Montoya 106, Castroneves 92, Kanaan 82, Hunter-Reay 68, Power 62, Rahal 59, Kimball 58, Aleshin 57.

04CJ0203Simon Pagenaud celebrates in Victory Circle after winning the 2016 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach — Photo by: Chris Jones

Pagenaud wins closest Long Beach finish in race history

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 17, 2016) – Simon Pagenaud has knocked on the door of victory lane in each of the first two races of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Today at the 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Frenchman broke through to earn the win.Pagenaud, in the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet, edged reigning series champion Scott Dixon across the finish line by 0.3032 of a second, the closest finish in the 33 Indy car races held at Long Beach and the fastest ever with an average speed of 100.592 mph. It gave Pagenaud five career Verizon Indy Car Series wins and his first since joining Team Penske in 2015.

Pagenaud, who finished second in each of the first two races this season, takes a 14-point championship lead over Dixon into the next event, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 24 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

“This is my favorite street course,” said Pagenaud, a two-time winner in sports car races on the 1.968-mile temporary street course, but who took his first Indy car victory here today. “To win here, especially in INDYCAR, given the level of competition, is amazing. The PPG car is good luck on me. Every time I’m in that car, I’m on the podium.”

Starting the 80-lap race third, Pagenaud took his first lead on Lap 52 when teammate and pole sitter Helio Castroneves made his final pit stop. Pagenaud was able to push two laps farther before stopping for fuel and tires, exiting the pits just ahead of Dixon and Castroneves.

16C_0202-1 (1)Photo by: Chris Owens

INDYCAR race stewards warned Pagenaud for improper lane usage exiting the pits, but he was able to lead the final 25 laps to collect the win in the first Verizon IndyCar Series caution-free race since Mid-Ohio in August 2013 and the first completely green-flag race on the often-chaotic streets of Long Beach since 1989.

16C_9614-1Scott Dixon leads teammates Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball into Turn 9 during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach — Photo by: Chris Owens

Dixon, in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, believed Pagenaud should have been assessed a stronger penalty, but was resigned with the runner-up finish that kept him second in the standings. Pagenaud leads with 134 points after three of 16 races, Dixon has 120 and Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya is third with 106.

“It appeared that Simon turned a little early and crossed the line (exiting the pits) that you’re not meant to cross,” Dixon said. “But it is what it is, so second place today and Team Target did a hell of a job.”

04CJ0151Tony Kanaan comes in for service on pit lane during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach — Photo by: Chris Jones

Castroneves finished third in the No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet, leading a race-high 47 laps. Montoya finished fourth in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevy after a frenetic late-lap battle with Takuma Sato, who wound up fifth in the No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda.

Pagenaud finished 11th in last year’s standings, in his first season with Team Penske, with best finishes of third at Belle Isle-1 and Mid-Ohio. Despite going winless in 2015, he focused on the long-term plan.

“I knew it was coming because we’ve been so competitive since the beginning of the year,” Pagenaud said. “I knew I could win races.

It’s not my first win; I’ve been around. It was just a matter of when and it’s when we were going to put ourselves in that position.”

16C_1831-1The field streams through Turn 10 during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach — Photo by: Chris Owens

‘What They’re Saying’ from the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was actually pretty easy physically and it was not a problem at all. Track position was everything. We shorted our first run and I don’t understand their mentality there but I think we just made a mistake. I saved a ton of gas and then we short pitted and I still didn’t beat anyone. We didn’t gain anything and the second one we went all the way, as far as I could go and I think it was much better. We had one of the faster cars but track position is everything. I caught Helio (Castroneves) from like two seconds out, in like two laps and got there and there was nowhere to pass. It was tough. Our Verizon Chevy was good all day, so it’s a good points day.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet): “It was actually fine as long as we keep the rhythm and as long as we keep one rhythm. It’s only good in the beginning we were leading a lot of laps. A little bit of strategy. And we caught traffic and the guy decided to come in at the same time and that basically killed us and we ended up losing two spots. At the end of the day,
congrats to Simon, it is the first win for him and Team Penske. At least I’m glad that one of the Team Penske guys ended up getting this victory and let’s go for the next one.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It’s been a bittersweet day, really. It was nice to come away with a top 10 in the No. 5 Arrow Electronics car and we had a good first stint. We stayed out of trouble and kept up with the guys in front of us. On the first pit sequence, timing was bad: just as we had finished our stop and was about to be released, we had to hold for a bit because Munoz was entering his box. This ultimately cost us getting out and Takuma (Sato) was able to jump us in the stops. That’s really what differentiated us, he had that little bit better track position and stayed in front of the guys in the next round of stops to come away with a top five. I think we had his pace, definitely had more pace than the guys ahead of us right at the end. We just didn’t have the opportunity to get around them. When there are no cautions like this, it takes strategies out of the mix and unfortunately became a bit of a fuel saving race, which is never fun for us and not the best show for the fans. But we brought the car home, we were quick all weekend and hopefully we can take this momentum into Barber next week.”

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “We were gambling a bit on the strategy because we were towards the back of the field for the start of the race. We knew that the No. 7 SMP Racing car was one of the fastest cars on the track but our strategy just didn’t pay off. There were no yellow flags so that’s life. The good news is that we know we had a good pace and we were faster than most of the cars, so… next time.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was a really fun, exciting race. It could have gone two ways and it ended up not being too bad. In the start I struggled with constantly getting caught in traffic and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We had a really good strategy all race, especially the last stint when we did a full fuel stint when the others didn’t and ended up struggling a bit at the end. I was able to catch a couple of cars in the last five laps and then get past Rahal at the
finish line. It’s not the best result, but considering where we started I don’t think a 14th place finish is all that bad.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was definitely a pretty fierce battle up front, a bit of lapped traffic, some pit stop sequence, people trying to pit short, go longer, etc, so it was quite exciting for in and out (laps) and when to use your overtakes and things like that. I think on the last one we got caught off guard a little bit before the pit sequence had already been finished, and then to hear when we’re coming down the straight that the 22 was just coming out, we had actually backed off already and started saving fuel. With the gap that we had on Helio, I really didn’t think we had to worry about too much and didn’t get any warning from the pits. Obviously that scenario was a lot closer than we anticipated, and then when we got to Turn 1, it appeared that Simon turned a little early and crossed the line that you’re not meant to cross. But it is what it is, so second place today, and Team Target did a hell of a job, and pit stops were clean, and I think we had really good pace, but personally I think we should have won the race.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet): “NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing had a really quick car for today’s race. We struggled all weekend in practice to find setups that worked and then really came through in qualifying to get up toward the front for the race. The car was strong and I don’t think we made barely any changes during the race, but we just couldn’t make the passes we needed with
no yellows and everyone up front on a similar strategy. I’m not thrilled with a sixth-place finish, especially when I know how strong the car was but we’ll take a top-10 finish and build on what we have for Barber.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 California Baptist University-KVSH Chevrolet): “It was a tough day at the office. I am very proud of the California Baptist University – KVSH Racing crew…everything well done in the race. It is just a shame. Yesterday (qualifying) didn’t really put us in the position to contend any higher than we finished. The car was pretty good today. We made some big moves and passed six cars in total, moved up five positions. I am just proud of the guys. We just did a good job. There were no yellows (caution flags) and not many more opportunities to move higher than what we did. So, kind of disappointed that we finished ninth at Long Beach, but happy that we took ninth under the circumstances.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “We had that unfortunate pit stop. Sometimes it takes longer. I can’t complain. My Verizon Chevrolet crew is phenomenal. We qualified where we qualified and were able to get another top-10 finish. Congratulations to Simon (Pagenaud) and the No. 22 team. That’s a great win for him and Team Penske.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “We’re very pleased about today’s result. With no cautions we had to save fuel from Lap 2 which was a tough game. But we kept cool and it was just a matter of who could do the best job. When I needed to, I pushed like hell. Passing Tony Kanaan and challenging Juan Pablo Montoya for fourth, that was a thrill. The team did a fantastic job in the pits and got me out so I could push so hard. The car worked great so we’re very pleased.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 PennGrade Motor Oil Honda): “I think we just made some mistakes today overall and put ourselves in a bit of a bind. With our strategy, we really needed a yellow but it’s what we needed to do to try to make up some ground after starting 17th and we did there for a while. We coasted across the finish line with no fuel and barely made it. It kind of stunk for me today because I had a great car, I just couldn’t do anything.. I’m proud of the PennGrade boys because they worked hard this weekend. I put them in a hole yesterday. And once again the stops were great.”

CONOR DALY (No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda): “We made the right calls today, we did what we could do. I felt like I passed a lot of cars. I got by (Ryan) Hunter-Reay, (Carlos) Munoz and a couple other guys. It really felt like I was making progress but everyone just kind of sorted themselves out. I’m really surprised it went green all the way. That was my first full green Verizon IndyCar Series race so that was tough. When I lost a spot to (Charlie) Kimball, the rear came all the way around in Turn 8 and I was just drifting towards the wall thinking here it goes but I saved it. We have to come out of it with the fact that we’re the highest finishing rookie and, overall, I think we did a great job.”

LUCA FILIPPI (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “I had a good start, side-by-side with Munoz. He gave me enough space and we went around Turn 1 and everything was fine until then. Eventually something happened in front of him and had to avoid somebody and he turned suddenly to the left and hit my wing. From there my front wing was broken and we chose to wait before changing it because I
was able to continue and we didn’t want to lose too much time in the pits with an extra stop. It was difficult though because we lost about 10 percent of our aero balance and downforce so I was limited by the car’s aerodynamics. It’s a shame because after a while, nothing was happening in terms of yellow flags so we decided to change the wing for the last stint and we had the fifth fastest lap of the race and we had a strong pace at the end. It could have been a different race. It’s a bit of a shame, normally with this kind of racing you can have a problem and with other things happening in the race you are able to recover and come back and still have a chance but it wasn’t like that today. Next time will be better.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “Well, not the weekend we wanted! But, it’s always good if you get a Top 10, so points wise, not the worst weekend. Also, not the best weekend! With the way the race shook out, qualifying probably hurt us more than anything today. No yellows and tough to pass, but the race car was dynamite. The whole Fuzzy’s Vodka crew has been working their
tails off and we had no real missteps this weekend. We had a little bobble there on the last pit stop, but we’ve got some of the best guys in the paddock. It’s going to come down to just qualifying better and running away with the thing, so next weekend that’s what we’ll try and do at Barber!”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet): “It is pretty cool. I tell you this is my favorite street course, like I said before the event. So winning here, especially in INDYCAR with the level of competition so high, it is amazing. That PPG car is good luck on me. Every time I have been in that car I have been on the podium. It’s awesome, glad to represent those
guys and Chevrolet. They gave me a hell of a piece of equipment. And it’s my first win with Roger, so ‘check.'”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): “A really disappointing race. I ran the whole race with a broken wing, that didn’t help. It’s kind of weird, we saw some cars that we didn’t think we’re going to make it through the last lap on fuel, but they did. I on’t know what we’re doing. We’ll have to have a look at our car. I am a bit disappointed in 12th, we will see where we’ll go. I don’t know what to think about Barber (Motorsports Park), but here we were not strong at all.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 United Fiber & Data/Snapple Honda): “The stuck throttle sensor really ruined the day for us. I came up to the green (flag) and I had no power, the car just shut down and that was that. From there we were never able to gain enough ground to get back in the mix. The guys did a good job in the pits, the car had good pace but the day was too far gone.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We really missed it this weekend – in a big way. We have a ride compliance issue where we just don’t have enough grip. In the race I found myself just racing myself; just trying to keep the car off the wall, that was the main exercise all day. Barber is a nice, smooth road course and we had a good test there so hopefully next week will look better for the
DHL team.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet): “I feel like the No. 83 Tresiba® Chevrolet recovered really well. Everyone on Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing was disappointed with qualifying yesterday but we rolled the dice on strategy today and we were really hoping for a yellow at some point to make the strategy a little healthier. I can’t say I’m happy with an 11th place finish, but I know we were fast enough to be in the top five and it’s a good recovery after our qualifying yesterday. We’ll carry this momentum
into Barber on Friday and Saturday to try to qualify up front and ultimately race up front on Sunday, especially after proving that once we’re racing strong we can stay strong.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda): “Super frustrating. The result for all of us (Andretti Autosport) was not good and we need to work hard the next couple days prior to Barber. On my side, I think we were much more competitive than we were in St. Pete. Unfortunately, we had a stall on the second stop and the car wouldn’t re-fire so that kind of ruined our race. I think compared to the other cars we were much more competitive on the No. 98 side, but still we’re missing something as a group that we need to find out as soon as possible.”

INDYCAR statement on Pagenaud penalty

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 17, 2016) — Simon Pagenaud’s actions during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach were deemed an infraction per Rule “Lane Usage” of the INDYCAR Penalty Guidelines: Failing to follow designated procedures entering or exiting the pit area, including the proper use of the acceleration and deceleration lanes. The penalty for this infraction ranges from a warning (minimum), putting the driver to the back of the field (mid) and drive-through or stop and go/hold (maximum). INDYCAR race stewards determined his actions were not severe enough to warrant a harsher penalty than the warning that was issued.

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Results Sunday of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 1.968-mile Streets of Long Beach circuit, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, car, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (3) Car 22 Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 80, Running
2. (2) Car 9 Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 80, Running
3. (1) Car 3 Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 80, Running
4. (5) Car 2 Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 80, Running
5. (8) Car 14 Takuma Sato, Honda, 80, Running
6. (4) Car 10 Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 80, Running
7. (6) Car 12 Will Power, Chevrolet, 80, Running
8. (7) Car 5 James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 80, Running
9. (14) Car 11 Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 80, Running
10. (9) Car 21 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 80, Running
11. (15) Car 83 Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 80, Running
12. (10) Car 26 Carlos Munoz, Honda, 80, Running
13. (13) Car 18 Conor Daly, Honda, 80, Running
14. (19) Car 8 Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 80, Running
15. (17) Car 15 Graham Rahal, Honda, 80, Running
16. (18) Car 7 Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 80, Running
17. (12) Car 19 Luca Filippi, Honda, 80, Running
18. (11) Car 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 80, Running
19. (21) Car 27 Marco Andretti, Honda, 79, Running
20. (16) Car 98 Alexander Rossi, Honda, 79, Running
21. (20) Car 41 Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 77, Running

Time of Race: 01:33:54.4835 Avg Speed: 100.592 mph Margin of Victory: 0.3032 of a second Lead Changes: 6 Caution Laps: 0 Fastest Lap: 104.702 mph (67.6661 seconds) on Lap 8 by 83 – Charlie Kimball. Fastest Leader Lap: 102.881 mph (68.8640 seconds) on Lap 53 by 22 – Simon Pagenaud. Verizon P1 Award ($10,000): Helio Castroneves (01:07.1246, 105.547 mph). Bonus Awards: Simon Pagenaud ($30,000),
Scott Dixon ($20,000), Helio Castroneves ($15,000), Juan Pablo Montoya ($11,000), Takuma Sato ($10,000), Tony Kanaan ($9,000), Will Power ($8,000), James Hinchcliffe ($6,000), Sebastien Bourdais ($5,000), Josef Newgarden ($4,000), Charlie Kimball ($3,000), Carlos Munoz ($2,000).

Race Statistics
Winners average speed: 100.592
Time of Race: 1:33:54.4835
Margin of victory: 0.3032 of a second
Cautions: 0
Lead changes: 6 among 4 drivers

Next Race: The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 24


Graphics & Photos Courtesy of Indycar

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.