Simon Pagenaud moved into contention for the 2013 Indycar title after taking victory in a drama-filled Grand Prix of Baltimore.
The Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports driver earned his second Indycar Series victory by outlasting Josef Newgarden and what was left of the 24-car field in the 75-lap race.
Sebastien Bourdais was three seconds further down the road in third ahead of Justin Wilson and Simona de Silvestro who rounded out the top five.
There were six full-course cautions, with almost every car sustaining some damage and for the second time in as many races polesitter Scott Dixon and Will Power made contact.
On the lap 53 restart Power appeared to swipe across the track, collecting Dixon who was sent into the wall and into retirement.
Dixon had already made contact with Graham Rahal sending him into a spin five laps earlier. Power trundled home in 18th position.
“Rahal takes me out, doesn’t seem like there’s any penalty, and then the 12 [Power] just slams us into the wall,” a frustrated Dixon told NBCSN.
“Man, it’s been a rough couple of weeks…I don’t know what [Power] was thinking. I was clearly alongside and he went straight into me.”
Upon seeing a replay of the incident after the race, Power admitted he should have looked in his mirror.
“I was just looking at Bourdais’ back,” Power told NBCSN. “I got a good run on him, I was gonna get on his inside and Dixon obviously had the same run on me.
“I just feel bad about it. Had I looked in my mirror – I don’t know, I just didn’t even think to look in my mirror…I just feel bad for him. I know he’s in the championship hunt. Man, it was just a bad thing to have happen.”
As a result of Dixon’s retirement, the New Zealander is now 49 points behind championship leader Helio Castroneves, who came home in ninth. Pagenaud is now third in the standings following the victory.
Aside from a number of collisions which interrupted the race, Pagenaud, who had managed to escape the carnage behind him eventually took the lead from Marco Andretti with seven laps remaining.
As Andretti’s charge faded, Newgarden took over second spot and began to hunt down the Frenchman and he cut the lead to nine tenths of a second.
Tyre wear then became a factor and this allowed Pagenaud to sprint home to take the chequered flag.
“The car was fantastic,” Pagenaud said. “We got very lucky on the restarts; we didn’t get collected. I pushed hard on the last restart against Marco (Andretti) and TK (Tony Kanaan). Awesome job for the HP team. They’ve been awesome this weekend and I guess it’s good for the championship.”
Reigning champion Ryan Hunter-Reay endured a miserable afternoon as an anti-stall problem sent him to the rear of the field on the opening lap before electrical failure ended his day.
The Indycar series continues with the Grand Prix of Houston on October 5.
See full result below
|1||Simon Pagenaud||Dallara/Honda||75||2h 16:32.3443|
|5||Simona de Silvestro||Dallara/Chevrolet||75||11.6017|
|11||Tristan Vautier||Dallara/Honda||74||1 Lap|
|12||Oriol Servià||Dallara/Chevrolet||74||1 Lap|
|13||Ernesto Viso||Dallara/Chevrolet||74||1 Lap|
|14||Ed Carpenter||Dallara/Chevrolet||74||1 Lap|
|16||Stefan Wilson||Dallara/Honda||72||3 Laps|
|18||Will Power||Dallara/Chevrolet||67||8 Laps|