Simon Pagenaud

Simon Pagenaud and Trophy

Simon Pagenaud and Trophy

Simon Pagenaud and Trophy

Sam Schmidt
Sam Schmidt

SIMON PAGENAUD/No.77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda won the inaugural Verizon IndyCar Grand Prix of Indianapolis Saturday at The Brickyard. It was his third IndyCar victory and the second time a Frenchman won at Indianapolis. The trophy weighed 65 pounds.

The race certainly was full of excitement and drama. His team is owned by SAM SCHMIDT. Pagenaud said “It was exciting, nerve wracking. It’s pretty cool, awesome! But here by the pagoda, it’s incredible. And my dad never comes to races. He’s here.”

Helio Castroneves
Helio Castroneves
Ryan Hunter-Reay
Ryan Hunter-Reay

Coming in second was RYAN HUNTER-REAY/No.28 Andretti Autosport Honda, 0.8906 seconds back, with third going to HELIO CASTRONEVES/No.3 Team Penske Chevrolet – Happy Birthday, Helio!

Fourth and fifth were SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS/No.11 KVSH Racing Chevrolet and CHARLIE KIMBALL/No.83, who came from twenty-third place at the back.

Despite all the contacts, the only injury was sustained by JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, who pulled off at Turn Seven on Lap 56 after an on-track incident. He was evaluated and released from Methodist Hospital, after having C Scans of his head and neck. Hinchcliffe was diagnosed with a concussion and will need to be reevaluated by DR. HENRY OLINGER, IndyCar Medical Services Director and medical consultants before being cleared to drive. Hinch said “I want to thank all the fans for their messages of concern and support. I’m a little stiff and sore and I’d love to be back in the car tomorrow, but I suppose I should probably let the doctors make that decision. Such a bummer for the UFD car when things were really starting to come together.”

Mikhail Aleshin's No.7 Honda

Sebastian Saavedra's No.17 Chevrolet
Sebastian Saavedra’s No.17 Chevrolet

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA/No.17 AFS KV Racing Chevrolet stalled on the grid and while the majority of the field got past him one way or another, last place driver, Russian Rookie MIKHAIL ALESHIN/No.7 SMP Racing Honda plowed into him, ending their race. Both drivers walked to their pits.

Carlos Munoz

CARLOS MUNOZ/No.34 Andretti Autosport Honda. gridded nineteenth, couldn’t avoid the accidents fast enough and was one of the casualties, adding to the retired list.

No.20 and Ed Carpenter
No.20 and Ed Carpenter

MIKE CONWAY/No.20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet was also caught up in the melee. His car sustained severe injuries to uprights and struts, etc. Conway took it back to the garage to fix up repairs. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA/No.2 Team Penske Chevrolet suffered front wing damage and pitted early. He resumed but retired on Lap 58, mechanical.

Bourdais voiced it, after the fact – “It turned out to be a crash fest. We’re better than that.”

When the dust settled, RYAN HUNTER-REAY/No.28 Andretti Autosport Honda was in the lead under the caution laps. On the restart, JACK HAWKSWORTH/No.98 BHA/BBM with Curb Agajanian got by RHR. The drivers went hard for it after the original restart, sometimes three wide in the corners, and jumping kerbs.

FRANCK MONTAGNY/No.26 Andretti Autosport Honda got a drive-through penalty for jumping that restart. However his troubles ended up worst, as he was on the receiving end of MARTIN PLOWMAN/No.41 AJ Foyt Enterprises Honda went airborne over his right rear. Plowman grassed it, and was able to continue. Montagny was not, and the team now evaluating if car can be repaired in time for NASCAR Sprint Cup driver, KURT BUSCH, to drive it Sunday in the first day of Indy 500 practice.

Other penalties included RYAN BRISCOE/No.8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet with a drive-through for pit safety violation-driving over air hose; WILL POWER/No.13 Team Penske Chevrolet drive-through for pit safety violation-air hose; JUAN PABLO MONTOYA/No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet black-flagged for jumping a restart (and hitting GRAHAM RAHAL/No.15 RLL Racing Honda.)

Rahal said he “was drilled” by JPM – who was a lap down – causing Rahal to hit the wall and retire a very bitter twentieth. More agony for team owner, BOBBY RAHAL. His other driver, ORIOL SERVIA/No.16 pitted from the lead, and then stalled in the pit lane and had to be push started. It dropped him to twelfth at the end.

There were twelve lead changes among seven drivers. Pagenaud led twice for six laps. Hawksworth led the most laps, twice for 31 of the 82-lap race.

SCOTT DIXON/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet turned the fastest race lap of 70.4062/124.711 mph.

There were four cautions for 19 laps, all for contacts.

The unofficial standings: Power 149, Hunter-Reay 148, Pagenaud 143, Castroneves 102, Dixon 102, Conway 93, Marco Andretti 89, Wison 87, Tony Kanaan 82, and Bourdais 80.

The weather was moderate, in the mid-seventies. Blue skies, scattered puffy white clouds and a mild breeze made for ideal spectating. The crowd shots were somewhat deceptive. There were lots of fans on the new, popular spectator mounds and high up in the open grandstands, out of view for the TV cameras. Several grandstands were closed. It was hoped for a crowd of 40,000.

Many of the drivers will have separate cars for the Indy 500, but not all. So who goes out Sunday may depend on who has enough parts and time to repair the car-nage.

In the meantime, the busy IMS crew is hard at it converting the road course over to the oval – a fifteen hour job at least.

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GP of Indianapolis Trophy