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Pagenaud Wins Wild One At Barber

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, April 24 2016
Simon Pagenaud celebrates his victory Sunday in the IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

Simon Pagenaud celebrates his victory Sunday in the IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

RacinToday.com

Simon Pagenaud survived a late-race shunt with Graham Rahal, passed the damaged car of Rahal with five laps later and went on to win Sunday’s IndyCar Series race at Alabama’s Barber Motorsports Park.

The victory was the second straight for the Team Penske driver and allowed him to pad his points lead.

“That’s not a corner you can pass on,” Pagenaud said when showed the replay of Rahal clipping and sending his car off track, and taking the lead for the first time with nine laps to go. “Anyway, I won the race so I won’t way anything” about the ethics of Rahal’s pass.

Rahal finished second while Joeseph Newgarden of Ed Carpenter Racing claimed the final podium position.

Team Penske’s Will Power was fourth and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who started at the rear of the field, was fifth.

“The Verizon Chevy was very good,” Montoya said. “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.”

Pagenaud started from the pole, led the entire race and appeared headed to his second straight series win when, with nine laps to go, he was clipped and forced off the track by Rahal.

Rahal said the shunt was the result of a block.

Race stewards reviewed the incident but rule no action would be taken.

A couple laps later, with Pagenaud trying to pass to get the lead back, Rahal clipped the lapped car of Jack Hawksworth and the front wing of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda broke off and flew into the air.

“Hawksworth was on the outside of (Turn) 5 and so I thought he was going to stay out and then he came back across and I just caught him,” Rahal, who started sixth, said.

“We should have won today. There was no doubt we were better than him”

Pagenaud quickly capitalized and passed the crippled Rahal car and got the win –  the sixth of his career win.

“As soon as I saw he was struggling,” Pagenaud said of the winning pass, “I just took my chance.”

(This story will be updated shortly)

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, April 24 2016
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