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Pagenaud Wins Battle of Team Penske at Mid-Ohio

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, July 31 2016
Simon Pagenaud beat Team Penske teammate Will Power at Mid-Ohio on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

Simon Pagenaud beat Team Penske teammate Will Power at Mid-Ohio on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Simon Pagenaud bumped his way past Team Penske teammate and chief rival for  the 2016 IndyCar Series championship Will Power for second place with 23 laps to go, took the lead when bugindycarConor Daly pitted with six laps to go and pulled away for the win at Mid-Ohio on Sunday.

“Whooo,” Pagenaud said after getting out of his car, “that was a race there, huh? Wasn’t that fun?”

Power finished second, 5 seconds back. After he got out of his car, he headed to Victory Lane to meet up with Pagenaud. The were no angry words over the bumping, just congratulations.

“I said good job, you know?” Power said. “It was an interesting battle there. It was a good clean battle.”

Carlos Munoz of Andretti Autosport was third.

Rounding out the top five were Ohio native Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and James Hinchcliffe of Schmidt Peterson. Daly finished sixth.

Pagenaud, who picked up a point by winning the pole on Saturday, increased his lead over Power to 58 points with the victory.

The win was Pagenaud’s fourth of the season but his first in six races as Power won three
times during that period to put the pressure on in the points battle.

“Four wins,” the Frenchman said. “It’s good this year.”

The 90-lap race was anything but clean.

On Lap 16, contenders Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing and Helio Castroneves of Team Penske made contact. Dixon suffered huge front suspension damage and had to be taken to the paddock. Castroneves’ car was also damaged and had to pit, taking him out of a shot at the win.

On Lap 62, Schmidt Peterson Motorsport’s Mikhail Aleshin pitted under yellow with the lead. As he left his stall, however, Aleshin ran into Josef Newgarden of Ed Carpenter Racing. Gone was the Russian driver’s shot at victory.

Then there was a series of bumps between Pagenaud and Power as they jousted for second place behind leader Daly, who was going to have to make a final pit stop.

“I had a great battle with Will there at the end,” Pagenaud said. “I knew that was my chance. So, on that restart, it was time to go. It was a pretty interesting lap and it was fun driving like that. It reminded me of my sports car days around Mid-Ohio.  That’s racing. It was fair and clean and it was hard racing and I’m just glad I won, really.

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LEXINGTON, Ohio – Results Sunday of the The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 90, Running
2. (2) Will Power, Chevrolet, 90, Running
3. (15) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 90, Running
4. (6) Graham Rahal, Honda, 90, Running
5. (9) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 90, Running
6. (22) Conor Daly, Honda, 90, Running
7. (19) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 90, Running
8. (5) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 90, Running
9. (20) Takuma Sato, Honda, 90, Running
10. (3) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 90, Running
11. (8) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 90, Running
12. (14) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 90, Running
13. (21) Marco Andretti, Honda, 90, Running
14. (12) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 90, Running
15. (7) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 90, Running
16. (13) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 90, Running
17. (10) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 90, Running
18. (4) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 90, Running
19. (18) RC Enerson, Honda, 89, Running
20. (16) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 86, Off Course
21. (17) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 60, Contact
22. (11) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 27, Mechanical

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed:  110.853 mph
Time of Race: 01:49:59.6875
Margin of victory: 4.1620 seconds
Cautions: 2 for 10 laps
Lead changes: 7 among 5 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Pagenaud 1 – 16
Montoya 17 – 25
Aleshin 26 – 40
Pagenaud 41
Power 42 – 44
Aleshin 45 – 62
Daly 63 – 84
Pagenaud 85 – 90

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Pagenaud 484, Power 426, Castroneves 373, Newgarden 364, Dixon 357, Kanaan 357, Hinchcliffe 329, Munoz 328, Rahal 324, Kimball 318.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, July 31 2016
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