Simon Pagenaud scored a hard-fought runner-up finish in the 248-lap/357.12-mile DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). Behind the wheel of the No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet, the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series (VICS) champion scored his first podium of the season and his first at TMS.
Starting second, Pagenaud battled through the scorching heat that plagued the event all weekend that resulted in greater tire wear. He was credited for leading twice for 26 laps, and jumps to eighth in the standings with eight races remaining in the 2018 season.
Charlie Kimball, No. 23 Tresiba Carlin Chevrolet, scored his third top-10 of the year after starting in 12th position.
Defending VICS champion Josef Newgarden started on the pole and was credited with leading once for 59 laps, but had to pit for a vibration that relegated him to the 13th finishing position, four laps down to the leader. After nine races, the driver of the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet sits fifth in the standings.
Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power, started third and ran in the top-five throughout the majority of the race until on-track contact with another competitor ended his night in 18th position. Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, now sits third in points as the Series looks forward to a weekend off.
Other Team Chevy drivers finished as follows:
Spencer Pigot 11th
Max Chilton 12th
Gabby Chaves 15th
Ed Carpenter 20th
Tony Kanaan 21st
Matheus Leist 22nd
Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi (both Honda) completed tHE podium.
Up next for Team Chevy in the Verizon IndyCar Series will be Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on June 24, 2018.
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 DXC TECHNOLOGY TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 2ND: ON RACE BATTLE WITH ROSSI: “They gave me some grey hair at the end. It was awesome. It was a great showing for DXC Technology, obviously, and I had a blast. It was very difficult racing, and Rossi kept me on my toes at the end and I had to try everything to break the draft. He was getting monster runs out of Turn 3 and 4 but we had good handling and we were able to hold him off. I was trying to break the draft on the exit of Turn 2 and it worked out for the last 10 laps. I’m super proud of my guys in the pits. They did a great job today. And the whole No. 22 team was on it this weekend. So, it’s nice to get a good second place. We want to win, obviously, but it was a good showing.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 23 TRESIBA CARLIN CHEVROLET, FINISHED 10TH: “Tonight was tough, with the tires degrading and the car sliding around more and more as the stint went on. The nice thing about the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet, actually both Carlin cars, is that they were stable all race. I was confident in what the car was going to be able to do. That really comes down to the preparation that the team has put into making sure that every time I roll out of pit lane they’ve given me the absolute best car that they can. It feels like these top-10 finishes are starting to be a habit and we’ll just keep moving forward from here.”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 11TH: “It was a tough race. Throughout the stints, the balance was changing quite a lot so I had to try and stay on top of that. At the end of the day, we were missing a little bit but we hung in there. The guys did a great job with strategy and in the pits to keep us in the fight and finishing 11th was probably better than we expected at the beginning of the race! Overall, I’m just happy to get through it and I learned a lot tonight.”
MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN CHEVROLET, FINISHED 12TH : “It was a long day in the office. Sometimes this race feels as challenging as Indy. We knew coming into this race it was going to have its curve balls. I felt like we handled everything thrown our way tonight pretty well. Our tires lasted longer than most people – I think we might’ve done one of the longest stints. I struggled with ultimate lap pace, but from midway onward we had pretty good speed. It was more to do with just strategy at that point. We were three laps down and we were able to get ourselves to one lap down. We had some good pit stops and we had a couple of good overtakes. We’ll take P12 for sure for the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet, especially considering where we started. We’ll have a nice midseason break here next week and we’ll come back stronger in Road America.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 1 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 13TH: “You know, pretty much anything bad that could have happen happened tonight for the No. 1 Verizon team. Everyone worked real hard and the guys gave me a great car. Everyone did everything they could tonight. It was a great effort from my team. Pretty much, anything that could have went wrong went wrong tonight. That is all there is to it. We will move on to Road America.”
GABBY CHAVES, NO. 88 HARDING GROUP HARDING RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 15TH: “It was a bit of a long night. We felt pretty good about the car during the last session on Friday night. So we came into the race thinking that we’d be in pretty good shape. We did a small tweak which I think threw the balance over the edge and because of that we really struggled for the first stint. The car was really loose, so it became pretty hard to drive and keep pace on a track like this. We tried to do the best we could and made some good changes that gave us good pace after that, but unfortunately we were already already so many laps down that it’s impossible to get back into the race. Proud of our guys for powering through today, onto Road America!”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 18TH: “The guys in front of me were saving a lot of fuel and completely lifting to try and make it and someone went around on the outside. Unfortunately, the timing stand was talking to me at that exact moment and I couldn’t hear my spotter call outside and there was someone outside at that point. It’s just a bad situation, but something that happens at a track like this. It was not the guy on the outside’s fault. I didn’t know he was out there at that point. We were lifting so much trying to save fuel and he go outside me. It was just a bad deal, but we will move on to Road America.“
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 20th: Sidelined in crash on Lap 173 “It was a mistake. I knew Robby (Robert Wickens) was coming. I thought I could close the door, but it was a big mistake on my part. He was a lead lap car. We were having a bad day; so, my apologies to him. I know it doesn’t mean much now. I feel bad for those guys. I feel bad for my guys. The night certainly didn’t need to end like this. It’s a mistake on me, and I’ll have to come back and get ‘em in Iowa.”
AS GOOD AS YOU WERE IN INDY, WAS IT THAT HARD AND THAT BAD TONIGHT?
“We just didn’t have it this weekend. We just could never get the balance right where it needed to be. That last stint, thought it was going to be a little bit better with the adjustment we made, but we never quite had it this weekend. And, then I made it worse by making a mistake like that.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 14 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 21ST: Sidelined by contact: “I don’t know what happened. We definitely had a little issue with the rear of the car and it cost us the race. But it was a great weekend up until now, we qualified sixth. You know when you’re 12 laps down, it’s not worth it to put yourself out there. We’re not going to gain anything so we decided to stop. We’ll bounce back.”
MATHEUS LEIST, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 22ND: Sidelined by mechanical issues:“We were having a solid start I think and then I just lost power in Turn 1. I told the team “No power. No power.” And then suddenly I just saw flames coming up from the engine cover. We don’t know what happened. The only thing is that it is a pity for the team. I feel for the team not just for myself. I think we had a great car here and we could have done a great race here. It is what it is. It happens sometimes. Looking forward to the next one now.”
INDYCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
SATURDAY JUNE 9, 2018
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the second–place finisher of tonight’s DXC Technology 600. Simon Pagenaud, driving the No. 22 DXC Technology Chevrolet for Team Penske
Simon, we’ll start with you. Your best finish of the season so far. What a great place to do it with your DXC Technology partner, also the primary sponsor here. Take us through your night and ultimately how you were able to stay where you actually qualified all night long for the most part.
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, it was a good night. We started really strong, really loved the car to start in the heat. As the temperature dropped, it got a little bit more difficult for us. We adjusted the car the wrong way as the temperature dropped. Got pretty loose for us midway through.
It was a pretty fast-paced race as well, quite physical. Yeah, I mean, I was just trying to manage the balance. It was quite fun actually. We had to keep up with the tires, keep up with the balance of the car throughout the stints, and also relay to the pit what you needed for the next one.
It was fun. I mean, I had a lot of good battles, especially with Alexander at the end. Gave me some gray hair, the last 30 laps. But we managed to hold him off. That was really cool.
Just to get a good result like this for us, I think the 22 team needed a break. I think we got one tonight. For DXC, it’s pretty awesome. We had about three thousand employees from DXC tonight, so it was good to have a good showing.
THE MODERATOR: Joined also by Alexander Rossi, his fifth podium of the season thus far.
THE MODERATOR: It seems not a lot of drivers and teams really understood or could predict what was going to happen in tonight’s race. There seemed to be a lot of unknowns, maybe more so than usual. What do you think attributed to that?
SIMON PAGENAUD: I think it’s the new aero package we have. It’s always complicated to guess how the racing is going to be just because the temperature for an aero car like the IndyCars is very key to grip basically. We are like planes. The thicker the air, the best grip we have. It’s just very difficult to simulate a race when you come and test three months before.
Quite frankly, that’s the reason. I feel like the racing is always better than what we expect, especially tonight. I thought racing was good. There was quite a bit of passes.
The interesting parts were the pit sequence, a lot of good passes on new tires. To me, that was good racing. It was obviously difficult to make it work. It’s not supposed to be easy.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll open it up for questions.
Q. How much did the altered pit delta, because of 60 miles an hour limit down the back straight, how much did that affect your strategy?
SIMON PAGENAUD: For us, it didn’t affect anything. Just have to adapt to whatever the rules are. I thought it was a good call because, quite frankly, if someone spins there, you know, we don’t have much room to exit. With less downforce, it was a lot more difficult this year.
The biggest thing is you don’t really want to put drivers at risk with somebody spinning out of the pit lane, like Zanardi had. That was an horrific accident. If you can avoid that, still make it safe into turn three, it’s a win-win situation.
I think IndyCar made the right call. I don’t think it affected the racing at all. Obviously when you pitted, you were at risk if you pitted early. The goal was to go as long as possible. But didn’t really affect us in any ways.
Q. Talk a little bit more about the blistering, Simon, it seemed like you had it much worse. How much could you feel it? It dictated your race but didn’t ruin it.
SIMON PAGENAUD: It didn’t dictate my race at all because I didn’t know I had blisters. Penske shocks are doing a great job.
I’ll tell you what. The biggest thing before the race I asked my racing engineer and I asked (indiscernible) at Firestone, Is it safe? She said, Absolutely. When the tire manufacturer tells you you’re going to have blisters but it’s safe, you feel more confident going into the race. It’s amazing a tire manufacturer can have that kind of confidence.
Again, my hat off to them for being able to race on these speeds here, such a demanding track for the tire, but they did a great job.
The handling changes a little bit, but I couldn’t feel it for the wheel or the car, so no problem for me.
Q. Simon, since we’ve gone to the DW12 package in 2012, it seems like TMS has been a moving target for IndyCar. After tonight, how would you rate the package that we had tonight?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Well, it’s difficult to race it because I know that the fans expect something different than what the race is like. From a driver standpoint, I love it. I think I have to work more on my car to find a way to pass people. I think it’s possible.
We passed a lot of cars. It was a different kind of racing than what you’ve seen last year. I felt safe. I felt like I was really driving the car, really taking care of my tires, like I said. I had to think about what I needed. To me, that’s racing. To me, that’s the quality of being a racecar driver.
I don’t know about the show because I got to watch the race. But to me it was pretty active. It felt pretty good. I’m not IndyCar, I don’t decide anything. It is what it is. You get what you get.
Q. Simon, this run has to feel really good considering the championship picture as you start to look at the rest of the season.
SIMON PAGENAUD: I guess much better finish. I tell you what, a much better finish here than Detroit. That’s for sure.
It’s never over anyways. We saw the last year, Newgarden really started his momentum mid-season, went on and won the championship. I did the same last year really. I started really doing good job in Toronto.
This year’s been a tough start. There were a lot of unknowns. Got taken out a few times, which hasn’t happened in the past. It’s not all unknown, not easy to understand. From then on, luck always turns around. It goes by cycle.
Now it’s about executing. Myself, everybody on the team, really executed well today. It’s a good example of what we need to do every weekend.
It’s racing. Well all go through ups and downs. It doesn’t mean you’re losing talent. Momentum is what keeps you going.
Q. Simon, Alex was nipping at your heels kind of like Norman. How did you hold him off?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Felt just like playing ball with Norman (laughter). It was a tough.
SIMON PAGENAUD: You made me run for sure. I guess it’s the other way (laughter).
I knew he was really strong off four. I knew he was getting really good restarts also. The way the Honda restarts, really strong, I knew I had to cover the inside. I knew I wouldn’t have a chance on the outside. I tried earlier, it didn’t really work.
My car was working really well on the shadow line. That helped me out. I got aggressive with the (indiscernible) to hold him off because he was super fast behind. I tried to do everything to break the draft Helio style. He taught me a lot on that. Best I could do really. Yeah, I think Dixon was really strong tonight, so congratulations to him.
THE MODERATOR: Simon, Alex, thank you very much.
SIMON PAGENAUD: Thanks.
Team Chevy PR/Photo Credit Robert Laberge/Getty Images