LEEDS, Ala., Sunday, April 1, 2012 – One is a lonely number. But Simon Pagenaud will tell you he is just fine being the one and only driver on the Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports team right now.
Pagenaud finished fifth in Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama by driving a flawless race in the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car. Pagenaud was supported by an HP team that was equally flawless in its servicing of his car during pit stops.
The Frenchman started 10th and steadily gained positions with on-track
passes and with quick pit work.
“P5 today is a really good result,” said Pagenaud. “We got caught out in qualifying Saturday, so we didn’t get a good lap in which forced us to start 10th. But I’ll tell you, today this HP car was probably the fastest one out there. It’s good to see that we can produce such a great job with a one-car team and to fight with the Penske and Ganassi teams. I’m very proud to be a part of this team. I have to thank the crew for doing great pit stops.”
Pagenaud also said he doesn’t completely buy into the general feeling that it is impossible to pass on the Barber Motorsports Park’s 2.38-mile, 17-turn circuit.
“They say you can’t pass around here, but I have a few tricks I’m not going to tell anyone,” said Pagenaud. “It was a fun, physical race. I got held up by Ed Carpenter badly, and I know he eventually cost me positions at the end. But that’s racing. At the end of the day, I’m really happy with the result. With a sixth and fifth in two starts, I feel really confident going into Long Beach.”
Team Penske continued its dominance of Barber Motorsports Park Sunday. Will Power won his second consecutive Honda Indy Grand
Prix of Alabama by holding off Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon over the final 25 laps. Power’s margin of victory was 3.3709 seconds.
The win was Power’s 16th of his Indy car career and maintained Team
Penske’s perfect record at Barber. Helio Castroneves won the event in 2010.
Dixon finished in second place for the second consecutive week. It is Dixon’s third consecutive runner-up finish at Barber.
Rounding out the top five were Castroneves, Ganassi Racing’s Graham Rahal and Pagenaud.
There were nine lead changes among five drivers. For the second week in a row, Dixon led the most laps with 38, one more than his 37 in St. Petersburg.
All but three of the 26 starters were running at the finish. There were two caution periods for a total of seven yellow flag laps.
On the strength of his win in St. Petersburg and his third-place finish Sunday, Castroneves leaves Barber Motorsports Park with a two-point lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship over Scott Dixon (86-84). Power is third with 77 points. Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe has a two-point lead over Pagenaud (60-58) to round out the top five in points.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, April 15 on the street of Long Beach, Calif.
DATE: April 1, 2012
EVENT: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
SERIES: IZOD IndyCar Series
LOCATION: Leeds, Ala. (2.38-mile, 17-turn street circuit)
START/FINISH: 10th/5th (Running, Completed 90 of 90 laps)
WINNER: Will Power of Team Penske