Simon Pagenaud had a quick start in the Milwaukee IndyFest that had him running in the top-six early on, but the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports car faded to 12th at the checkered flag.
Tristan Vautier, driving the No. 55 Coastal.com/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car, battled a car that did not handle well in traffic. The rookie driver finished 21st after making slight contact with the Turn 4 wall that ended his day with bent suspension.
After an encouraging initial stint in the No. 77 car, Pagenaud fell a lap down during his second stint.
“I have mixed feelings about today’s race,” Pagenaud said. “I really felt like we had a good car. We were running in the top-six early on with really strong restarts, but we finished 12th.”
Pagenaud leaves the Milwaukee IndyFest seventh place in the IZOD IndyCar Series Championship standings with high hopes to make up ground in the next round of competition at the Iowa Corn Indy 250.
“Our finish is a shame today because the HP car was really fast,” Pagenaud said. “We made a lot of improvement on the car but this is costly on our championship. It’s a long championship though so we’ll bounce back and try to do better in Iowa.”
Tristan Vautier started 10th in the Milwaukee IndyFest, and struggled to navigate his car through traffic on the busy one-mile oval.
“It was a tough race,” Vautier said. “I was really struggling behind other cars but I was decent by myself. As soon as I got in a pack, came up on slow cars or had restarts I went backwards. It just made for a long day.”
On lap 173, teammate Simon Pagenaud came up on Vautier’s lapped car.
“When Simon (Pagenaud) was about to lap me I went high to let him by and hit some marbles,” Vautier said. “I understeered into the wall. It wasn’t a big hit but it was big enough to bend the suspension and end our day.”
Vautier was forced to retire from the race due to damage to his front and rear suspension, and finished 21st.
Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport won the Milwaukee IndyFest for the second consecutive year. Hunter-Reay was followed to the checkered flag by Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Will Power in second and third place.
Simon Pagenaud and Tristan Vautier return to action for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on Sunday, June 23. For the latest team updates, follow @SPMIndyCar on Twitter.