Simon Pagenaud and Tristan Vautier finished the Iowa Corn Indy 250 in sixth and 13th respectively. While Pagenaud thrived on the lively competition on Iowa Speedway’s short oval, Vautier basked in the learning experience that helped him drive on the track’s multiple grooves.
Pagenaud started the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports car in eighth position and ran as high as third during the 250-lap sprint.
“We were really strong on restarts today because the HP car was handling really well,” Pagenaud said.
The 7/8-mile track saw cars bunch up quickly, and lapped traffic added an extra level of difficulty to the race.
“Traffic played a big role in the race, but it was great for the HP car to be up front on an oval today,” Pagenaud said. “At the end I’m not sure what we were missing because the car was really hooked up.”
The No. 77 car finished sixth, and Pagenaud enjoyed the spirited competition with his fellow IZOD IndyCar Series drivers.
“I had a blast out there today,” he said. “The restarts were fun, the racing was fun, and it was just a great day of competition. From the cockpit it was back and forth going as hard as you could into pit lane and getting out just as fast. We were trying to grab positions any way we could.”
Pagenaud brought the No. 77 car home in sixth, and gained two spots in the IZOD IndyCar Series Championship. After 10 events, Pagenaud sits sixth in the championship with 241 points.
Tristan Vautier started and ended the Iowa Corn Indy 250 in 13th, but the 23-year-old IZOD IndyCar Series rookie gained valuable experience and confidence along the way.
“It was a good race for us even though you’re generally not too excited to finish 13th!” Vautier said. “I’m very excited about everything we learned today.”
During practice and qualifications, Vautier struggled to master his No. 55 Coastal.com/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car on the multiple driving lines at the short oval.
“I was struggling before the race to run different grooves and be good in traffic,” Vautier said. “I feel like I took a huge step forward today, at least on this type of track. I managed to run both grooves all race long. It’s tough when you start in the pack because you’re stuck in the train and you can go a lap down really quickly. There were a few times when I was running with the leaders at a good pace, so I’m happy to have a positive day for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and our sponsor Coastal.com.”
James Hinchcliffe of Andretti Autosport won the Iowa Corn Indy 250. He led 226 laps on the way to collecting his first IZOD IndyCar Series victory on an oval.
Pagenaud and Vautier return to action for the Pocono INDYCAR 400 on Sunday, July 7. For the latest team updates, follow @SPMIndyCar on Twitter.