Simon Pagenaud started eighth in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio and fought a spirited battle for the lead with Charlie Kimball before bringing the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports car home in second.
Pagenaud led 14 laps on the way to his second podium finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in as many years.
“It was a good race with the HP car,” Pagenaud said. “Obviously we started with a pretty bold strategy starting on the Black Firestone tires. We knew we had a very consistent car, but the goal was to come back to the leaders at the end of the first stint, and then we knew the car would be fast on the next set of Red Firestone tires.”
In addition to landing on the second step of the podium, the No. 77 HP car also turned the fastest lap of the race on Lap 35 at 121.733 mph (66.7755 sec). Pagenaud lost the lead of the race after his final pit stop when eventual race winner Kimball passed him soon after he left pit lane on cold tires.
“That move Charlie (Kimball) made in Turn 4, I honestly thought he would never make it,” Pagenaud said. “He made it through though, so hats off to him. It’s a well-deserved win when you’re making an aggressive move like that and it works. Congratulations to him on driving a great race.”
According to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports General Manager Rob Edwards, Pagenaud’s second-place finish was crucial to helping the team move up and build momentum in the IZOD IndyCar Series Championship hunt.
“It was a fantastic championship finish and coming off of a very tough weekend in Toronto it was important for us to have a strong showing in Mid-Ohio to get back in the hunt,” Edwards said. “It was fun because we were racing the whole way and Charlie (Kimball) did a great job. He just had a little bit more than we did on that last stint. We’ll carry this momentum forward to Sonoma.”
Simon Pagenaud currently sits fifth in the IZOD IndyCar Series Championship with 350 points, 103 points behind championship points leader Helio Castroneves.
Tristan Vautier, driving the No. 55 Angie’s List / Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, qualified 11th for the Honda Indy 200 but served a 10-spot starting grid penalty for an unscheduled engine change after warm-up race day morning.
Vautier started and ended the day 21st in the 90-lap race on the 2.258-mile road course.
“It started off as a great weekend with the Angie’s List car and we had high hopes after qualifying 11th,” Vautier said. “It was very positive after having a rough stretch of races before Mid-Ohio. Unfortunately we were set 10 spots back on the starting grid and we tried an alternative fuel strategy, which didn’t work out. We had to conserve fuel for the whole second half of the race. It’s frustrating because I wanted to do better for our first weekend with Angie’s List but I think we have something to build on for the next few races.”
IZOD IndyCar Series action resumes August 25th for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. For the latest team updates follow @SPMIndyCar on Twitter.