SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) – It was a May to remember for Simon Pagenaud.
After winning the IndyCar Grand Prix and starting the Indianapolis 500 on the pole, Pagenaud was the dominant car Sunday afternoon, winning his first Indianapolis 500.
“It’s a dream come true,” an excited Pagenaud said. “A lifetime of trying to achieve this. So I’m just speechless, it’s just incredible.”
Pagenaud led a race-high 116 laps, however, he had to hold off a furious rally from Alexander Rossi over the final laps. Rossi, Takuma Sato, Josef Newgarden and WIll Power rounded out the top 5.
The race was red-flagged for 18 minutes with 20 laps to go for a five-car crash that started with contact between Sebastien Bourdais and Graham Rahal. The crash also involved Felix Rosenqvist, Charlie Kimball and Zach Veach. All were released from the infield medical center, however, Veach was not cleared to drive.
Rossi led on the restart, but Pagenaud got by him with 11 laps remaining. The two traded the lead back and forth until Pagenaud made the winning pass in Turn 3 on Lap 199.
The finish was the seventh-closest in race history with a 0.2086 second margin of victory.
As he came back around the track, Pagenaud stopped his car on the Yard of Bricks and stepped out to celebrate. He said the stop wasn’t something he planned.
“The fans were going so crazy that I wanted to share with the fans,” Pagenaud said. “It wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t have 300,000 in the grandstands.”
Pagenaud became the first driver to win the Indy 500 from the pole since Helio Castroneves in 2009. He also became the first Frenchman to win the race since Gaston Chevrolet in 1920.
Pagenaud admitted the win would likely resonate in France. “I’ve got 330-somthing texts,” he said with a smile.
“Flying the French flag like this. There hasn’t been a winner in almost a century,” Pagenaud remarked. He said there will likely be a media tour in France sometime in the future.
The victory was the 13th of Pagenaud’s career. It was also the 18th Indy 500 win for Team Penske, the most all time.
With the Indianapolis 500 being worth double points, Pagenaud also took over the IndyCar season points lead from teammate Josef Newgarden.
Even with the win Sunday and being a former IndyCar champion, Pagenaud explained that he isn’t satisfied.
“I want to win as many Indy 500s as I can and more championships,” he said. “I’ve got more to accomplish here.”
Castroneves was assessed a drive-through penalty on Lap 42 after making contact in the pits with James Davison. Castroneves was never a factor after that, finishing 18th in his quest to become a four-time Indy 500 winner.
Santino Ferrucci was the 2019 highest-finishing rookie, placing seventh.
The race also had a scary moment on pit road as Jordan King struck a tire on a pit stop. The tire hit his Rahal Letterman Lanigan crew member, Chris Minot. News 8’s Charlie Clifford was told by Dr. Geoffrey Billows that Minot was being transferred to IU Health Methodist Hospital with a lower body injury not considered to be life-threatening.
What a moment.#INDYCAR#Indy500pic.twitter.com/GjVaPbpKRg — NTT IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) May 26, 2019
Been dreaming of this moment my entire life – drinking milk at the #Indy500@Team_Penske@IMSpic.twitter.com/4BrpVl2Ogd — Simon Pagenaud (@simonpagenaud) May 26, 2019
Congratulations to the Great (and my friend) Roger Penske on winning his 18th (UNBELIEVABLE!) Indianapolis 500. I am in Japan, very early in the morning, but I got to watch Simon drive one of the greatest races in the history of the sport. I will see them both, & TEAM, at the WH! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2019
The complete order of finish (driver, car number, laps completed)
- Simon Pagenaud, No. 22, 200 laps
- Alexander Rossi, 27, 200
- Takuma Sato, 30, 200
- Josef Newgarden, 2, 200
- Will Power, 12, 200
- Ed Carpenter, 20, 200
- Satino Ferrucci (rookie), 19, 200
- Ryan Hunter-Reay, 28, 200
- Tony Kanaan, 14, 200
- Conor Daly, 25, 200
- James Hinchcliffe, 5, 200
- James Davison, 33, 200
- Ed Jones, 63, 200
- Spencer Pigot, 21, 200
- Matheus Leist, 4, 200
- Pippa Mann, 39, 200
- Scott Dixon, 9, 200
- Helio Castroneves, 3, 199
- Sage Karam, 24, 199
- JR Hildebrand, 48, 199
- Jack Harvey, 60, 199
- Oriol Servia, 77, 199
- Marcus Ericsson (rookie), 7, 198
- Jordan King (rookie), 42, 198
- Charlie Kimball, 23, 196
- Marco Andretti, 98, 195
- Graham Rahal, 15, 176
- Felix Rosenqvist (rookie), 10, 176
- Zach Veach, 26, 176
- Sebastien Bourdain,18, 176
- Kyle Kaiser, 32, 71
- Ben Hanley (rookie), 81, 54
- Colton Herta (rookie), 86, 3.