What began as a tough day for Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet turned into a day showcasing the team’s tenacity, as they began the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in the 20th position, but ended the day on the podium with a third-place result.
Starting so far back in the field, Pagenaud and strategist Kyle Moyer elected to run a different race strategy then a majority of the leaders to get the three-time race winner with clean track ahead of him.
The team pitted for alternate tires, a front wing adjustment and fuel on lap 9 which proved fruitful as the team made major moves on-track finding themselves in 13th position.
Pitting for new alternate tires on fuel on lap 54, the well-timed pit stopped and a subsequent caution before others had pitted helped Pagenaud climb into the top-seven.
The Menards Chevrolet continued to prove strong during the race’s final segment, and Pagenaud drop all the way to third place and remained there as the checkered flag waved.
Pagenaud maintains the second position in 2020 INDYCAR Series point standings after two races.
Hot day in Indianapolis!
Yesterday was not what we wanted with qualifying. We unloaded well but went the wrong direction with this basically new car. But it was a negative that became a positive. I think it sets us up for the season really early on knowing what we need for the car. We weren’t totally happy when we started the race and adjusted the Menards Chevy and got better and better. We were also able to keep the tires underneath us really well. We made a lot of ground under pit sequences by really, really pushing really hard when everybody pitted and we gained a lot of ground that way. The yellow helped us a bit because we pitted about five laps before so that did help us. In the end we had good pace. It was really hard to move the car so thanks to all the extra training I put in since it was a really physical race. I also want to say a big thanks to Chevy because that was a lot of horsepower in the straightaway and helped me pass all of those people. Just a big thanks to them.