After starting 18th and being involved in a lap-one incident, Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards team showed strong resolve earning a seventh-place finish while staying within striking distance of the 2019 IndyCar Series championship. In a multi-car incident on the opening lap of the Grand Prix of Portland, Pagenaud made minimal contact with Max Chilton but was able to keep his Menards Chevy out on track and move up to 10th before green-flag pit stops began. Pagenaud made his first stop of the day on lap 38 for fresh alternate Firestone tires and fuel. By lap 45 he moved up to ninth and gained two more positions as the halfway point of the race approached.
While running seventh, race strategist Kyle Moyer made the call that the team was going to continue using alternate tires for the duration of the race, and on lap 73 the No. 22 Menards Chevy took a set of fresh tires and fuel. With 20 laps remaining, Pagenaud maintained the seventh position and would hold on to that spot for the remainder of the event. In three weeks, Pagenaud will take on Laguna Seca and compete for the 2019 IndyCar Series championship. He sits third in the championship standings, just 42 points behind leader and teammate Josef Newgarden, and one point behind second-place contender Alexander Rossi.
"(Scott) Dixon has done it from 45 points back, so we're in it. It's awesome to go to Laguna with a chance at the championship. I'm determined. We had a really good race today despite all the problems at the start. It was eventful but a great day for Chevy and Team Penske. It's the championship so you have to be there. So even when days are tough… rebounding from 18th to finish seventh was a really good performance. We made all right decisions in the race. The Menards Chevy felt really good, which is good for next year when we come back. But the biggest thing is that we are in it. We're going to Laguna at a chance at the championship, which is really exciting. Anything can happen there with double points. Anything is possible."