Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet had a character building day at Road America in the first race of the REV Group Grand Prix, finishing in the 12th position.
The day got off to a rough start for the No. 22 team when Pagenaud qualified 17th. However, early speed and other drivers’ mistakes for the Frenchman up to 13th early. However, Pagenaud radioed to his team that he was losing grip with the front tires and they needed to attempt to correct it with a major front wing adjustment on lap 14.
Pagenaud returned to the pits for fuel and tires on lap 27, as he worked to move through the field and gain track position. He eventually found himself inside the top-10.
Running in the latter half of the top-10 for much of the second-half of the event, Pagenaud jockeyed for positions during several late-race restarts. With less than 10 to go, contact between he and Pato O’Ward forced the Menards Chevrolet off-track and back to the 12th position, where he would ultimately finish.
Pagenaud will race again with the series tomorrow for the second race of the doubleheader weekend and he continues to sit in the second position in NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship point standings.
It was a really disappointing day. The Menards Chevy had a few struggles in qualifying, but we were able to get ourselves in a decent spot a few times during the race with some speed on the track and taking advantage of some of the other drivers’ problems. I think we were going to have a top-10 finish and limit the points we might have lost, then we got pushed off the track late in the race. That costs us some spots and points, which is frustrating with Dixon winning again. But it’s alright - we learned a lot today and we’re still second in points, so that’s great. There is still a lot of season left to go and we’ve got another shot at this tomorrow. I have full confidence we will have the Menards Chevrolet ready to go tomorrow.