Simon Pagenaud held off Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato to win his first career Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. The 2016 IndyCar Series champion finished just two-tenths of a second ahead of Rossi and the pair traded the lead throughout the final 10 laps of the race.
Pagenaud dominated most of the day after starting on the pole. It appeared during a point that Pagenaud may have to conserve fuel which would have benefitted Rossi, however a late caution allowed the two drivers to settle things head to head. The win is the second straight for Roger Penske after Will Power took the checkered flag last season. Penske now has a total of 18 wins at the Indy 500, which is the most by any team. It's the 13th win of Pagenaud's career.
Pagenaud, 35, became the Vegas favorite at 7-to-1 to win alongside Power after claiming pole position. However Power eventually became the sole favorite with Pagenaud dropping to 8-to-1. Power bounced back from a costly pit road penalty and finished the race fifth.
2019 Indianapolis 500 results
- Simon Pagenaud
- Alexander Rossi
- Takuma Sato
- Josef Newgarden
- Will Power
- Ed Carpenter
- Santino Ferrucci
- Ryan Hunter-Reay
- Tony Kanaan
- Conor Daly
- James Hinchcliffe
- James Davison
- Ed Jones
- Spencer Pigot
- Matheus Leist
- Pippa Mann
- Scott Dixon
- Helio Castroneves
- Sage Karam
- JR Hildebrand
- Jack Harvey
- Oriol Servia
- Marcus Ericsson
- Jordan King
- Charlie Kimball
- Marco Andretti
- Graham Rahal
- Felix Rosenqvist
- Zach Veach
- Sebastien Bourdais
- Kyle Kaiser
- Ben Hanley
- Colton Herta
Full Race Recap
Here's how the race broke down from start to finish…
Simon Pagenaud started the race from the pole as the field raced for position behind him. Just six laps in one of the favorites, Colton Herta, suffered a gearbox issue and brought out the caution. It was an unfortunate ending to Herta's day, as he was one of the top Hondas in the field in addition to being the youngest driver on the track at age 19.
After a short yellow flag, Pagenaud led the field back to green ahead of Will Power and Ed Carpenter. He had no trouble pacing the field as very little passing occurred in dirty air.
Green flag pit stops began around Lap 32 with Pageneaud pitting from the lead. This handed the lead over to Power briefly before he made his stop. James Davison slammed the breaks and was contacted by Helio Castroneves heading to pit road, which caused him to hit a tire and spin out. Fortunately, no crew members were injured however Castroneves was assessed a controversial pass through penalty for his role in the incident.
Pagenaud recycled through pit stops as the race leader ahead of Power, a Penske teammate. He had no problem dominating up front again before coming back into the pits on Lap 65 for a scheduled stop. This surrendered the lead to Carpenter, who came down a few laps later. Rossi was the final car among the lead group to make his stop. Both Rossi and Power lost some time due to minor mishaps on pit road.
Jordan King drove into a tire that barrelled into one of his pit crew members during his stop, causing an apparent injury to his leg. The crew member was taken care of on pit road before being carried over the wall. King had to serve a drive-through penalty for hitting a team member. The crew member, Chris Minot, suffered non-life threatening injuries and was given treatment.
After Kyle Kaiser cycled through his pit stop, he got loose and hit the wall hard while making his way around the track. This ended Kaiser's Indy 500 run, however he was able to get out of the car under his own power to be attended to. This brought out another caution.
Under yellow race control informed Power that he would have to restart from the rear of the field after a shaky entrance to his pit stall during green flag stops. Power had made slight contact with a crew member.
Pagenaud restarted on Lap 80 as the race leader and took off ahead of Carpenter and Josef Newgarden. The pole sitter again wasted no time pacing the field before hitting the pits for a scheduled stop on Lap 100. Carpenter assumed the race lead shortly before pitting himself. It was then Scott Dixon out front, who played the long game and stayed out an extra 12 laps.
The Penske driver, Pagenaud, recycled to the lead on Lap 112 but this time he wasn't alone out front. Rossi found the speed he needed and began harassing the bumper of Pagenaud's Chevrolet.
Rossi was unable -- or chose not to -- pass Pagenaud before the leader pit with 69 laps to go. The 2016 Indy 500 winner was able to conserve more fuel riding behind the No. 22, while Pagenaud burned excess fuel riding through clean air.
"This is our only option. We're going to run as hard as we can until the end of this thing."— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverAW) May 26, 2019
That's the message to Simon Pagenaud after pitting.
The No. 27 hit the pits on Lap 137 and immediately encountered trouble. During his stop, Rossi's fueler could not get the fuel into his Honda right away, which led to a 23-second stop (about three times longer than usual). As Rossi was leaving pit road, IndyCar race officials threw the yellow flag due to a spin by Marcus Ericsson in the pits.
Heading into the pit stop, it appeared that Rossi would recycle as the race leader and take control, however after the slow fuel fillup and caution, the playing field leveled in favor of Pagenaud. Rossi was a slight beneficiary of the yellow flag in that he didn't lose more position from the long stop.
Pagenaud restarted as the race leader ahead of Rossi in fifth with just over 50 laps to go. Despite a chaotic push from all the drivers in the top five, Pagenaud was able to hold onto the lead. Rossi fell back to sixth after an aggressive move that forced him all over the track and even slightly onto the grass.
After about three laps, Newgarden made his move on Pagenaud and took the lead at the Indy 500. An infuriated Rossi continued to try and gain position but encountered lapped driver -- Oriol Servia -- who seemingly blocked Rossi from passing. The No. 27 driver removed his hand from the steering wheel and shook it at Servia as he passed him.
Pagenaud got the final scheduled round of pit stops going with 30 laps to go, coming in from the second position as Newgarden led. Rossi followed suit on the ensuing lap and had no issues this time around clocking a 6.9-second stop. Newgarden pit from the lead a couple laps later.
The Penske No. 22 couldn't zoom back to the front as fast as he would have liked because he needed to conserve fuel to make it to the end. This allowed Rossi to get right up on Pagenaud's bumper as the leaders recycled back to the front. Behind Pagenaud and Rossi were Carpenter and Newgarden.
Rossi took the lead from Pagenaud with 23 laps to go and just as he began to taste victory, Pagenaud caught a huge break. Sebastian Bourdais and Graham Rahal made contact and both hit the wall hard, which brought out the caution Pagenaud desperately needed to conserve fuel mileage.
Rahal was extremely angry with Bourdais after the wreck, tapping him on the helmet after getting out of the cockpit. Rahal then went on to pump up the raucous crowd at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
IndyCar officials threw the red flag for track cleanup after the big one. Felix Rosenqvist, Zach Veach and Charlie Kimball were also involved in the wreck in addition to Rahal and Bourdais.
"At those speeds, that's how you kill somebody," Rahal said to the NBC broadcast team during the red flag. Former IndyCar driver and NBC broadcaster Danica Patrick explained that it was on Bourdais' spotter to do a better job in that situation. Bourdais explained that he thought Rahal would back off before contact.
After a lengthy -- more than 30 minutes -- delay, Rossi led the field back to green with 14 laps to go ahead of Pagenaud, Carpenter and Newgarden. Right as the leaders crossed the start-finish line, Pagenaud went outside and took the lead away from Rossi.
One lap later, Pagenaud traded that lead back to Rossi before taking it back with 11 to go. Rossi continued to challenge for the lead as Takuma Sato moved his way into third place. The No. 22 took control of the lead, blocking Rossi heading into the final 10 miles.
Coming to the line with three laps to go, Rossi took the lead away from Pagenaud as Sato remained in the mix. Then, with a lap-and-a-half left, Pagenaud made his move on Rossi and took the lead for good, holding him off coming to the checkered flag.
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