• Recovers from first-lap contact
• Strong drive, pit-stop strategy maintain championship challenge
A storming recovery effort from Simon Pagenaud and his Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports team, following first-lap contact, resulted in a fourth-place finish Sunday to lead the Honda-powered field in the opening race of a same-day Verizon IndyCar Series doubleheader Sunday at the Honda Indy Toronto.
Starting fifth, Pagenaud was tipped into an opening-lap spin by contact from seventh-starting Luca Filippi, triggering a chain-reaction collision and a complete race restart, with Pagenaud at the rear of the field. An early, “off-sequence” pit stop from the Schmidt team on Lap 11 allowed Pagenaud to move into the lead when most of the remainder of the 23-car starting field made their own mid-race stops. While in front, Pagenaud clicked off a series of fast race laps, ensuring that he remained in the lead group, even after making a second stop on Lap 40, resuming and finishing fourth.
Simon Pagenaud (#77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda) started 5th, fell to the back of the field after first lap contact, finished 4th: “I was really upset [after being tipped into an opening-lap spin] but also, I was really lucky that the damage was not too bad and I didn’t get ‘T-boned’. The team did a great job with the repair and also with the pit strategy. Fourth is a very good result, and I think we can win this afternoon.”