Castroneves’ race end early after mid-race incident
FORT WORTH, Texas (20 March 2022) – Simon Pagenaud made a clean charge through the field en route to scoring an eighth-place finish to lead the Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) effort in Sunday’s incident-filled XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Pagenaud was in reach of a podium finish through the closing stages of the race after battling forward from his 15th place starting position. It was the best result of the MSR campaign for the Frenchman in the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda, who finished 15th in the NTT INDYCAR Series opener at St. Petersburg.
It was a short day for MSR teammate Helio Castroneves, who was collected in a three-car incident on a restart midway through the race driving the No. 06 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda shortly.
After a long green-flag stretch during the opening stages of the 248-lap event, three consecutive incidents prevented the field from running a full green-flag lap from lap 99 through lap 149.
Pagenaud started the race in 15th, and moved up to 12th following the first round of green-flag pit stops on lap 62. Pagenaud was up to ninth during the extended caution sequence. Once racing went back to green for the final 99 circuits, Pagenaud charged to fifth before slowing slightly in the final circuits to finish eighth.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES next moves to the streets of Long Beach, Calif., for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, April 10 which will also see MSR’s IMSA program competing the same weekend.
“It was an awesome race and I feel like the whole team had such a great performance on all levels. I’m really happy about my driving and my restarts and it was a really, really good day for everyone. At the end the car got really loose, there was more wind and I just couldn’t hold on to fifth position. Overall it was really fun out there – there were a lot of passes and a lot of dicing with the competition. I was really proud to bring the AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda to eighth place. This was a really good foundation for the rest of the season and especially for the Indy 500. From here we are going to go up and we look forward to Long Beach.”
“I had no idea what happened. It went three-wide and I made sure to give space to Graham [Rahal]. Then I saw him spinning out and I had nowhere to go. We got the worst of it. Whatever happened is unnecessary. We still had half of the race, 100 laps, to go, and it’s unnecessary to take a risk like that. If it was 10 laps, 15 laps to go, I understand, but half of the race is frustrating. We were just taking it easy, we were just taking our pace. Obviously, the car was really good, and we knew exactly what we needed to do. It’s a shame that happens. I’m not happy, obviously, but we’ll move on to the next race at Long Beach.”