3x Indy Road Course winner makes hard charge from 20th to second at IMS
Indianapolis, Ind. (14 May 2022) – Simon Pagenaud continued his strong record of success at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course on Saturday after scoring a second place finish and Meyer Shank Racing’s (MSR) first podium finish of the 2022 INDYCAR season.
With rainfall increasing throughout the duration and seven total yellow flags slowing down race, tire selection, strategy and smart thinking were keys to finishing the race.
Starting from 20th, Pagenaud was solely focused on moving forward and with inclement weather in the forecast, the Frenchman was even more confident heading into the race which he had claimed victory on in 2019 also in the rain. With INDYCAR declaring a wet race start, Pagenaud started on rain tires but quickly made the change over to Firestone alternates on Lap 4.
Strategy was an important factor as rain began to fall, but grip remained on the track. Six caution periods slowed down the field ahead of heavy rainfall around lap 60 when Pagenaud eventually made the decision to pit for rain tires.
Steady maneuvering and smart thinking through one more caution period pulled Pagenaud to second though the closing laps of the race. With visibility near impossible, Pagenaud steered clear of the rooster tail of the lead car ahead. Ultimately, Pagenaud added a fourth podium finish (wins in 2014, 2016 & 2019) to his Indy road course resume and gave MSR its second career podium finish at the IMS road course (third place in 2019).
Castroneves was on a similarly strong charge through the first three quarters of the race making his way into the top ten by lap 40 after starting 21st. Racing steady in eighth through the first six caution periods Castroneves matched Pagenaud’s strategy to pit for rain tires on Lap 60.
The final 20 minutes of the race Castroneves was caught is a slew of traffic with cars sliding across the track. The tough closing moments yielded a 14th place finish for Castroneves in the No. 06 MSR Honda.
Meyer Shank Racing Driver Quotes:
“I’m super proud of the team, it was a very tricky race. It was probably one of the trickiest races I’ve ever driven in. We had to make the right decisions on the tires with the rain at the beginning of the race and then switching to the slicks and then back to the rain tires. I had amazing discussions with my strategist, Mike Shank. It’s so rewarding when it’s so difficult. I wish I could have gotten first, but I just couldn’t see at the end behind Colton (Herta). Thank you Meyer Shank Racing, AutoNation, SiriusXM, Arctic Wolf and Honda for an amazing race today.”
“What a day we had today. We started from the back in the 06 and it was an adventure to stay out of trouble the entire race. When the rain came in we were about top eight, we had great pace and we were keeping it clean. Unfortunately the rain was so bad and for me, the vent of the car was blowing so much water that my visor was getting so wet – I had no vision. On every restart I was very worried that I was going to hit someone, or someone was going to hit me. It was a great day for the team with the 60 car which finished second, congrats Simon. Now we look forward to the 500 which is going to be the big one.”