Castroneves finishes 21st after getting caught out by yellow flag
Birmingham, Ala. (1 May 2022) – Simon Pagenaud improved an impressive 13 positions to score an 11th place finish for Meyer Shank Racing in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday.
Pagenaud started 24th in the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda and ran a two-stop strategy as he worked his way up to 13th before his first pit stop on lap 30. Over his next stint, Pagenaud had a strong battle to move into the top 10. The Frenchman pitted again on lap 60 of 90, and ran 11th over the final 18 circuits.
Teammate Helio Castroneves had a tough day, finishing 21st in the No. 06 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda. Starting 16th, the four-time Indianapolis 500 champion elected to use a three-stop strategy. Castroneves pitted on lap 11 while running 16th, returning to the race in 24th.
Castroneves worked his way back to 14th when the lone caution of the event came out – taking away any advantage from a three-stop strategy.
Following the restart Castroneves unfortunately had contact with another competitor forcing him to fall back nearly eight seconds to give the position back. After his final pit stop, Castroneves returned to the race in 22nd, and gained one position in the run to the checkered flag.
“It was a great day at the office,” said Pagenaud. “We made some really great moves in the race after starting really far back. We had a great car in the race and were able to march out way froward. Great strategy from Mike Shank and the entire team. I’m just really satisfied with how everything went and how everyone performed as a group. It’s really showing a lot of momentum. Obviously we want to be P1 in the end but we have to be patient and reasonable. It was a great day for the entire team and showed a lot of spirit.”
Although Castroneves didnt get the result he was hoping for, he was pleased with the performance of the car throughout the race.
“The strategy was to do three stops and we had the pace,” said Castroneves. “I was very, very happy with the No. 06 AutoNation / SiriusXM car. We were pushing and were in a really good rhythm, but unfortunately when the yellow came out it favored everyone on the two stop strategy. After that I had a little incident with Jimmie – sorry Jimmie – and I just bottomed out on the curb and hit the back of him. Before that I was having a really good time. At least we had a fast car so now let’s go for the next one.”
The attention of the motorsports world now focuses on Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES competitors take on the Brickyard’s road course in the GMR Grand Prix on Saturday, May 14. MSR and Helio Castroneves defend their Indianapolis 500 victory in the 106th running of the America classic on Sunday, May 29.