Returning to the site of his 2011 Verizon IndyCar Series debut, points leader Simon Pagenaud parlayed a stellar drive from the pole and outlasted a battle with Graham Rahal to claim the April 24 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
After going winless in his first 18 races with Team Penske, Pagenaud now has back-to-back victories after scoring a controversial win at Long Beach on April 17.
After leading for the majority of the afternoon, Pagenaud found himself under pressure from Rahal in the closing stages of the 90-lap event when suddenly Rahal jumped on the push-to-pass and attempted to take the lead. The two made contact, with Pagenaud getting forced off of the track.
“That’s not a corner you can pass (on),” said Pagenaud to NBCSN after the race. “Oh well, I won the race.”
With damage to his wing, Rahal briefly held the lead until lap 86, when Pagenaud dove under him as the two worked their way around the lapped car of Jack Hawksworth. Seeing the battle behind him, Hawksworth elected to slow down and let the leaders by.
Unfortunately for Rahal, the move came unexpected. The Ohio native made contact with Hawksworth’s Honda, tearing the front wing off his machine. Pagenaud quickly took his No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinishes Team Penske Chevrolet back to the lead and cruised from there to the finish. Rahal would limp his Honda home in second, 13.7476 seconds back.
— Matt Archuleta (@indy44) April 24, 2016
Power came home in fourth, with Juan Pablo Montoya overcoming a 21st-place qualifying result to score fifth in a race that went caution-free for the final 88 laps.
The IndyCar Series will return for the May 14 Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the opening event of the Month of May.
- Simon Pagenaud
- Graham Rahal
- Josef Newgarden
- Will Power
- Juan Pablo Montoya
- James Hinchcliffe
- Helio Castroneves
- Tony Kanaan
- Charlie Kimball
- Scott Dixon
- Ryan Hunter-Reay
- Marco Andretti
- Takuma Sato
- Carlos Muñoz
- Alexander Rossi
- Sébastien Bourdais
- Mikhail Aleshin
- Luca Filippi
- Jack Hawksworth
- Conor Daly
- Max Chilton
About the author
A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.
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