Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud extended his IndyCar championship lead Sunday after taking a hard fought win in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
Pagenaud, who started from pole, led 23 laps on his way to his fourth win of 2016. The positive result didn’t come easy, however, with the Frenchman suffering a back injury Friday during practice and dealing with the resulting pain throughout the weekend.
Another thorn in Pagenaud’s side was teammate Will Power, whom he made contact with while trying to pass for the lead on Lap 66 of 90. As the two Chevrolets approached Turns 11-13, they tapped wheels, with Power saying he had to dodge a storming Pagenaud in order to avoid a wreck.
“It was my bad for not being on it on the restart,” Power said post-race. “I regret that, but he’s got to push. I thought of the team on the last corner when we went side-by-side. I had to back out or we were going to crash. It’s racing. It’s tough.”
“It was an awesome battle with Will there,” Pagenaud added. “I knew that was my chance on that restart, it was time to go. It was a pretty interesting lap, fun driving like that. That’s racing. It was fair, it was clean, it was hard racing I’m just glad I won, really.”
Power crossed the finish line in second 4.1620 seconds behind Pagenaud. Third was Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz, while RLL’s Graham Rahal was fourth and Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe was fifth.
Some championship contenders faltered Sunday – likely much to Pagenaud’s delight. Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves made contact on Lap 15, putting out the first caution of the day and taking Dixon out of the race. Castroneves lost a lap while his team repaired damage. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Josef Newgarden went a lap down as well after making contact with Power and damaging his rear wheel guard.
IndyCar will travel to Pennsylvania next for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. Practice and qualifying will take place on Aug. 20th, while the race will air live on NBCSN on August 21st at 3 p.m. ET.
Click here for full results from Mid-Ohio.