Long Beach: Simon Pagenaud finishes the last race of the 2021 season in the Top 5
Sep 26, 2021

Start: 4th
Finish: 5th
Points Position: 8th (-166 pts)

Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet had their sights set on a podium finish after starting fourth in the Long Beach Grand Prix, but closed out the 2021 NTT INDYCAR Series season with the team’s third top-five finish of the year.

Simon Pagenaud and the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet had their sights set on a podium finish after starting fourth in the Long Beach Grand Prix, but closed out the 2021 NTT INDYCAR Series season with the team’s third top-five finish of the year.

Starting the 85-lap race on black tires, Pagenaud fell a few spots in the opening laps before making his first pit stop on lap 20 as the yellow flag fell for the switch to red tires and a top off on fuel. The No. 22 Menards Chevy cycled out to sixth after the rest of the field had come through and Pagenaud maintained that position until his final stop of the day.

As cars made their way down pit road for their second scheduled stops, Pagenaud opted to stop for another set of red tires on lap 53. Feeling the car was handling well, the team made no adjustments and the yellow car was back out on track.

Once again the No. 22 team found themselves up to sixth once pit stops were complete as Pagenaud tried to remain within striking distance of the leaders. Unfortunately the No. 22 Menards Chevy was only able to collect one more spot to finish the day in fifth.

“P5 today in Long Beach. I enjoyed the weekend so much. We had so much pace, the car was beautiful. Obviously, the yellow day glow was bright out there. It was awesome and I enjoyed the race. We started on the black tires, trying to do something different than the others and hopefully gain position in the next exchange going to red tires versus the black. It could have worked but we had a bad pit stop unfortunately so we settled where we were, yellow came out and we were in good shape, finished fifth. I think that was about where we could have been so pretty happy with today. Thank you to Chevy, thank you to Menards, and thank you Team Penske. It was an amazing weekend. Overall, we finished 8th in the championship. That was obviously not the target, but we lacked a bit of performance throughout the season. We were very good on the street circuits, good on the super speedway, unfortunately there was only one, and we were also very good on the ovals. We suffered some exceptional circumstances, had clashes with several cars, which cost me a lot of points. However, I think it would have been difficult to fight for the championship, so we are satisfied with 8th. We are happy with our performance in the last few races, let’s see what happens next year.”

“P5 today in Long Beach. I enjoyed the weekend so much. We had so much pace, the car was beautiful. Obviously, the yellow day glow was bright out there. It was awesome and I enjoyed the race. We started on the black tires, trying to do something different than the others and hopefully gain position in the next exchange going to red tires versus the black. It could have worked but we had a bad pit stop unfortunately so we settled where we were, yellow came out and we were in good shape, finished fifth. I think that was about where we could have been so pretty happy with today. Thank you to Chevy, thank you to Menards, and thank you Team Penske. It was an amazing weekend. Overall, we finished 8th in the championship. That was obviously not the target, but we lacked a bit of performance throughout the season. We were very good on the street circuits, good on the super speedway, unfortunately there was only one, and we were also very good on the ovals. We suffered some exceptional circumstances, had clashes with several cars, which cost me a lot of points. However, I think it would have been difficult to fight for the championship, so we are satisfied with 8th. We are happy with our performance in the last few races, let’s see what happens next year.”

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