Because the eye-popping “big” results haven’t quite happened outside of his win at Detroit race two, it’s easy to overlook what Simon Pagenaud and the HP Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports team have done in the last five races.
Pagenaud’s month of May was quietly solid, ending as the second-best Honda finisher in eighth place. He hasn’t made any mistakes in the races since then and racked up a needed top-10 Sunday in Iowa, with sixth place. The only three drivers that have scored more points than Pagenaud since Indy are Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves and Iowa winner James Hinchcliffe.
“Traffic played a big role in the race, but it was great for the HP car to be up front on an oval today,” Pagenaud said. “At the end I’m not sure what we were missing because the car was really hooked up.”
“I had a blast out there,” he added. “The restarts were fun, the racing was fun, and it was just a great day of competition. From the cockpit it was back and forth going as hard as you could into pit lane and getting out just as fast. We were trying to grab positions any way we could.”
Since Pagenaud is only in his second year racing on ovals, the fact he didn’t lose substantial ground while the Hondas have struggled compared to the Chevrolets is a promising sign heading to the second half of the season.
Pagenaud exited the Indianapolis 500 10th in points, and he’s now sixth, 36 points behind Marco Andretti in third. Pagenaud has already tested at Pocono earlier this year, so he won’t be going in completely blind to “the tricky triangle” in a couple weeks.
More importantly, the run of seven straight road and street course races after Pocono sets up nicely for Pagenaud the second half of the season. Combined with the strengths of engineer Ben Bretzman, team manager Rob Edwards, look for the Frenchman to score his second win of the year and make some more regular visits to the podium.
We’ve written a fair bit on MotorSportsTalk about the efforts Pippa Mann has done in working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen has supported Mann’s last two runs at the Indianapolis 500, when she’s driven the No. 63 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.
This being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness hit a new level with Mann working alongside breast cancer survivors to paint the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Yard of Bricks pink for the day.
IMS president Doug Boles also joined in the opportunity.
View a selection of photos and social posts below. More is linked here, via IndyCar.com.
For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.
Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.
Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.
Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.
To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.
“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.
“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”
The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.
However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.