Pagenaud “doesn’t care” about warning, increases points lead

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – Simon Pagenaud took his first win with Team Penske today in Long Beach, but wasn’t affected by the Official Warning assessed by INDYCAR following his exit from the pits.

In victory lane following Round 3 of the Verizon IndyCar Series season, Pagenaud told NBCSN’s Kevin Lee he didn’t realize how close his No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinishes Team Penske Chevrolet came to being too far to the left.

Given it was a game of inches, he thought he was OK.

“It was an inch on the race track there, so I’m good,” he said. “The left sides on the right side of the dots, which it is; so I’m good.”

He also said “I don’t care,” about whether the warning mattered.

Here was INDYCAR’s Statement on the penalty:

Simon Pagenaud’s actions during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach were deemed an infraction per Rule 7.10.1.1. “Lane Usage” of the INDYCAR Penalty Guidelines: Failing to follow designated procedures entering or exiting the pit area, including the proper use of the acceleration and deceleration lanes. The penalty for this infraction ranges from a warning (minimum), putting the driver to the back of the field (mid) and drive-through or stop and go/hold (maximum). INDYCAR race stewards determined his actions were not severe enough to warrant a harsher penalty than the warning that was issued.

Pagenaud did elaborate on the day, warning aside, as he finally broke through to win his first race for Team Penske.

“It is a relief, from your questions,” Pagenaud deadpanned to the room full of reporters.

As for the rest of the day?

“Great day. Fantastic team effort. Obviously we made an interesting call on the aerodynamic setup. Thank (engineer) Ben Bretzman for pushing me to it.

“Nobody mentioned it to me. I focused on the job. I didn’t know it was that close.

“INDYCAR has made it really clear what you can and can’t do. It was certainly on the verge of being a stronger penalty. I did get a warning. So did Munoz.”

In response to that, it was worth asking whether Pagenaud still found warnings acceptable – say if he wound up on the other side of the coin.

“They did the manual, and sent it to the drivers,” Pagenaud explained. “The drivers association and INDYCAR and the teams worked with INDYCAR to what was going to be a warning, a min penalty, a mid penalty. Each one of those levels has a different consequence.

“Going into the race, I know the rulebook, I know you can take risks, the limit. It’s just racing. Quite frankly, another inch to right wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the race.”

The win also bumps up Pagenaud’s points lead from four points (83-79) to 14 over Dixon (134 to 120). Pagenaud and the No. 22 Team Penske team are rolling, with two seconds and a first in three races.

Points are below:

PagLBpoints

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:


Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change