Pagenaud leads Power at halfway mark at Barber

Photo: IndyCar
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Simon Pagenaud remains in front of Will Power through the opening 45 laps of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, the fourth round of the Verizon IndyCar Series season from Barber Motorsports Park (LIVE on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra).

The field is through two rounds of pit stops with varying tire strategies, alternating between Firestone’s primary blacks and softer red alternate tires, but Pagenaud has led all but two of the first 45 laps – Graham Rahal led two during the first pit sequence.

In the third stint of the race, Pagenaud led Power by 1.3663 seconds with Pagenaud on blacks and Power on reds.

Rahal got around Josef Newgarden for third prior to the second stop and is poised for his first podium finish of the year. Newgarden, the defending Barber winner, runs fourth ahead of James Hinchcliffe.

Hinchcliffe saw a battle with Charlie Kimball end early when Kimball was ordered to give up a position to Hinchcliffe.

The big mover thus far is Juan Pablo Montoya, who runs sixth after starting 21st. He made up 14 spots in the first stint.

The initial start was waved off following an accordion effect collision between Carlos Munoz, Mikhail Aleshin and Jack Hawksworth near the back of the field, and a second start waved off because the field was out of order. But on Lap 3 the field got going and has been under green flag conditions since.

Andretti Autosport has moved steadily through the field with Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi each getting into the top 10 at one stage; Hunter-Reay made a good move of Rossi to the outside of Turn 5 for 10th before the second round of stops.

Sebastien Bourdais meanwhile hit Scott Dixon and had to serve a drive-through for the contact, and needed a new front wing. Still, Bourdais has been one of the fastest cars on the track since, although he’s mired in 19th.