Pagenaud survives bout with Rahal, wins at Barber

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Simon Pagenaud scored his second straight win in Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama through varying tire strategies, a bit of traffic, no further cautions after an interrupted start, and then a crazy and dramatic finish.

It took a Lap 86 pass of Graham Rahal at Turn 14, with Rahal’s car wounded with significant front wing damage, for him to make it back by to resume up front after controlling most of the race.

The driver of the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinishes Team Penske Chevrolet led all but a handful of the 90 laps, losing out only on pit stop cycles, en route to his second straight win in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

It’s also his fourth finish of first or second in the first four races, and Pagenaud continues to extend his points lead.

Will Power ran second for the majority of the race, but was leapfrogged by Rahal in the final pit stop sequences.

Rahal then proceeded to go on a tear to catch up Pagenaud, gaining more than five seconds to get into the lead on Lap 81.

Pagenaud was slowed by traffic off Turn 6, and Rahal made his move to the lead into Turn 8, with Pagenaud then going through the gravel and into the lead, and Rahal’s car sustaining a bit of front wing damage.

While Rahal held the lead, his efforts were slowed by Jack Hawksworth, when he ran aground of him exiting Turn 6. Rahal tried to move to the inside to hold off Pagenaud, but wound up contacting Hawksworth and creating further damage.

Rahal’s car was wounded, and Pagenaud made it by on the inside for the lead. Rahal ended second but some 13.747 seconds behind.

Meanwhile Josef Newgarden made a late-race move of Will Power for third for the final podium position. Power got boxed in by a train of traffic and fell back.

Juan Pablo Montoya drove from last to fifth, primarily thanks to a storming first stint that saw him rise from 21st to seventh.

There were other notable moments in the 90-lap race, which ran without a yellow after the three attempts at the first start:

  • Contact between Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon on Lap 3 pitched Dixon into a spin, although Bourdais would later blame Rahal for boxing him in (further story to come on NBC Sports later tonight).
  • Conor Daly ran ahead of the leaders for most of the second stint, with Pagenaud, Power and the rest of the pack unable to pass. Daly struggled with the balance most of the day and ended in 20th.
  • Chip Ganassi Racing finished eighth, ninth and 10th with Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball and Dixon – this marked Dixon’s first race off the podium in seven Barber races.
  • Hawksworth, who got in the way late, ended 19th. For both he and A.J. Foyt Enterprises teammate Takuma Sato, early weekend pace amounted to nothing in the race – Sato ended 13th.

The series is now off for two weeks before the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 14.

Results are below:


Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”