Despite engine woes, Pagenaud hangs on for P13, points lead (VIDEO)

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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Another race, another tough finish for Simon Pagenaud, and potentially, another bullet dodged in the Verizon IndyCar Series points chase.

Pagenaud looked on pace to finish second or certainly in the top five in the ninth completed race, but Round 10, of the IndyCar season, the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America.

But late race engine woes resigned the driver of the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet to 13th place for the second time in the last three races – Pagenaud also ended 13th at the first Detroit race after running out of fuel.

Yet even with those two 13th place results and a 19th place at the double points Indianapolis 500, Pagenaud only lost six points off his points lead.

He entered 80 points ahead of Scott Dixon, and actually gained 10 points on Dixon after Dixon’s early race engine issues.

He’ll leave 74 points clear of Helio Castroneves, who moved into second on the strength of another top-five finish in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. He ended fifth.

Pagenaud told NBCSN’s Marty Snider post-race that it was a major missed opportunity.

“It’s tough in these situations. You’re in the way! Even more frustrating when you have a car to win. The last restart, Menards car was awesome. Improving all weekend.

“We wasted a big opportunity for the championship. But Dixon didn’t get much either. Onto the next one.”

Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, told NBC Sports of the Dixon and Pagenaud issues, “We had an issue there (with Dixon) and a couple other issues. That’s racing. We have to dig in and fix it. We need to work to support our teams to win races the rest of the way.”

Still, Pagenaud has a decent enough gap to the rest of the field, who can’t seem to gain much in the way of momentum.

Arguably the hottest driver at the moment is race winner Will Power, who moved up to third – 81 points back of Pagenaud – with his second straight win. Power entered Road America seventh, 117 points back.

IndyCar’s unofficial top 10 in points is below:

1. Simon Pagenaud, 375
2. Helio Castroneves, 301
3. Will Power, 294
4. Scott Dixon, 285
5. Josef Newgarden, 283
6. Tony Kanaan, 280
7. Carlos Munoz, 262
8. Graham Rahal, 261
9. Juan Pablo Montoya, 259
10. Alexander Rossi, 257

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”