Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud, Roger Penske honored at White House

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FORT WORTH, Texas – The next stop on Simon Pagenaud’s Indianapolis 500 Victory Tour will be the White House on Monday afternoon when the winner of the 103rd Indy 500 will be honored by President Donald Trump.

Trump called team owner Roger Penske and Pagenaud in Victory Lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after the driver from France won the Indy 500 on May 26. Trump invited both to the White House for a congratulatory visit, and that will take place Monday.

Pagenaud and Penske will lead a group of about 35 Team Penske crew members along with IndyCar CEO Mark Miles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Boles and Allison Melangton, the senior Vice president of events for Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Penske’s partner and sponsor, John Menard.

Pagenaud is the first Indianapolis 500 winner to be honored by a president of the United States since Sam Hornish, Jr. was honored by President George W. Bush in July 2006. Buddy Rice and Team Rahal were honored by President Bush in July 2004 with a ceremony in front of the White House Portico, followed by a tour of the Oval Office.

This will be Penske’s second trip to the White House to meet President Trump this year. Joey Logano and his NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series team were honored in a Rose Garden Ceremony by President Trump on April 30.

“We’re excited about that,” Penske told Saturday night after Josef Newgarden won the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. “We’re taking the team to the White House and with the win in the Indy 500 with Simon Pagenaud and the president talking to him in victory lane, this caps it off for a great five or six weeks.

“The President called me in victory lane after the Indy 500 victory and said he wanted us to come as soon as we could. We put it all together and we are going on Monday.

“The Indianapolis 500 is an icon, worldwide, and to have the President of the United States recognize that, it’s pretty special.”

Team Penske president Tim Cindric was part of the Logano visit with President Trump in April. He is excited to get to go again.

“We might be on a first-name basis by now,” Cindric told “I got to talk to him about the hole-in-one that I made at Trump National in Charlotte.

“To go there twice with two different organizations and two different groups says something about the entire Penske Racing operation.”

Will Power shows Flavor Flav what time it is in IndyCar: ‘This is the highlight of the weekend’

Will Power Flavor Flav
Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment

DETROIT – When Flavor Flav unexpectedly showed up in Team Penske’s pits for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix weekend, Will Power knew what time it was.

So the defending NTT IndyCar Series champion dropped it on the man who made oversized clocks as fashion accessories famous.

And he used the kind of wordplay that was the pride of Public Enemy (the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rap group led by Chuck D with Flavor Flav as loyal sidekick).

“I said to Flavor Flav, ‘You know, people today are going to have to ‘Fight the Power,’ ” Power said with a broad smirk, referencing one of Public Enemy’s most memorable and strident anthems. “And it was true! They had to ‘Fight the Power.’ ”

With a second place in Detroit, the No. 12 Dallara-Chevy driver earned his best finish since last September and impressed a musical hero who apparently attended his first IndyCar race this weekend and promptly fell in love with the sport.

After being interviewed by NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee during the Peacock qualifying broadcast Saturday, Flavor Flav made the rounds. He met with Roger Penske in Team Penske’s at-track headquarters and also ran into Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (who was at the track Saturday).

“I have a great picture of Roger Penske, the governor and Flavor Flav,” Detroit Grand Prix chairman Bud Denker said. “It’s a great one. I’ll cherish that one for a long time. It’s pretty precious.”

With the Detroit GP holding nightly free concerts in Hart Plaza inside the race course, Flav made an impromptu appearance to freestyle at Big Boi’s show Friday before also showing up during Steve Aoki’s Saturday night set.

He then rode with Power and his wife, Liz, in a pickup truck around the 1.645-mile street course during driver introductions Sunday morning.

Flav was wearing a red No. 12 Will Power shirt that the defending series champion believes was purchased at a track merchandise trailer.

“That is the highlight of the weekend,” he said. “Flavor Flav was wearing my shirt, man.”

It was a dream come true for the two-time IndyCar champion and 2018 Indy 500 winner. Power, 42, grew up listening to Public Enemy with his buddies in Toowoomba, Australia, and they went nuts when he posted photos with Flavor Flav to his personal Facebook page.

“My friends are like, ‘Dude, you should just quit racing now. You have made it to the top,’ ” Power said. “We all listened to Public Enemy, and they would never believe that I actually would be hanging out with Flavor Flav. That is nuts. I’ll have to go Vegas to hang out with him. Maybe we’ll do a rap together.”

“Yeeaaah, boy!” third-place finisher Felix Rosenqvist, who apparently gave “It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back” a few spins while growing up in Sweden, chimed in during the postrace news conference.

The only disappointment for Power was coming up 1.1843 seconds short of beating Alex Palou.

Flav had promised to celebrate on the podium if Power had won the race.

“He is the most positive dude you will ever meet,” Power said. “Pretty cool experience. Pretty cool to put it on your personal Facebook.

“All your friends that you went to school with, they’re like, ‘Man this dude is big-time, he’s hanging out with Flavor Flav. ‘I sat next to Ice-T at dinner. I have also had dinner with Slash from Guns N’ Roses. I wish I got videos of those ones as well so I could put it on the personal Facebook

“No one cares about race cars or that I won the Indy 500. It’s like, ‘You had dinner with Slash? You know Flavor Flav?’ Yeah!”

Power already has in mind some future musical guests he’d like to meet, starting with another of Detroit’s own.

“I’m more of a ’90s rap guy, but if I met Eminem, that would also be epic,” Power said. “Ice Cube’s the one, man. If I could meet Ice Cube or Snoop Dogg in Long Beach. Why doesn’t someone bring them to Long Beach? Maybe they should have an Ice Cube day. That would be dope.”