Simon Pagenaud wins IndyCar iRacing event at Twin Ring Motegi

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VIRTUAL MOTEGI, Japan — Simon Pagenaud won his second consecutive race in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge, capturing Twin Ring Motegi by capitalizing after two Team Penske teammates had an incident with 10 laps remaining.

Will Power and Scott McLaughlin were racing hard for the lead with 10 laps remaining when they made contact with the lapped car of Oliver Askew.

Pagenaud swept into the lead and held off a furious charge by Scott Dixon, who finished a career-best second in the series. Power finished third, followed by Marcus Ericsson and Robert Wickens.

“It was a crazy race,” Pagenaud, who wore a firesuit again as in his win last week at Michigan International Speedway, told the IndyCar on NBC broadcast. “Very hectic with Will at one point and with Dixon at the end. I work hard all week to be competitive, and I think I’m catching up. I think I’m getting there.

“I’m having a lot of fun. It’s so stressful. You’re still lacking a lot of feedback. I’m relearning a way to race.”

RESULTS: Click here to see where everyone finished at Twin Ring Motegi

WHAT DRIVERS SAID: Postrace reaction from Motegi

LET’S RACE TWO: IndyCar drivers like doubleheaders

The 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner said he is spending at least three to four hours a day on his simulator rig to hone his skills.

“That’s the only way you’re going to be competitive,” he said. “Everyone is such athletes and competitors. I want to put in the hours, and I believe hard work pays off.”

The top 10 was rounded out by Jack Harvey, Sage Karam, Zach Veach, Santino Ferrucci and Graham Rahal.

Two-time NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Busch finished 13th in his IndyCar iRacing debut after starting 25th.

There was one caution in the race, a pileup on Lap 5 that altered some strategies.

Penske’s Josef Newgarden attempted to stretch his fuel tank by nearly 10 laps but finally had to pit with 15 to go, which handed the lead to Power and set up the final twist.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.