LEXINGTON, Ohio, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 – For the third time in this IZOD IndyCar Series season, Simon Pagenaud ended a race day standing on the coveted podium after finishing third in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
Driving the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, Pagenaud executed a strategic race plan directed by Sam Schmidt Motorsport’s General Manager Rob Edwards. The Frenchman started third and never dropped below sixth place, even during pit stop cycles.
Despite being on a two-stop strategy which meant he needed to conserve fuel for several laps, Pagenaud spent most of the race in third place, proving that the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP car was one of the fastest cars Sunday.
“We were close on fuel and I was saving heaps of fuel on that last stint to finish the race,” said Pagenaud. “The car was so good on the reds (tires). It was just awesome. It was a really good race, so thanks to the HP guys for providing me with such a good race car.”
After struggling in recent street and road course races on Firestone red tires, the Schmidt Hamilton HP team solved their red-tire issue during last week’s Mid-Ohio test allowing Pageanaud to make a big leap in on-track performance.
“We made a big, big step forward this weekend, and it will be good for Sonoma as well,” said Pagenaud.
While Pagenaud was celebrating his third podium this season, another IZOD IndyCar Series driver was earning a new nickname.
Scott Dixon is becoming ‘Mr. Mid-Ohio’ after capturing Sunday’s 85-lap race, which is his fourth Mid-Ohio win in the past six years. The win is also Dixon’s second of the season and 29th of his IndyCar career.
Dixon won the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio by 3.4619 seconds over Team Penske’s Will Power, who was the pole winner in Saturday’s qualifying.
Following Pagenaud across the line and rounding out the top five were Dragon Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais and Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe.
There were three lead changes among three drivers, with Power leading the most laps with 57.
With his second-place finish, Power took over the lead of the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. He leads Ryan Hunter-Reay, 379-374. Hunter-Reay finished 24th after retiring with engine issues on lap 79.
Another driver sliding in the championship point standings is Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves. The Brazilian is now in third and is closely followed by Dixon, 353-351. James Hinchcliffe rounds out the top five with 316 points.
Pagenaud is sixth in the championship with 311 points, just three behind Hinchcliffe.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series event is the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 26 at the raceway in Sonoma, Calif.