NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Pagenaud Outlasts Rahal for Barber Victory

Returning to the site of his 2011 Verizon IndyCar Series debut, points leader Simon Pagenaud parlayed a stellar drive from the pole and outlasted a battle with Graham Rahal to claim the April 24 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

After going winless in his first 18 races with Team Penske, Pagenaud now has back-to-back victories after scoring a controversial win at Long Beach on April 17.

After leading for the majority of the afternoon, Pagenaud found himself under pressure from Rahal in the closing stages of the 90-lap event when suddenly Rahal jumped on the push-to-pass and attempted to take the lead. The two made contact, with Pagenaud getting forced off of the track.

“That’s not a corner you can pass (on),” said Pagenaud to NBCSN after the race. “Oh well, I won the race.”

With damage to his wing, Rahal briefly held the lead until lap 86, when Pagenaud dove under him as the two worked their way around the lapped car of Jack Hawksworth. Seeing the battle behind him, Hawksworth elected to slow down and let the leaders by.

Unfortunately for Rahal, the move came unexpected. The Ohio native made contact with Hawksworth’s Honda, tearing the front wing off his machine. Pagenaud quickly took his No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinishes Team Penske Chevrolet back to the lead and cruised from there to the finish. Rahal would limp his Honda home in second, 13.7476 seconds back.

Defending winner Josef Newgarden maneuvered his way around Will Power in the final laps to take the final position on the podium.

Power came home in fourth, with Juan Pablo Montoya overcoming a 21st-place qualifying result to score fifth in a race that went caution-free for the final 88 laps.

James Hinchcliffe, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball and Scott Dixon rounded out the top 10. Dixon overcame an early spin to salvage points in a Coca-Cola sponsored livery.

The lone caution of the day came at the race’s start, as Carlos Muñoz, Mikhail Aleshin and Hawksworth made contact. The incident delayed the start of the race to lap 3.

The IndyCar Series will return for the May 14 Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the opening event of the Month of May.

Results:

  1. Simon Pagenaud
  2. Graham Rahal
  3. Josef Newgarden
  4. Will Power
  5. Juan Pablo Montoya
  6. James Hinchcliffe
  7. Helio Castroneves
  8. Tony Kanaan
  9. Charlie Kimball
  10. Scott Dixon
  11. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  12. Marco Andretti
  13. Takuma Sato
  14. Carlos Muñoz
  15. Alexander Rossi
  16. Sébastien Bourdais
  17. Mikhail Aleshin
  18. Luca Filippi
  19. Jack Hawksworth
  20. Conor Daly
  21. Max Chilton

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