INDIANAPOLIS – The Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a bit puzzling for defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud. He entered the month on top of the points standings after coming off of a win in the last race at Phoenix. He also had four straight top five finishes to his credit, three of which were on the podium.
Instead, it was a struggling time.
Pagenaud, didn’t make the Fast Six in the IndyCar Grand Prix and lacked the speed to compete for the win. He still finished fourth though.
In the Indy 500 itself, he started 23rd and finished 14th.
The good news is that he’s just 11 points behind the points lead when the smoke settled, tied with two other drivers (Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato) behind his teammate Helio Castroneves.
But now, we head to a track where Pagenaud has had some great success in the past. He got his first career IndyCar victory on the streets of Belle Isle, winning with Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports in 2013.
This weekend, he needs to put two good races together on the street course. He at least knows he’s good for at least one good finish, likely a podium, but he wants success in both races.
In 2015, he came home third in Race No. 1 and 14th in the second duel on Sunday. In 2016, he finished 13th in Duel No. 1 and second in Duel No. 2.
In 2014, it was a 22nd and sixth place effort respectively.
If he can put two good races together this weekend, he will be just fine for a hunt for a second straight series championship.