Pagenaud makes it back-to-back wins by prevailing at Twin Ring Motegi
4/18/2020 7:26:22 PM EST
Simon Pagenaud posted his second straight IndyCar iRacing Challenge victory, as he prevailed in the Firestone 175 at virtual Twin Ring Motegi in Japan on Saturday.
Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing finished second, .0342 seconds behind Pagenaud in the 113-lap oval race.
Pagenaud moved into the lead on Lap 106 as his Team Penske teammates Will Power and Scott McLaughlin -- who were competing for the lead -- were involved in an accident with McLaren's Oliver Askew. The car of Askew nipped Power and caused the latter's vehicle to send McLaughlin's car into the fence to end his day.
Pagenaud later bumped side-to-side with Power, and the impact ripped off the wing of Power's car. Dixon moved into second at that point, but Pagenaud held off the hard-charging Dixon for the victory.
Pagenaud won the Chevrolet 275 at virtual Michigan International Speedway one week ago.
"Back to back how about that!!" Pagenaud said on Twitter after winning. "Amazing @iRacing #IndyCar Challenge today at Motegi! Awesome strategy again and that was a great drag race with Dixon at the end. Cheers everybody!"
The post included video of him celebrating with a bottle of champagne -- just like a week earlier -- and also with his dog.
Power finished third, his fourth top-five finish through four races of the six-race virtual series. Marcus Ericsson (Ganassi) placed fourth and pole-sitter Robert Wickens (McLaren) crossed fifth.
"We finished 5.8 seconds off the lead," Wickens tweeted. "Really happy with that ..."
It wasn't a fun day for Marco Andretti, who finished 25th for Andretti Autosport.
"Just drove an entire race with damage that I didn't know I had," Andretti tweeted. "Used fast repair on last stop and picked up a second. My lack of sim experience. Bummer."
Pagenaud had no such issues and was ready to make his move when the mishap involving Power and McLaughlin occurred.
"I'm wanting to go to the front. I know I can, but I'm taking care of the tires and fuel, trying to understand how the cars around me are evolving," Pagenaud told NBC Sports afterward about his tactics. "I knew if we were a bit patient, we could get them.
"Will ran a great race, and Scott was strong as well, but the strategy put us in front, and we finished there. That's all that matters."
Veteran driver Helio Castroneves (Penske) was 29th in his first iRacing event. James Hinchcliffe (Andretti) experienced technical issues and was unable to make it into the field of 33.
--Field Level Media