IndyCar let the yellow go long so street sweepers could clean up the off-line marbles. Behind the pace car sat Helio Castroneves, Connor Daly, Hinchcliffe, Pagenaud, and Dixon.
On the restart, Daly nabbed Castroneves going into Turn 1 and got the lead! Connor is the son of ex-F1 and CART driver Derek Daly. Connor subbed for the injured Hinchcliffe a few times in 2015 and his strong performances landed him a fulltime ride in a Dale Coyne Honda for 2016. Another driver finding his rhythm at Indy, Connor only qualified 22nd, but good strategy gave him a shot at the lead.
And not only did he hold that lead but he began to gap Helio! This rookie American in a backmarker car was pulling away from IndyCar’s longest serving active driver in a far superior Penske Chevy. How was Daly doing it? With clean air, could he win the race?
>Pagenaud wasn’t about to let the race he had so utterly dominated slip through his fingers. He worked his way past Hinchcliffe early and then saved tires and fuel following his teammate. When Connor came in for his final stop, Pagenaud turned up the funk and banged out hot lap after hot lap. His in-laps were enough to give him the lead when pit stops shook out. Connor’s stop was quite good, but his final set of tires slowed him down. He would be picked off until he crossed the finish line in 6th. While that would be a disappointment to some, this matches his best ever IndyCar finish. If he can keep up these kinds of results, the bigger teams will certainly take notice.
There was no stopping Pagenaud though. He crossed the finish line with a healthy 4.5 second lead over teammate Castroneves. Hinchcliffe finished 3rd, a great result after his huge wreck here a year ago. Graham Rahal moved up 20 positions to finish 4th followed by Kimball in 5th.
Helio came over to congratulate Simon on his third win in a row.