INDIANAPOLIS – Heading into the Month of May, Simon Pagenaud was rumored to be a free agent at seasons end. Also, Alexander Rossi was confirmed to be a free agent too. When Team Penske hired Rossi to be their endurance driver in IMSA competition for 2019, it was speculated to be an experiment for a future seat.
With Rossi being a coveted driver, who would Penske let go?
Josef Newgarden just won the 2017 series championship and is second in the points now. Since the start of the 2017 season, Newgarden has eight wins, 21 top five finishes, 32 top 10’s and five poles. He’s not likely going anywhere.
Will Power was in Pagenaud’s shoes last year but he then won the Indy 500 and saved his job. In the same time frame, Power has won six races to go along with 19 top five finishes, 24 top 10’s and 11 poles.
Rossi, had five wins, 19 top fives, 29 top 10’s and five poles.
In comparison, heading into this weekend the Month, Pagenaud had two wins, none since the 2017 season finale, 17 top fives, 32 top 10’s and one pole. If anyone was going to go, some would think it had to be the driver riding a 21 race winless streak and just four top five finishes in his last 21 starts.
Then, he won the INDYCAR Grand Prix on May 11. Then, he won the pole a week later for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500. Then, home won the ‘500 on Sunday. That ended any doubt on his future. He is a Penske driver.
Roger Penske said there’s no question now that Pagenaud will be back for 2020. Pagenaud, can think Indy for that. Penske, has always made it clear that he will always have a ride for Indy 500 winners for him.
Pagenaud, delivered when it mattered the most for him.