Frenchman says staying out of trouble was one of the keys to victory.
Simon Pagenaud of France won his second career IndyCar race, coming out on top Sunday in a crash-marred Grand Prix of Baltimore.
Pagenaud outlasted American Josef Newgarden, his relatively clean performance on the 2.04-mile (3.3km) circuit paying off in a race that saw six full-course cautions and almost every car sustaining some damage.
“The car was fantastic,” said Pagenaud, the Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports driver who added a second IndyCar title to the one he won in Detroit in June.
“We got very lucky on the restarts. I pushed hard on the last restart against Marco (Andretti) and TK (Tony Kanaan). Awesome job for the HP team. They’ve been awesome this weekend and I guess it’s good for the championship.”
Pagenaud crossed the finish line in the 75-lap race 4.1sec in front Newgarden, the 2011 Indy Lights champion who notched his first IndyCar podium finish.
“I really wanted to give Simon a run for his money,” Newgarden said. “I think we had the pace for him, we just had no brakes left.”
France’s Sebastien Bourdais, who started 22nd and led 19 laps, finished third, while England’s Justin Wilson overcame mechanical issues to finish fourth. Switzerland’s Simona De Silvestro celebrated her 25th birthday with a fifth-placed finish.
New Zealand’s Scott Dixon started on pole but exited on the 53rd lap after a brush with Australian Will Power on a re-start.
That meant Helio Castroneves, who went into the race 38 points ahead of Dixon atop the standings, gained more ground with his ninth-place finish.
Brazil’s Castroneves now tops the standings with 501 points, 49 in front of Dixon with three races remaining.
Pagenaud moved into third in the standings on 431 points.