Interview

Simon Pagenaud Showing Pace While Keeping it Fun

TORONTO, Ontario — Simon Pagenaud knows how to have fun off the track, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t fast once on the speedway.

The Team Penske driver has been fast through all three practices at the Honda Indy Toronto thus far, setting a quick lap of 59.3651 seconds to lead the final session ahead of time trials. While there are many challenges to being fast as he is, he says the biggest is the unpredictability of the track.

“The surface is really different in each of the corners,” he told POPULAR OPEN WHEEL. “You really have to adapt to everything that is happening to you. You can’t really plan ahead; you have to drive as you go, which I love about it.”

A victory on Sunday would continue to add to his success this season, highlighted by winning the Indianapolis 500 in May. Pagenaud enters the weekend ranked third in points following eight top-10 finishes.

Moving into the second half of the year, he says it will be critical for his team to continuing executing.

“Qualifying needs to be strong, race needs to be just as strong; it’s the same for everyone,” he commented. “I think the team is doing a fantastic job. I don’t have anything we need to do better. We just need to continue to be just as good everywhere we go. That’s what we need to do.”

While he is being successful on-track, he is also entertaining the fans off of the speedway, as part of the Penske Games.

“Those are fun, and the competition doesn’t matter too much if you win or lose there,” he said. “Again, it’s a game of personality. It was such a great idea from the marketing, PR people at Team Penske. I really enjoy bonding also with my NASCAR teammates, sportscar, and V8 supercar guys. It really showcases what Team Penske is all about.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularOpenWheel.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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