Hanging near the top pf the pack for the majority of the race, Simon Pagenaud took his second lead of the afternoon in the 49th lap and held on to take the checkered flag at the Grand Prix of Houston on Sunday, June 29, 2014.
The Montmorillon, France native, driving the No. 77 car for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, traversed the 90 laps on the 1.6 mile street course in the time of 1 hour, 51.43 seconds for the title.
Pagenaud, who began in the No. 3 position, led for 43 laps during the race, with early leader Helio Castroneves leading for the remaining 47 laps.
Castroneves, driving the No. 3 car for Team Penske, had contact with the wall in Turn 6 in his 48th lap, leaving the course after 54 minutes of racing with an overall 22nd place finish.
The race was very quick; only being slowed down by five cautions, with over eleven drivers completing all 90 laps.
Pagenaud’s teammate and rookie driver Mikhail Aleshin finished in second place, 7.2622 second behind Pagenaud. He average 78.896 miles per hour during the 90-lap race. Another rookie, Jack Hawksworth, finished in the No. 3 spot, 17.0208 second behind the top finisher; earning 35 driver points for the effort.
With the rest of the field either not completing the course or finishing over 18 seconds behind Pagenaud; the race definitely belonged to the Frenchman.
Pagenaud took the pole in Saturday’s race, only to finish in sixteenth place, competing only 74 laps. During Sunday qualifying, he took the No. 3 spot for the afternoon race and use only two pit stops in route to his victory.
The wins was the second of the season for Pagenaud; winning his first race of 2014 at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on June 10. He started in the No. 4 position and won over No.2 finisher Sebastian Saavedra by 0.8906 seconds.
When asked how he felt about the weekend as a whole during the post-race press conference, he responded:
“I say it’s fantastic for the race team and the entire organization. I think Mekhail’s second (place finish) is incredible. I think its part of the contribution to the team and he’s been a tremendous teammate and certainly was today. I can’t thank him enough for being such a good teammate. Its working very well.”
The drivers and their racing team next head to Long Pond, Pennsylvania and the Pocono IndyCar 500 on July 6, 2014.