2016 IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud has signed a contract extension to remain with Team Penske through at least the 2019 IndyCar season.
Simon Pagenaud has signed a contract extension to remain with Team Penske through the 2019 IndyCar season and beyond. However, the exact length of this contract extension has not been disclosed. The 34-year-old Frenchman won the IndyCar championship in the 2016 season.
Pagenaud is currently in his seventh season as a full-time IndyCar driver and his fourth season driving for Team Penske, as he began driving full-time in IndyCar in the 2012 season and he began driving for Team Penske in the 2015 season.
Through the first 14 races of this season, Pagenaud has racked up 11 top 10 finishes and two top five finishes, both of which are second place finishes. He currently sits in seventh in the championship standings with an average starting position of 7.1 and an average finishing position of 9.4.
Referencing the fact that there were recent rumors that Team Penske may try to sign Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Robert Wickens as his replacement for next season, here is what Pagenaud had to say about re-signing with the team, according to RACER.
"“I don’t know how that got started or where it came from but I won the championship and finished second last year. I’m very happy here and glad we are moving on.”"
Here is what Team Penske team owner Roger Penske had to say about re-signing Pagenaud as well as 2014 IndyCar champion and 2018 Indianapolis 500 champion Will Power, according to RACER.
"“Yes, everything is set and everyone is coming back. It’s a good group.”"
Pagenaud competed full-time in Champ Car in the 2007 season driving for Team Australia and finished in eighth place in the championship standings with nine top 10 finishes and six top five finishes in the season’s 14 races. His average starting position was 6.2 and his average finishing position was 7.6.
Pagenaud has competed in 118 races over the course of his IndyCar career so far. He has earned 11 victories, 28 podium finishes and eight pole positions in those 118 races. His average starting position is 8.5 and his average finishing position is 8.2. His most recent victory came in the 2017 season finale at Sonoma Raceway.
A total of seven of Pagenaud’s 11 career victories, 18 of his 28 career podium finishes and 10 of his 11 career pole positions have come during his tenure at Team Penske. In each of his three full-time seasons in IndyCar before he drove for Team Penske, he drove for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
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All four of Pagenaud’s other career victories, all 10 of his other career podium finishes and his other career pole position came during this three-year span from the 2012 season through the 2014 season. None of these victories, podium finishes or pole positions came when he drove in three races for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and HVM Racing in the 2011 season.
The best season of Pagenaud’s IndyCar career so far has undoubtedly been the 2016 season, which resulted in him winning his first career IndyCar championship. He won career-high five races and earned a career-high eight podium finishes that season, and he also secured a career-high eight pole positions. He had a career-high average starting position of 3.9 and an average finishing position of 6.1.
Pagenaud recorded his career-high average finishing position of 5.3 last season en route to a second place finish in the championship standings.
In seven career Indianapolis 500 starts, Pagenaud has three top 10 finishes. Two of those three top 10 finishes have come in his four Indy 500 starts as a Team Penske driver, including his career-high finish of sixth place in this year’s Indy 500 after he started in a career-high second. This second place start was his fourth career top eight start in the race and his third as a Team Penske driver.
How will Simon Pagenaud perform throughout the remainder of the 2018 IndyCar season? Will he earn at least one victory before the season concludes, and if not, will he bounce back next season in what is set to be his eighth season as a full-time driver in the sport and his fifth season driving for Team Penske?