Pagenaud was surging ahead.
Pagenaud’s form during the opening
races was rare by any recent measure in
IndyCar, where the tightness of the field
tends to conspire against streaks. At the
time, the last driver to enjoy a similar run
had been Power, and that was back in
2010. But what made it all the more
incongruous in Pagenaud’s case was that it
required a dramatic reversal of form after a
disconcerting first year with Penske.
Some of those close to Pagenaud
argue that his first Penske campaign was
better than the numbers made it look,
and to an extent they have a point.
Nevertheless, by finishing adrift of the top
10 in the points for the first time in his
career, Pagenaud gave himself a lot of
homework to do during the winter. But
he is a cerebral guy, and he put the long
off-season to good use.
The morning after the finale,
and proud new “Champion”
cap owner Pagenaud is
sleep-deprived, but spritely –
much to our writer Mark
A golden streak during the opening
races, including wins at Long Beach
and the Indy road course (ABOVE
LEFT and FAR LEFT), put Pagenaud
into a strong championship position
early on, and from that point on it was
all about maintaining his composure.
A SEASON IN THREE ACTS
The battle between Simon Pagenaud and Will Power for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar title was all about
the purple patches: Pagenaud’s lightning start, Power’s mid-year-surge, Pagenaud’s late charge.
BARBER(R) MID-OHIO(R) DETROIT2(S) SONOMA(R) ST.PETE(S) ROADAMERICA(R) INDYGP(R) POCONO(O) PHOENIX(O) IOWA(O) INDY500(O) TEXAS(O) LONGBEACH(S) TORONTO(S) DETROIT1(S) WATKINSGLEN(R)
KEY S = STREET COURSE; O = OVAL; R = ROAD COURSE