[media-credit name=”milwaukeeindyfest.com” align=”alignright” width=”210″][/media-credit]WEST ALLIS, Wis., Saturday, June 16, 2012 – For the eighth consecutive race, rookie Simon Pagenaud has been running at the finish of an IZOD IndyCar Series event. It’s consistent performances like he produced in Saturday’s MilwaukeeIndyFest that are keeping him near the top-five in championship points.
After starting seventh, the Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports driver finished 13th in Saturday’s 225-lap IZOD IndyCar Series race that was part of the Milwaukee IndyFest on The MilwaukeeMile in West Allis, Wis.
Driving the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, Pagenaud finished one lap down to the leaders, but was still running competitive laps times all the way to the finish.
An ill-timed pit stop and an error during another pit stop cost valuable time that put the HP car down one lap on two different occasions. Through hard driving and strong strategy, the team was able to gain one lap back early in the race. But Pagenaud could not overcome the final one-lap deficit.
“It was a good race, but I wasted an opportunity to score a lot of points,” said Pagenaud after the race. “I’m very disappointed in that factor. The HP guys did a really good job providing me a good car. We ran every lap, so I’ll have good experience for next year.”
Though he finished one lap down, Pagenaud was running with the leaders late in the race, proving that he had a good race car under him.
“I was running with the leaders and, unfortunately, I think that’s something we could have done all day long,” said Pagenaud. “But I didn’t help my self in the pits there. I’m obviously not up to speed with an oval car in the pits. But, it’s going to get better. As I learn ovals, I’m going to go through phases.”
Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay won the Milwaukee IndyFest by 5.1029 seconds over KV Racing’s Tony Kanaan. It’s Huner-Reay’s second win at Milwaukee, his sixth career IndyCar win and his first win in 2012.
Kanaan’s second-place finish was his best in 2012. He finished third at Indianapolis and fourth at Long Beach.
Hunter-Reay’s teammate at Andretti Autosport, James Hinchclifffe, finished third. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Oriol Servia and KV Racing’s EJ Viso rounded out the top five.
The race was slowed by five caution flags for a total of 51 yellow-flag laps.
With a 12th-place finish, Will Power maintains his lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship with 274 points. Hincliffe climbs into second place with 243 points on the strength of his podium finish inMilwaukee. Scott Dixon is now third with 239, while Hunter-Reay is fourth with 233. Castroneves rounds out the top five with 231, and Pagenaud is sixth with 216.
So far in 2012, there have been 1,063 laps of racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Pagenaud has completed the most laps of all drivers this year. He and the HP team have completed 1,061 of the 1,063 possible laps of competition to date.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series event is the Iowa Corn 250 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, on Saturday night, June 23, 2012.