Simon Pagenaud has an enviable record of winning the Indy 500, along with championships in the NTT IndyCar Series, and sports cars in ALMS. The 2023 season started with him earning a Rolex watch for the overall win at the 24hrs of Daytona, but so far, his Indy car season has suffered from a lack of competitiveness. We spoke with Pagenaud just off the red carpet at the “100 Days To Indy” reality TV show premiere in Long Beach this past April. He candidly talks about what he’s gone through and how he’s looking forward to turning the situation around and getting back to his winning ways. He also talks about the mental aspects of preparing for a race weekend, working with his engineers and his thoughts going into the Indy 500. Enjoy!
NOTE: Pagenaud’s season didn’t get much better after we spoke. A mediocre finish at Long Beach (15th) followed by a DNF (crash) at Indianapolis along with some other poor finishes has plagued his season this year. His best finish so far is 13th (Detroit) which is not good for a guy who is accustomed to being competitive. It got worse at Mid-Ohio when he lost his brakes in practice doing about 180 mph. He literally flew (about 150 feet) off the track, then barrel-rolled six-and-a-half times, before coming to rest upside down stuffed into the tire barrier. He was able to walk away but due to IndyCar’s concussion protocol he was not allowed to race there or at Toronto. Here’s hoping that the second half of the season brings Pagenaud some better luck and results.
By Larry Mason
Copyright © 2023 Larry Mason
Simon Pagenaud and FastLane’s Larry Mason share a laugh just off the red carpet at the premier of the CW Network’s show, “100 Days To Indy.”–Photo courtesy of SRM Photography
During the 2023 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, the camera crew were not shy about getting up close and personal with Pagenaud to add intrigue to the TV show’s appeal.
Early during race weekend, Pagenaud hustles his SiriusXM AutoNation Dallara around Turn 10. AutoNation has donated over 37 million dollars to help fight cancer through their DRV PNK initiative.
You want to be close, just not too close to the unforgiving concrete barriers of a street course. Pagenaud is angling in towards this one in Turn 6 at Long Beach. It looks like a couple of other drivers overstepped their bounds!
Simon Pagenaud gives a warm embrace to Cathy Shumaker who is working as a fire, pit-marshal for him at Long Beach. Over the years, they have become good friends.
Early in the race, Pagenaud leads two of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan entries of Christian Lundgaard and Jack Harvey in front of the packed grandstands down the long Shoreline Drive.
Pagenaud takes a moment for a photo op with the guy who created this banner.
Interview and photos Copyright © by Larry Mason (unless otherwise noted)