Pagenaud finishes ninth, Castroneves 13th
Nashville, Tenn. (7 August 2022) – The excitement of the second-ever Big Machine Music City Grand Prix did not disappoint as Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) came home with a ninth and 13th place finish on Sunday after an up and down race.
Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves were both on competitive runs as the 80 lap race on the streets of Nashville got underway. Seven caution periods and one red flag slowed the charge, but calculated strategy but the team brought both MSR Hondas to the finish which saw just 15 cars [out of 26] make it to the checkered.
Pagenaud was running second past the midway point after a long series of cautions, and set his sights on the race leader. However, the driver of the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda began experiencing a mechanical issue in the rear end of the car, with the No. 60 Honda losing drive coming out of the corners.
Despite the issue, the MSR team didn’t give up, constantly looking for ways for Pagenaud to mitigate the issue and bring the No. 60 to the finish. Pagenaud fell to 12th after his final pit stop with 20 laps remaining, and managed to avoid a melee-strewn run to the checkered flag to take ninth at the red-flag delayed checkered flag.
MSR teammate Castroneves made an impressive charge to 13th after starting 26th due to a grid violation. The No. 06 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda charged to 16th when rapidly degrading tires caused a spin for Castroneves on lap 22. Four laps later, Castroneves was forced to come to a full stop when the track was blocked on a restart, causing him to pit for a new nose and thus going a lap down .
Castroneves was quick for the remainder of the event, but could not regain the lead lap, although he was able to get behind the race leader with 25 laps remaining. Castroneves brought home the No. 06 Honda in 13th.
Only three races remain in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, with the next race the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 on August 20 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill.
“Today was really a grueling race and I have to give it up to the guys, on both cars, for keeping calm and doing everything right. With Simon, we had a top three car today, no doubt. We were struggling with an issue in the rear of the car and Simon just did a perfect job holding onto it for the majority of the race. Helio managed to still come back after getting caught in a few incidents. Overall today was a win for us to finish with both of our cars.”
“Around lap 25 we had an issue with the rear end of the car, something was slipping and I had no drive coming out of the corners. But overall getting a ninth place with such an issue for almost the entire race is awesome. Car was a lot go fun to drive. There was a lot of bumping and racing today, and it was a grind. We finished ninth and collected some points for the championship. It’s nice to have a positive after the last few races.”
“Wow what a race, there were a lot of things going on. We didn’t have the fastest pace, but we had some pace. Unfortunately I called three corners before [I spun] that the rears are falling off and it caught me right on the exit of the corner. We were still able to come back from it. Then there was a traffic jam and I ended up getting caught in the middle of that situation and we lost a lap. After that it was just trying to get to the finish. I can’t believe we finished P13 considering we started last. Have to thank the entire team for great stops and great strategy today.”