Simon Pagenaud has claimed the fourth win of his IndyCar Series win in the final leg of Houston’s double-header. The Frenchman led home a 1-2 for the Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports team ahead of rookie teammate Mikhail Aleshin, while fellow rookie Jack Hawksworth also earned his first podium finish with a fine drive to third.
Hawksworth picked up the final podium spot after series leader Will Power – who’d charged into the top-three from a lowly 18th on the grid – encountered problems with just two laps to go. The Australian limped his Penske across the line to finish eleventh, but saw his championship lead extended to 39 points after his nearest rival, teammate Hélio Castroneves, tangled with Sébastien Bourdais.
Castroneves had himself looked on course to claim a possible victory, but the Brazilian found himself eliminated just before half-distance in a race littered with on-track incidents.
It all kicked off after Race 1 podium finisher Carlos Muñoz crashed out, bringing out the Safety Car. An aggressive Bourdais nipped by Power to claim third at the restart, and the Frenchman then set about getting by second-placed Castroneves.
The Brazilian had been using some interesting braking lines over the course of the weekend, and after a couple of near-misses in Saturday’s race, it was perhaps predictable that he would come undone. Under braking, he chopped across Bourdais’ nose, leaving the Frenchman with no option but to pitch him into the wall and immediate retirement.
At the next restart, Montoya demoted Power from the second place he’d inherited; both Power and Bourdais slipped down the field with the respective handling issues.
Another full-course caution was triggered by the retirement of Josef Newgarden, which allowed the rest of the field to make their final pit stops.
Takuma Sato was the race’s final retiree; like Newgarden, he clocked up a double DNF after smacking the concrete wall.
Power had recovered to third behind the leading SPHM Hondas, but a suspension issue in the final two laps dropped him down the field again. Hawksworth was leading a great scrap for what was now the final podium spot, beating home Charlie Kimball.
2014 IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Houston – Race 2 Result (90 laps):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||Simon Pagenaud||Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda||1:51:43.0625|
|2.||Mikhail Aleshin||Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda||+ 7.2622|
|3.||Jack Hawksworth||Bryan Herta Autosport Honda||+ 17.0208|
|4.||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||+ 18.5927|
|5.||Sébastien Bourdais||KV Racing Technology Honda||+ 20.2366|
|6.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport Honda||+ 25.3920|
|7.||Juan Pablo Montoya||Team Penske Chevrolet||+ 30.2312|
|8.||Ryan Briscoe||Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||+ 30.5917|
|9.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport Honda||+ 31.3259|
|10.||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||+ 50.3098|
|11.||Will Power||Team Penske Chevrolet||+ 1:12.7735|
|12.||Justin Wilson||Dale Coyne Racing Honda||– 1 lap|
|13.||Mike Conway||Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet||– 1 lap|
|14.||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport Honda||– 1 lap|
|15.||Luca Filippi||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda||– 2 laps|
|16.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda||– 3 laps|
|17.||Sebastián Saavedra||KV Racing Technology / AFS Racing Honda||– 6 laps|
|18.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||– 12 laps|
|DNF.||Takuma Sato||A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda||74 laps|
|DNF.||Josef Newgarden||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda||61 laps|
|DNF.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske Chevrolet||48 laps|
|DNF.||Carlos Muñoz||Andretti Autosport Honda||40 laps|
|DNF.||Carlos Huertas||Dale Coyne Racing Honda||2 laps|
Images via Motorsport.com