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article imageINDYCAR: Pagenaud wins fastest Grand Prix of Long Beach ever

By John Duarte     Apr 18, 2016 in Sports
Long Beach - Simon Pagenaud sped to victory at the fastest-ever Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Verizon IndyCar Series race on the streets of the California city.
The race lasted just under one hour and 34 minutes, making it the fastest event in the 33-year history of the event. The average speed of the race run on the streets of Long Beach was 100.59s miles per hour It was only the fourth Grand Prix of Long Beach to run without a caution period.
Pagenaud, who led the race two times for a total of 28 laps, was quick to praise race strategist Kyle Moyer and his team for the work they've done in preparing a car that has allowed him to finish in the Top 5 in all three Verizon IndyCar Series race so far this season.
“The team is jut on it this year. We've just gone a big step forward (compared to last year),” he said. “I believe there's more to come, so it feels great.”
Despite the lack of caution periods, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach didn't run without incident. Race runner-up Scott Dixon was not happy with Pagenaud crossed the blend line on exit to pit lane and should have been penalized for it. He said the rules are “clearly stated” at the two driver's meetings held each race weekend.
“You could not put more than two wheels over the line,” Dixon stated. “That was my understand.”
IndyCar officials looked at the incident and issued Pagenaud a warning. This didn't sit well with Dixon.
“This was the problem we had in the off-season, with people getting warnings all the time, especially when you're using it for your advantage.” Dixon pointed out, “There was about 40 or 50 warning zones in the rule book removed.
“I thought we had outlawed warnings,” he said. “I don't even know why we discussed the pit lane exit if we're not going to stick to the rules.”
IndyCar officials issued a statement after the race detailing their course of action as per the rule determining “lane usage' and stating that “Failing to follow designated procedures entering or exiting the pit area” carries a penalty ranging “from a warning (minimum), putting the driver to the back of the field (mid) and a drive-through or stop-and-go (maximum).” Officials deemed the minimum penalty was deemed sufficient in this case.
“Simon Pagenaud's action during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach were deemed an infraction per Rule,” the statement said. “IndyCar race stewards determined his actions were not deemed severe enough to warrant a harsher penalty than the warning that was issued.”
That didn't placate Dixon, in as much as he tried to mask his anger., but he was quick to absolve Pagenaud saying “he doesn't make the rules or put the rules forward.,” but that doesn't make it right.
“It is what it is,” he said. “I can't be mad at at him (Pagenaud), so I'll direct my anger some other direction.”
Finishing in third pace was Helio Castroneves, who started in the pole position and led the first 28 laps of the race.
Sunday's event was the first time the Grand Prix of Long Beach ran without a single caution period since 1989 and the first trouble-free IndyCar race in three years. It was also the first time since 2011 that the complete starting field was running at the end of the race.
Pagenaud marginally extends his lead on the Verizon IndyCar Series driver standings. He is now 14 points ahead of Dixon and 28 up on Juan Pablo Montoya.
The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is the fourth round of the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. The race runs at Barber Motorsports Park, in Birmingham, on April 24, 2016.
More about verizon indycar series, grand prix of long beach, simon pagenaud, Scott Disick, Auto racing
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