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Frenchman Simon Pagenaud completed the clean sweep of May by staving off Alexander Rossi to win a thrilling 103rd Indianapolis 500. Pagenaud claims his first Indy 500 victory after claiming both the Indy GP and pole position for the 500, completing a very successful and lucrative month. The win gives Roger Penske an astonishing 18th Indy 500 win and also puts Chevy into Victory Lane. This is sponsor John Menard’s first Indy 500 victory since first coming here in 1979 and spending millions of dollars on his V-6 Buick engine program throughout the 1990’s.
A perturbed Alexander Rossi finished a mere 0.2086 seconds behind Pagenaud, after battling uncooperative lapped traffic, a balky fuel probe, and what he felt was a horsepower deficiency. “We had the superior car, we just didn’t have enough at the end,” said a gutted Rossi. “It was pretty inevitable, on the final restart he (Pagenaud) just drove right by us.”
Takuma Sato fought back from a lap down to finish third, just 0.3413 seconds behind Pagenaud, while Josef Newgarden, Will Power, and Ed Carpenter completed the top six. Santino Ferrucci was the highest finishing rookie with a sterling seventh place finish.
Pagenaud averaged 175.794 MPH and said his car “was on rails today. We did execute perfectly — no mistakes. The milk motivated me!”