Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates with Roger Penske his crew in victory lane
And just like that, Simon Pagenaud is no longer on the figurative hot seat.
Following the first clean sweep in the modern history of the month of May, the veteran Frenchman appears to have earned himself a seat at Team Penske in 2020 should he want it.
Pagenaud, despite earning the 2016 NTT INDYCAR Series championship for Team Penske, seemed like a logical candidate for replacement if team owner Roger Penske intended to pursue impending free agent Alexander Rossi during the off-season.
After all, Pagenaud went winless in 2018 and struggled out of the gate in 2019. But then Pagenaud opened the month with a victory in the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Road Course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, then captured the pole for the Indianapolis 500, and won the Greatest Spectacle in Racing itself on Sunday.
Roger Penske says rumors of his driver’s ever-growing chances of dismissal were media constructed.
“I don’t think that I said anything to the media about Simon,” Penske said. “He’s on our team. He’s one of our drivers. You’ve seen that. That was scuttlebutt. I think that’s a good word for it.
“What he did this month… certainly he achieved records in his own personal life and certainly what he had expected to, and the run today, it’s a history book run… he did a great job.”
And when asked point blank if Penske would have Pagenaud back in 2020, The Captain did not mince words.
“What do you think? Do you want to answer that question for me? Absolutely.”
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