FORT WORTH, Texas (June 6, 2019) –
Simon Pagenaud made the most of an unlikely ‘redo’ Thursday, starting the DXC Technology 600 weekend right claiming the championship in the inaugural Cowtown Pit Stop Challenge presented by Speedy Cash.
Due to some confusion over green flag procedure, Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Fitzgerald Chevrolet) completed the first run of the competition while Pagenaud (No. 22 DXC Technology Chevrolet) sat still at the start. The round win was originally awarded to Newgarden, but he agreed to give his teammate a fair chance, likely much to the chagrin of his team since the drivers were competing in the same cars that will go in excess of 220 mph this weekend on the track at Texas Motor Speedway.
Pagenaud won the second meeting, prompting Newgarden to declare playground rules on a best-two-of-three, much to the delight of more than 500 fans lining W. 2nd Street behind the Fort Worth Central Library.
Based off the opening press conference when the trophy was unveiled, it was no surprise.
“This changes things,” Newgarden laughed at the time. “Now that there’s a trophy involved, there’s going to be more effort. I can tell you that.”
“Any trophy is the most important thing for a race car driver, so we’ll fight it hard,” Pagenaud agreed.
In the third and deciding match up, the pit crew of Pagenaud reigned supreme, sending the black-and-white DXC Chevy to the final round.
That brought on the other semifinal match between Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Honda) and Felix Rosenqvist (No. 10 NTT Data Honda). Rosenqvist got the jump on his teammate off the line, and his crew held up its end of the deal, getting him across the finish line first. With no protest filed from Dixon, a final of Pagenaud-Rosenqvist was set.
“It’s funny when people think it’s not serious because it’s not for points, but it almost becomes more serious, mainly for the guys,” Rosenqvist said. “It’s kind of their time to shine a little bit more, and it’s sort of our job to just take the car to the pit stop.”
It was never in question.
Pagenaud took a comfortable win at the end, cruising across the finish line for the win.
“Did you guys see these amazing pit stops?” Pagenaud asked the crowd after. “Whether it was the 10 (Rosenqvist) or the 22 (Pagenaud), these guys are the best in the business. I want to thank them very much because I wouldn’t have won the Indy 500 without them. A big round of applause for them because they earned it today. The number of hours they put in is incredible.”
Pagenaud also praised the idea of putting their race cars on a city street in order to promote the weekend’s race.
“It’s fast, it’s loud, it smells great, and it’s about waking up all your senses,” he said. “I think human beings are interested in sports because it awakens all your senses. I really think pit stop competitions are the best way to showcase that.”
Four Indy cars, drivers, and pit crews were the highlight of the Cowtown Pit Stop Challenge presented by Speedy Cash, but the event also featured a display from event sponsor Speedy Cash as well as a live broadcast from 1310 The Ticket and promotional support from Visit Fort Worth.
The Fort Worth Central Library was a prominent feature of the event as well with their building standing as the backdrop for the event and their Discovery Theater hosting the pre-event press conference. The library took the time at the beginning of the event to promote its childrens summer reading program. The Ganassi teammates Dixon and Rosenqvist sported Fort Worth Public Library ‘I’m a reader!’ stickers, and Pagenaud pointed out that there’s no better place than a public library to start chasing your dream.
“This is the perfect place to say it. As a kid when I was seven years old I dreamt about this race (the Indy 500), and I dreamt about being a race car driver, and I think the opportunity to maybe contend someday in these races,” he said. “Thinking about it as a kid is one thing but actually doing it is another thing. I feel very grateful and blessed that I get to live this life. It’s very incredible.”
The Cowtown Pit Stop Challenge presented by Speedy Cash kicks off the DXC Technology 600 INDYCAR/NASCAR doubleheader weekend. The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series SpeedyCash.com 400 is Friday, June 7 at 7:45 p.m., and the IndyCar Series DXC Technology 600 is Saturday, June 8 at 8 p.m.
For tickets go to www.texasmotorspeedway.com or call the Ticket Office at 817-215-8500.
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