Honda-powered Simon Pagenaud dominated the second race of the Grand Prix of Houston Presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers, “double header” Verizon IndyCar Series race weekend, taking a commanding lead in the second half of the 90-lap contest and maintaining his advantage though several late-race caution flags.
Pagenaud’s win, along with Rookies Mikhail Aleshin’s and Jack Hawksworth’s second and third place finishes, followed Honda’s win in Saturday’s opening race by first-year Indy car driver Carlos Huertas of Dale Coyne Racing, with Rookie of the Year leader Carlos Munoz finishing third in his Andretti Autosport Honda, behind former series champion Juan Pablo Montoya.
Altogether, Honda drivers claimed five of six podium positions on the weekend.
It was Pagenaud’s second victory of 2014, following his earlier triumph at the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May, and Honda’s fifth Indy car victory of the season. After stalking pole qualifier and early leader Helio Castroneves for the opening half of the race, Pagenaud made his move for the lead on a Lap 49 restart. Once in front, the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver was never headed, maintaining his advantage even through the final round of pit stops.
Pagenaud’s rookie teammate, Mikhail Aleshin, made it the first-ever 1-2 IndyCar Series finish for the Schmidt Peterson team while yet another rookie, Jack Hawksworth, completed Sunday’s podium sweep for Honda with a third-place finish for Bryan Herta Autosport.