Simon Pagenaud holds off Alexander Rossi to win Indianapolis 500

Simon Pagenaud held off Alexander Rossi in a frantic and fantastic final 12 laps to win the 2019 Indianapolis 500.

Rossi held the lead after the final restart of the race with 13 laps to go. But Pagenaud soon got the lead not long after the green flag flew. They traded passes again before Pagenaud executed a perfect pass entering turn 3 on the penultimate lap to pass Rossi and beat him to the finish line.

Rossi was able to get close to Pagenaud on the final lap but as Pagenaud weaved down the backstretch to prevent Rossi from getting a drafting run, Rossi was unable to get close enough to try a pass before time ran out.

“The car was just on rails, the yellows aligned perfectly. Wow, seeing myself on TV with this is pretty amazing,” Pagenaud said with milk all over his face and draped by the traditional Indy 500 winner’s wreath in victory lane.

Rossi said Pagenaud simply had a little more horsepower than he did.

“Horsepower,” Rossi said. “It’s unfortunately the way it is — they did a great job, obviously he was on pole and led the most laps but I think we had the superior car but just didn’t have enough there at the end.”

Pagenaud and Rossi each made their final pit stops with over 30 laps to go. Since they were good on fuel, they were able to stay out after the race was slowed for a big crash involving Graham Rahal, Sebastien Bourdais and others.

The two drivers had the best cars throughout the entirety of the race; it was fitting they were the two to battle for the win as 2017 Indy 500 champion Takuma Sato lurked in third place.

And saying it’s fitting that it was Rossi and Pagenaud going for the win doesn’t even consider any of the speculation about 2020 that’s surrounded the two drivers.

Both are in the final year of their contracts. Pagenaud with Team Penske and Rossi with Andretti Autosport. Rossi, perhaps the most exciting driver in North American motorsports, had been surmised to be a good replacement for Pagenaud if Penske wanted to make a change.

It’s hard to see how Penske would make a change now. Pagenaud won the Indianapolis Grand Prix on May 11 and then won the pole for the 500 on May 19. He’s now leading the points standings after a winless 2018.

The win is the first Indy 500 victory for the 2016 IndyCar champion and the 13th win of his IndyCar career.

Penske now has 18 Indy 500 wins

Pagenaud’s victory is the second-straight win for Team Penske in the Indy 500 after Will Power’s win in 2018. It’s the 18th Indianapolis 500 victory for car owner Roger Penske, far and away the winningest car owner in Indy 500 history.

Pagenaud is also the first driver to win the Indy GP, the Indy 500 pole and the Indy 500 in the same season.

As Pagenaud dominated the race, Penske’s other two team cars finished in the top five too. Josef Newgarden was fourth while Power finished fifth.

Rossi made an epic pass on Oriol Servia

Rossi and Pagenaud traded some great passes back and forth over the final 30 miles of the race. But Rossi’s best pass of the day came when he passed Oriol Servia on the frontstretch while shaking his fist at Servia.

Servia was racing aggressively near the front of the field after a restart while he was a lap down. Rossi wasn’t a big fan of that and as he drafted up and alongside Servia he showed his displeasure before diving into turn 1 with one hand on the wheel.

Alexander Rossi was not pleased with Oriol Servia.

Results

1. Simon Pagenaud

2. Alexander Rossi

3. Takuma Sato

4. Josef Newgarden

5. Will Power

6. Ed Carpenter

7. Santino Ferrucci

8. Ryan Hunter-Reay

9. Tony Kanaan

10. Conor Daly

11. James Hinchcliffe

12. James Davison

13. Ed Jones

14. Spencer Pigot

15. Matheus Leist

16. Pippa Mann

17. Scott Dixon

18. Helio Castroneves

19. Sage Karam

20. JR Hildebrand

21. Jack Harvey

22. Oriol Servia

23. Marcus Ericsson

24. Jordan King

25. Charlie Kimball

26. Marco Andretti

27. Graham Rahal

28. Felix Rosenqvist

29. Zach Veach

30. Sebastien Bourdais

31. Kyle Kaiser

32. Ben Hanley

33. Colton Herta

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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