ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. — With eight races in the books so far this season, of the four Team Penske drivers all of them are still without a win.
Will Power came close last Saturday before a late red flag period led to his car being unable to re-fire in time costing him the race lead. Simon Pagenaud’s best finish this season was a third-place result at the Indianapolis 500.
Josef Newgarden nearly won on Sunday but was passed in the closing laps by Pato O’Ward.
In spite of the bad luck mixed with frustration, Pagenaud said from his point of view he is not feeling any pressure or adversity at this juncture of the season.
“I think it’s going pretty well,” he said. “You have to understand who is strong when and how to win a championship. The goal for us was to win Indianapolis. We gave it a good run. We finished third, half a second behind Helio. The best man won that day. But we were right there. I think the mission was almost accomplished. You have to also be proud sometimes of a good effort, which I am, for my team.”
Last week at Detroit was the sixth time since the 1970’s that Team Penske had entered the seventh race of a season without a win. Now entering the eighth race, the last time Team Penske went this long in a single season without a win, they went winless the whole year during the 1999 CART season.
Pagenaud again is undeterred by the trend.
“I think we’re making big progress through the season. I think we started off on the wrong foot in Barber,” Pagenaud said. “I feel like it’s just super, super competitive. It’s just difficult to hit perfectly every weekend. So that’s where we’re at. This weekend we should have won the first race. Josef could have won the second race.”
It certainly has been one of the most competitive seasons in recent memory as far as points are concerned. Pato O’Ward became the first multi-race winner of the season on Sunday in Detroit. There have been seven different winners this season in eight races tying an IndyCar record.
Pagenaud sits 88 points behind championship leader O’Ward in the point standings in sixth place. His teammate Newgarden is even closer behind in fourth 51 points back of O’Ward.
Both drivers will try to keep pace and even notch a first team win this season when the series hits the road course at Road America in Wisconsin on Sunday.