Benched: IndyCar’s Simon Pagenaud gearing up to race again

DETROIT – It’s been a very long offseason for IndyCar drivers that included a three-month hiatus because of COVID-19, but on June 6th, racing returned for IndyCar.

“I’ve been training every morning getting ready for the season,” Simon Pagenaud said. “I train three hours every day, then I go on a simulator.”

Racing is everything to Simon Pagenaud and that’s why he gives it his all. It’s also why he is taking every precaution during this Pandemic.

“Haley is my wife, she is disinfecting everything when it comes into our house,” Pagenaud said. “It’s not that I have a fear of the virus, I’m pretty healthy, but I don’t want to have it, be asymptomatic and it give it to someone else.

Last year was pretty good to Pagenaud who drives for Team Penske. For the first time in 99 years, a Frenchman won the Indy 500. He said he got teary-eyed watching the replay a few weeks ago.

“I had a few tears, I love the race,” he said. “It is a very special day to me.”

Another place that means a lot to him is Detroit. It’s where he got his first IndyCar win in 2013.

“Detroit brought joy to my life,” Pagenaud said. “It was the first step of where I wanted to be. I established myself as a winner. I love Detroit for that reason.”

Indycar returns June 6th in Texas, but it will be very different. No fans. No contact with team members. In fact, Pagenaud will Zoom with his engineer.

He said whatever it takes, he is good to go. He’s excited and so is his dog Norman.

“He has been a little bit distraught being at home,” Pagenaud said. “he’s not used to it. His routine is to travel.”

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Jamie anchors sports coverage on Local 4 News Saturdays at 6 & 11 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m., in addition to hosting Sports Final Edition.