With Andretti and Kanaan fading fast - Kanaan ended the race in the wall in turn 12 on the penultimate lap - there was a chance for some late storming runs further back. Justin Wilson emerged from a frustrating up-and-down afternoon with a decent fourth place, while birthday girl Simona de Silvestro was in majestic form in the closing laps as she climbed to fifth place ahead of Kimball who in turn narrowly held off a resurgent Hinchcliffe for sixth. Saavedra, Castroneves and Andretti rounded out the top ten and were the final cars left on the lead lap by the chequered flag, with Vautier, Servia, Viso and Carpenter all ending up a lap off the pace after the eventful race.
"It was a strange race but I'm really pleased that we managed to hang on and get fourth place" said Wilson, revealing that it was a minor miracle that he'd made it to the finish at all. "It was a tough race. I lost the rear brakes completely from about lap 4, the pedal was going to the floor so I was just trying to hang on."
"I'm definitely really happy with P5," beamed de Silvestro, who turned 25 on Sunday. "It was kind of a crazy race. I don't think we had the fastest car out there, but we had a pretty good call on the pits when we got stuck in one of the wrecks," she said, adding: "Not a bad way to celebrate my birthday!"
Pagenaud's second win of 2013 after claiming his maiden series victory in the second race at Detroit in June moves him up into third place in the championship standings ahead of Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay and very much in contention for the title going into the final three races of the season in October. But sitting pretty at the top of the points is Helio Castroneves, for whom survival to a top ten finish means that he extends his lead over non-finisher Scott Dixon to 49 points and gives him the whip hand going into the Houston double-header and the Fontana season finale.
"I am glad we were able to finish in the top 10 and keep our lead in the championship," said Castroneves. "Wow, what a crazy race!"
He sure wasn't kidding.
See full race results
for the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT, and the complete championship standings
after round 16 of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season.