Simon Pagenaud was back to his winning ways today as he claimed a picture-perfect win in the Honda Indy Toronto.

The win is the Frenchman's first since his landmark win in the Indianapolis 500 nearly two months ago and the third of his season. The victory also pulls the 2016 NTT IndyCar Series champion back into championship contention as he is 39 points behind his points-leading teammate Josef Newgarden.

The win also wraps up a perfect weekend as the Team Penske driver took the pole yesterday.

"I never had a doubt," said Pagenaud. "I never really looked who was behind, we just focused on getting the car where we wanted to be and man, those days are the best. There are a lot of bad days in racing, but those sweet days make up for it."

The 35-year-old Frenchman was quick from the word go as he motored away from Scott Dixon at the start as Alexander Rossi and Felix Rosenqvist filed in cleanly behind him.

Things were not so clean behind them as Will Power made contact with Graham Rahal and tagged Marco Andretti as well. Andretti gunned the throttle and kept going while the stalled cars of Rahal and Power brought out the yellow flag while Mattheus Leist and Marcus Ericcson also stopped behind them.

Pagenaud picked up where he left off on the restart and pulled out a one second lead over the course of the opening stint. Alexander Rossi held onto third while Ed Jones picked off Felix Rosenqvist to move to fourth place.

Rossi was the first driver to pit under green on Lap 16 which then forced the hand of Pagenaud and Dixon to pit on Lap 18.

Takuma Sato picked up the top spot for a lap before surrendering it over to Zach Veach, who opted for an alternate strategy. Veach was one of four drivers that began the race on the primary Firestone Black tyres and led four laps before Pagenaud took it back on Lap 23.

Dixon found himself in sixth as Veach, Santino Ferrucci, Graham Rahal and Ryan Hunter-Reay filled out the top five on an alternate strategy.

Veach and Hunter-Reay made their stops on Lap 31 while Rahal and Ferrucci stayed out a few laps longer. When it was all said and done, Pagenaud came out with a six-second lead over Dixon with Rossi nearly two seconds behind him.

The lead ebbed and flowed throughout the stint with Pagenaud responding each time Dixon knocked off a few tenths, and by Lap 50 the lead was up to an astounding seven seconds. Dixon did manage to stretch away from Rossi, who was riding in third with Newgarden and Sato close behind.

Rossi once again kicked off the next round of pitstops on Lap 49 with Pagenaud, Rossi, Newgarden and Sato all following suit on Lap 51.

Pagenaud once again kept the lead with five seconds in the bank over Dixon with Rossi running five seconds behind him while Newgarden and Sato filled out fourth and fifth.

The final stint saw Dixon close to within a second of Pagenaud as lapped traffic came into play.

The flow of lapped traffic prevented any charge on Pagenaud and Will Power's crash in Turn 11 on the final lap sealed the deal for Pagneaud.

The Team Penske driver noted that while he had the dominant car, he couldn't rest as he encountered lapped traffic.

"It's never easy with the lapped traffic. The lapped traffic was really very difficult because I was trying to just pass them and that made it difficult. They're fighting for their lap. I get it. So, I just backed myself up and tried to give myself a gap with (Scott) Dixon (finished 2nd) while saving fuel.

Dixon settled for second, his sixth podium of the season. Rossi turned up the wick on Newgarden in the fight for the championship as he closed to within nine points with a third-place finish.

Newgarden nicked the Turn 11 wall late in the race and held on to finish fourth ahead of Felix Rosenqvist in fifth.

Hometown favorite James Hinchcliffe ended up sixth ahead of Colton Herta in seventh, Sebastien Bourdais in eighth while second-generation drivers Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti rounded out the top ten.

A spectacular engine expiration on Lap 67 robbed Takuma Sato of a sure top five finish and dropped him to 22nd as the race’s lone retirement.



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