Champion Pagenaud awarded $1 million and Astor Cup

2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud was saluted tonight at Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis, as the apex of the series’ end of season banquet.

Champion Pagenaud awarded $1 million and Astor Cup
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
Champion Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
Roger Penske and Gil de Ferran
Yoda
2016 Champion Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates with team
Derrick Walker and Simon Pagenaud
Charlie Kimball, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Conor Daly, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Jim Campbell, USA Vice President Performance Vehicle & Motorsport

The driver of the #22 Team Penske-Chevrolet was awarded the $1 million champion's prize and the Astor Challenge Cup by Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., parent company of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Pagenaud’s season was built on five wins – which also earned him the Sunoco Diamond Performance Award – and seven pole positions, resulting in the Verizon P1 Award.

As well as paying tribute to Roger Penske, the team sponsors, the #22 crew and his family, Pagenaud also name-checked those who had been helpful in his career before joining Penske. These included Derrick Walker, who brought him to America in 2006 and for whom he won the Formula Atlantic championship; Gil de Ferran, his former teammate, and more recently mentor (or ‘Yoda’ as Simon put it); and also Honda Performance Development who supported his career in the U.S. before he joined Penske-Chevrolet for 2015.

Pagenaud said: “It's obviously a milestone in my career, my lifetime dream come true There's obviously more in the future, other goals to reach, but I've reached one of the biggest ones I wanted."

Billy Vincent, chief mechanic for Pagenaud's No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet, accepted the Chief Mechanic of the Year Award, while Jon Bouslog was honored as Team Manager of the Year as Team Penske collected its record 14th Indy car championship in the same year that owner Roger Penske's organization is celebrating 50 years in racing.

"Obviously Team Penske is one of the most historic race teams in the world," Pagenaud said. "I'm so proud to be part of this team, so proud that I could bring this championship to Roger. The 50-year anniversary is huge and this is going to go into history. I'm very glad that I could leave a little bit of my legacy, but I'm a very small part in a very big thing."

Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi earned the Verizon IndyCar Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award; Conor Daly, claimed the TAG Heuer "Don't Crack Under Pressure" Award for advancing the most cumulative places from the start of races to their finish during the season.

Mike Hull, managing director of Chip Ganassi Racing accepted the Firestone "Drive to the Finish" Award on behalf of Charlie Kimball, who completed the most laps of any driver this season (2,066 of a possible 2,070). The family of Bryan Clauson, who was voted IndyCar Nation Fan Favorite Driver, accepted the award for the three-time Indianapolis 500 starter who was fatally injured in a midget race accident in August.

Jim Campbell, Chevrolet's vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports, accepted the Manufacturers’ Award on behalf of Chevrolet, which won 14 of the 16 races, 13 pole positions and led 71 percent of the race laps (1,467 of 2,070). Chevrolet has won the Manufacturers’ championship every year since it returned to the sport in 2012.

 

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