During the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, Team Penske’s No. 22 Menards Chevrolet team enjoyed another solid season. The No. 22 team completed its run as one of four full-season INDYCAR entries for Team Penske as it marked the last of driver Simon Pagenaud’s seven years racing for the organization.
Pagenaud has long been one of the fan favorites in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, along with one of the most competitive drivers in recent memory. His work ethic has produced 15 series wins, the 2016 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Championship and a memorable 2019 Indianapolis 500 victory with Team Penske.
He is also a winner of multiple sports car titles, including the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship he won with Team Penske, alongside drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron.
After scoring a win at Iowa Speedway in the pandemic-altered season of 2020, Pagenaud looked to continue his winning ways in the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet in 2021. He and the No. 22 team got off to a solid start with a 12th-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park to open the season before reeling off five-consecutive top-10 finishes, highlighted by a pair of third-place results at St. Petersburg and the Indianapolis 500.
Unfortunately for Pagenaud and race engineer Ben Bretzman, the summer months didn’t bring continued consistent production for the No. 22 team. Despite qualifying at the front half of the field, race pace kept Pagenaud from recording another top-five finish until the season finale on the streets of Long Beach. The team closed the season with two podium results, including three top-five and nine top-10 finishes. Pagenaud’s eighth-place standing in championship points marked his sixth consecutive season finishing inside the top eight of the increasingly competitive series.
Just after the season concluded in Long Beach, Pagenaud announced that he would be leaving Team Penske. In the seven years the Montmorillon, France native competed for the team he amassed 11 wins, championships in INDYCAR and IMSA and the 2019 Indianapolis 500 crown.
“My time at Team Penske has been amazing,” reflected Pagenaud. “I’m proud of every win, the championship in 2016 and the unbelievable run we had during the month of May in 2019. I wish the team nothing but success and good luck as we both transition to a different chapters of our careers and our history.”