Pagenaud Wins (Again), But Still Looks Like Sacha Baron Cohen

For the second straight race, driver must clean confetti from uniform.

bySteve Cole Smith| PUBLISHED Apr 25, 2016 12:32 AM
Pagenaud Wins (Again), But Still Looks Like Sacha Baron Cohen

Until last weekend, IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud had only two complaints:

One, he hadn’t won a race since 2014.

And two, people keep confusing the lean, dark-headed French race driver for Sacha Baron Cohen, who played a lean, dark-headed French race driver in the 2006 Will Ferrell movie Talladega Nights, where his character Ricky Bobby was tormented by Cohen’s Jean Girard.

Seriously: Pagenaud told TMZ last weekend, “I get that every day, and it has been going on for a lot of years.”

And likely will (and isn’t it odd that the Francophile lives in the NASCAR bedroom community of Mooresville, North Carolina?) but at least the Penske racer now has not one but two victories in 2016 – two straight, after the Grand Prix of Long Beach on a tight street course, and on a tight road course at Sunday’s Honda Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsport Park.

Pagenaud had a late-race battle with Graham Rahal, but after contact, Rahal had to settle for second. (Rahal’s wife Courtney Force finished sixth in Funny Car Sunday at the NHRA race in Charlotte, but sister-in-law Brittany won Top Fuel.) Josef Newgarden was third. In IndyCar, not NHRA.

Pagenaud races for Chevrolet, thus ruining title sponsor Honda’s day, but at least Rahal drives a Honda. Pagenaud maintains his points lead. The series is off until May 14 for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course race, then May 29 for the 100th Indianapolis 500.