Simon Pagenaud grew up and raced in France and now makes North Carolina his home. His nickname is “Jean Gerrard,” after the French character in the movie “Talladega Nights.”
After competing in three Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2011, Pagenaud moved to the series full time in 2012 and earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award. In 2013, he won twice and finished third in the championship. In 2014, he added two victories and finished fifth in the standings. He moved from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to Team Penske for the 2015 season.
Roger Penske has been racing and winning in the United States since 1958 and has scored victories in every series in which he has competed.
Penske was one of America's most successful young road racers before he retired from driving in 1965 to focus on his business interests. He fielded Corvettes in the 1966 endurance races at Daytona and Sebring before joining forces with driver Mark Donohue to race in the USRRC and Can-Am sports car series. Penske Racing found success early with Donohue, winning two consecutive USRRC championships and three SCCA Trans-Am championships.
Penske Racing and Donohue moved into Indy car racing by racing in two USAC-sanctioned road races in 1968. In 1969, the team entered the Indianapolis 500 for the first time, and Donohue finished seventh, earning Rookie of the Year honors.
Since then, a Penske Racing car has been in Victory Circle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 15 times -- most recently in 2009 with Helio Castroneves -- and won the Verizon IndyCar Series championship in 2006 with Sam Hornish Jr. and 2014 with Will Power.
Drivers who have competed in Penske Racing cars in CART and the Verizon IndyCar Series include Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Bobby Unser, Al Unser Jr., Tom Sneva, Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan, Emerson Fittipaldi, Paul Tracy, Al Unser Jr., Gil de Ferran, Gary Bettenhausen, Paul Tracy, Andre Ribiero, Ryan Briscoe, Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud.