LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Simon Pagenaud attends the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach media luncheon at the Acura Owners Lounge on April 07, 2022 in Long Beach, California.
(Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)

Simon Pagenaud Updates His Recovery from Huge Crash

Simon Pagenaud is a well-accomplished racer, from winning the IndyCar championship in 2016 to capturing the Borg-Warner Trophy as the 2019 Indianapolis 500's champion, the Frenchman, who turns 40 on May 18, has had a long and successful career in IndyCar, Champ Car and the American Le Mans Series.

Things have gone downhill for one of the sports most charismatic drivers, however. His last IndyCar victory came in 2020 at Iowa, and since losing his ride at Team Penske in at the end of 2021, he drove for Meyer-Shank Racing for much of the past two seasons.

Though he had less to show with Meyer-Shank on the Indy front, he won both the 2022 and 2023 Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona races with the team.

That 2023 Rolex 24 win was the highlight of the year for Pagenaud, as his IndyCar season was not going well before July at Mid-Ohio as he was involved in a scary crash. Though he walked away from the wreck seemingly unhurt, it was the last time Pagenaud has been behind the wheel of an IndyCar.

Now in 2024, Pagenaud has finally spoken about the crash that has changed his life.

According to Racer.com's Marshall Pruett, despite walking away from the car unaided, the Frenchman started experiencing significant concussion symptoms and was ruled out from driving by IndyCar's medical team. Though he's made significant strides in his efforts to get back to racing, his healing process has carried over into the new year.

"I know it's been a long time and it was I felt it was time to give you an update," Pagenaud said. "I'm making major progress. Unfortunately, the injuries don't show on the outside. I actually feel really great physically, but it's on the inside (where the injuries are located). So those are frustrating injuries because you don't get to see them heal. Just time makes a difference. So, I have to be very patient, doing a lot of rehab and getting stronger every day. With that, however, it goes up and down and some days you get better, some days it's a regress. But overall, I just want to reassure everybody that I'm doing well. I just want to be at the top level, and I'm working on that. I am working on getting myself back to 100 percent."

Concussions are tricky, and every one of them can be different. They can end a driver's career as soon as it happens, just ask NASCAR's Kurt Busch, who suffered a concussion in a bad crash at Pocono in 2022, forcing him to retire from racing. Three-time Indy 500 champion, Dario Franchitti, called an early end to his career after suffering multiple concussions. As for Pagenaud, all that can be done is to hope the time and effort he has put to get back pays off.

"All the doctors, the IndyCar medical team, has been phenomenal, helping me, connecting me with the right people," Pagenaud said. "And I do a lot of work in the background that obviously right now nobody gets to see, but I want to thank everybody for the support. And I want to reassure everybody that I'm not forgetting about all the support from fans out there that have been so supportive. So, thank you very much, everyone. I'll keep working hard and keep pushing. I'm very hopeful to get stronger and better very soon."

Hopefully, it works out for Pagenaud better than it did for Dale Earnhardt Jr, who raced one final full-time season in 2017 after suffering a severe concussion. We are pulling for you, Simon.

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