“I’m really sad that we’re not coming back, but I’m honored to be the last winner. The city really gave it back to me," Pagenaud said.
He said he loved staying near the race course and interacting with fans as he walked from his hotel in the morning or at his victory dinner at Fogo de Chao.
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It was announced Friday that city, race and IndyCar officials could not find suitable dates for 2014 because M&T Bank Stadium will be hosting the Navy-Ohio State college football game Labor Day weekend. In 2015, an American Legion convention will take over the Convention Center.
“I can only be supportive of IndyCar because I love the circuit. I know how difficult it can be to set a schedule,” Pagenaud said.
The Frenchman won a thrilling race two weeks ago that saw crashes and pileups. He took the lead with a late pass and steered clear of any more trouble on the track.He hopes the race will come back at some point.
“It’s disappointing to me, because it’s a place where I’ve had so much success and a race that has been a real turning point in our season the last few years," Pagenaud said. “It’s a long street course with a lot of diversity. A little bit of everything. It’s one of the best to drive on because of how far you can push yourself.
"Honestly, I think everybody loved it. It’s a shame. It’s a great city that I enjoy coming to."