Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud is keeping Indy500 as his No.1 priority for him for 2020 IndyCar season as he looks to defend his crown.

H​aving won the Indy500 in 2019 by the skin of his teeth after fighting with Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi, Penske’s Pagenaud has said that his number one priority in 2020 is to dominate IndyCar’s ‘jewel-in-the-crown’ race once again.

T​he Frenchman, in fact, put it higher on his personal to-do list than winning the overall championship, which he came second in last year, after losing to Penske teammate Josef Newgarden in the final round of the season at Laguna Seca.

“My number one priority is Indy500, that’s certainly the goal,” said Pagenaud. “That’s the biggest race in the world, it has such an impact on racing worldwide, and it’s got such an impact for me personally, that’s what I want to do the most.

“So I’m trying again in 2020, trying to get out there and kick some ‘um-um-beep-beep’, and obviously second goal is winning the championship. We got really close last year, Josef did a better job in the end, we gotta keep working at it and get a second one at the end.”

P​agenaud also spoke about how now that he has won the Indy 500, it will make it easier to succeed moving forward. He said this on the basis that winning the famed race lifted pressure off of him, and made him relax. “​It’s more so of a personal deal,” he said.

“The pressure that I put on myself before as a growing up kid in racing, that was the dream, and making it happen was far-fetched, quite frankly. And the fact that it did now, I’m relaxed about my future. I’m relaxed about how I feel as a person.

“And I can just focus on the moment, which is exactly what I need to do to be an even better driver, so I’m gonna do that this year, I’m very excited. Like I said, I just feel re-energized, determined and focused.”

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