Rookie Simon Pagenaud adjusts to TMS

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Simon Pagenaud may only be a rookie, but he's already making his mark on the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Pagenaud is currently in sixth place in the series point standings and hopes to move up the rankings with a big weekend at the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The native of France doesn't have a lot of experience on an oval track, but he's not new to TMS. In April, Pagenaud, the driver of the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda, passed his rookie oval test on the track.

"I really liked it, actually it was kind of impressive to begin with when I first looked into the track," Pagenaud said. "It looked pretty banked to me, which was the first time I walked into a racetrack with so much banking. But as I was driving, I felt more and more comfortable. We got the car a little bit freer and freer every run, and I really started to enjoy it by the end of the day.

"I think obviously I didn't run in traffic, so that's going to be the tough part, but maybe if I decide I want to enjoy it, maybe it's going to be enjoyable. That's how I tackle it."

Pagenaud still admits he's not completely comfortable on an oval track such as TMS, but he's not going to let that slow him down.

"I think the main thing is to take things one step at a time," Pagenaud said. "Obviously, it's going to be a huge learning curve for me. But in the meantime, it's still a race car and four corners. I just have to understand what the car does, see what the others are doing in traffic and try to understand the racetrack."