LOS ANGELES – Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud left the 25th annual ESPY Awards on Wednesday night in search of treats for his four-legged campaign manager.
Norman, the Jack Russell Terrier, led online ESPYS vote-stumping efforts for Pagenaud, the dog’s owner and nominee in the ESPYS’ Best Driver category. Norman watched from home in North Carolina as the ESPY went to Formula One great Lewis Hamilton instead. Pagenaud, who drives for Team Penske in the Verizon IndyCar Series. didn’t know quite how to break the news.
“We might need some treats to come with that. Otherwise it’s going to be depression for a few days,” joked Pagenaud. “Next time, he’s going to have to come here and we will walk the red carpet together.”
Luckily, Norman was already in the know.
I can't believe I had to wear this stupid bow tie all day for nothing! Welp, there's always next time! And dad is still my hero! @simonpagenaud @theespys
A post shared by Norman Pagenaud (@normanpagenaud) on
The awards show, broadcast live on ABC, concluded two packed days of interviews and red carpet walks for Pagenaud. Although he didn’t leave with the hardware, the 33-year-old Frenchman had a good time.
“I’m very grateful that I could attend such an event. When you get recognized just by being nominated, it’s very special,” he said. “It was a fantastic two days in L.A. I want to thank everybody. I got very touched from all the support that I got and I think that’s the most special thing from this nomination.”
Before heading to Microsoft Theater for the awards show on Wednesday, Pagenaud visited The Players’ Tribune ESPYS lounge in the Four Seasons Hotel, where nominees received gifts, including everything from Maui Jim sunglasses to trips. He also gave “Young Hollywood” reporter Lesley Robins a longboarding lesson for an upcoming segment on the channel.
Following the show, Pagenaud hopped a flight early this morning to Canada for this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto. He enters the race weekend third in the championship standings, 31 points behind leader Scott Dixon.