Simon Pagenaud Finds Puppy Love at the Speedway

The IndyCar driver fosters “Hufflepuff,” an adoptable dog from the Humane Society, as he gears up for the Indy 500.

If you see a crowd following Simon Pagenaud at the track this month, it could be that folks want an autograph or a photo. Or maybe they just want a glimpse of the newest member of Pagenaud’s entourage: a 13-week-old Chow Chow named Hufflepuff.
Pagenaud, a driver for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, and his girlfriend, Hailey McDermott (pictured below), are fostering Hufflepuff at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month. She’s the fourth dog Pagenaud has fostered in partnership with the Humane Society of Indianapolis.
Pagenaud didn’t name Hufflepuff but has started calling her HP for short. Coincidentally, the initials also refer to his car’s primary sponsor, Hewlett-Packard.
With the exciting grounds of IMS to explore, HP is rarely left alone. While Pagenaud is on the track or in meetings, Hailey takes HP for walks, making frequent stops for pets and tummy rubs. At night, HP sleeps in Pagenaud’s motorcoach, an environment to which she’s adapted well. The only disaster—so far—has been spilled coffee on Pagenaud’s cellphone. And, like most puppies, HP does occasionally wake them up for 3 a.m. bathroom breaks. But overall, Pagenaud says, she’s quite well behaved.
Fostering works out well for the driver, since his busy schedule makes it hard to own a dog longterm. But Pagenaud, who lives in Indianapolis, admits it can be tough giving the pooch up for adoption after he forges a bond. (The consolation: All three dogs he fostered before HP found their “forever” homes.) Despite the mild heartache, though, it’s something he plans on continuing to do.
After all, who wouldn’t want a fluffy, four-legged mascot?
To see more pictures of Pagenaud, Hailey, and Hufflepuff, visit the IM photo gallery.
For information about Hufflepuff, other adoptable dogs, or fostering, contact the Humane Society of Indianapolis at 872-5650 or go to