A dominant May carried over into June for Chip Ganassi Racing’s (CGR) Alex Palou.
After winning the GMR Grand Prix, and then capturing the Indianapolis 500 pole and rallying for a fourth-place finish in that race, Palou followed with an impressive showing over the weekend in Michigan. Driving the No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda that carried American Legion branding, Palou captured the pole of Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on Saturday. He followed that up by leading Sunday’s race by as many as nine seconds at one point before holding off the field on two late restarts to cross the finish line by 1.18 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Will Power.
The win was the second of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season for Palou, who now leads CGR teammate Marcus Ericsson by 51 points in the series point standings. And it marked another strong day for the Ganassi entire team. Scott Dixon took fourth, while rookie Marcus Armstrong – driving the No. 11 American Legion Honda – was eighth and Ericsson ninth.
"The No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants car was on point today,” Palou said via CGR media. “Honda gave us everything we needed in fuel mileage and all the power. I am super proud of the job we did. It was tricky at the end with those tires, I couldn't really get them up to temperature, but I am proud that we got another win this year.
“It's still too early to think about the championship. We'll keep focused on the next few races—there's a few that I really love coming up. We'll keep on pushing."
From the win, Palou will split $10,000 with Chip Ganassi Racing and his chosen charity, The American Legion, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge. And with his win on the Indy road course and then Sunday’s street course victory, he is two-thirds of the way to earning a $1 million bonus for picking up victories on all three race courses. Palou can collect the bonus – which will be split with The American Legion – by getting wins at any on the three remaining oval races: a doubleheader July 22-23 at Iowa Speedway and Aug. 27 at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Armstrong continued his strong rookie season, earning a spot in the Fast 12 during qualifications and starting Sunday’s race in 11th. He continued to move up during the race, picking up his second top-10 finish of the year and maintaining a 24-point lead over Agustin Canapino in the series’ rookie standings.
"It was a good race,” Armstrong said. “We stayed out of trouble. We didn't do anything too crazy. We had a lot of pace. I thought we were quicker than the cars ahead. I think we did make a couple of good on-track moves which was great.
“Ultimately, the car was amazing, and I think we're capable of a lot more which is a good sign for the future. Great job to the team all around."
Ericsson’s No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda also featured American Legion branding over the weekend. He called Sunday a “tough day” but added, “The team did really good with strategy and pit stops, we got some overtakes to get us back in the top 10. Overall, a decent points day but disappointing. Congrats to Alex and the team on the win."
The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR on Sunday, June 18, in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
In the two INDY NXT by Firestone Detroit Grand Prix races over the weekend, CGR developmental driver Kyffin Simpson drove the No. 21 American Legion /Ridgeline Lubricants car to a 13th-place finish on Saturday and 17th on Sunday.