Palou to close championship season in chrome No. 10 American Legion Honda

Palou to close championship season in chrome No. 10 American Legion Honda

Alex Palou already has wrapped up the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship. But he’s not ready to rest on his laurels.

Palou will drive the chrome version of the No. 10 American Legion Honda featuring the Be the One message this weekend during the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in California.

The Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) driver clinched the series title, his second in three years, with another dominant win in the BITNILE.COM Grand Prix of Portland. It was Palou’s fifth win of the season and the eighth this year for the team. CGR teammate Scott Dixon already has locked up the second spot in the points race, while fellow Ganassi driver Marcus Armstrong has a 26-point lead in the Rookie of the Year race. Should Armstrong hold onto his lead, CGR will be the first team in INDYCAR SERIES history to ever boast the series champion, the second-place finisher, and the Rookie of the Year in the same season. 

Palou returns to the site of his extraordinary performance in 2022, when he blew past the field to win the road race by a track-record 30.3812 seconds.

“I’m very happy to have another race weekend to finish up this great season that we are having, especially at a place like Laguna Seca where we won last year,” Palou said. “I think we have a good chance to finish up high again, and I can’t wait to drive the chrome American Legion livery. It is going to look amazing out there.”

Palou last weekend became the first INDYCAR driver to wrap up the series championship with one race remaining since 2007. “It was an amazing weekend in Portland, getting the win and getting the championship wrapped up early,” he said.

CGR teammate Marcus Ericsson, whose No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda features American Legion branding, enters the race sixth in the points race. He’s second behind Palou in top-10 finishes this season with 14.

“For me, this will be my last race with Chip Ganassi Racing after four fantastic years,” Ericsson said. “It is very, very important to me to finish strong and have a good race weekend. I’m very focused and looking forward finishing strong for all of us.”

In the INDY NXT SERIES, CGR developmental driver Kyffin Simpson will close a strong season with a doubleheader this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, with Race 1 on Saturday and Race 2 on Sunday. Simpson qualified fourth for last weekend’s INDY NXY by Firestone Grand Prix of Portland but was the victim of first lap contact behind him and finished 13th. He’s currently 10th in the points race.

The WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is a paved road racing track used for both auto racing and motorcycle racing. Originally constructed in 1957 near both Salinas and Monterey, the current racetrack is 2.238 miles in length with a 300-foot elevation change. It has eleven turns, including the famous "Corkscrew" at Turns 8 and 8A.

This weekend’s television schedule (all times ET):

·         Friday, Sept. 8 – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 1, 5:30-6:45 p.m. (Peacock).

·         Saturday, Sept. 9 – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 2, 1-2 p.m.; INDY NXT Race 1, 3:25-4:35 p.m.; NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifications, 5-6:30 p.m. (all Peacock).

·         Sunday, Sept. 10 – NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, noon-12:30 p.m. (Peacock); INDY NXT Race 2, 12:50-2 p.m. (Peacock); Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, 2:30-6 p.m. (NBC and Peacock).