Palou a repeat winner on Indy road course
(Photo by Hilary Ott)

Palou a repeat winner on Indy road course

One year after picking up his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES win of the 2023 season, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou was right back where he was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: in the Winner’s Circle.

After winning the then-GMR Grand Prix on the IMS road course last year, Palou again grabbed momentum heading into Indianapolis 500 qualifications. After earning the pole on Friday, Palou took the lead with 20 laps to go in Saturday’s Sonsio Grand Prix and held off the rest of the field for a comfortable win in the No. 10 DHL Honda that features American Legion branding.

“I give all the kudos to my team for giving me fast cars,” Palou said afterward. “Without the fast car I had in qualifying, I could have qualified P17 and had a terrible weekend. I don't think it's all me. I'm just a passenger sometimes in that car.”

Fellow CGR driver Linus Lundqvist, driving the No. 8 American Legion and it’s Be the One suicide prevention message, spent most of the afternoon racing in and around the top 10, moving up to as high as eighth after starting 19th. But a fuel issue with around 20 laps to go would cost him a lap and drop him to a final finish of 24th.

“Honestly, if we take away where we finished, this was one hell of a race for us,” said Lundqvist. “We were probably on track for a P6 or P7, which would have been a great result considering where we started from. The car felt good, and I felt like I drove a good race as well. We were able to pass people.

“It’s a shame, but it’s racing. We win and lose as a team, so we’ll beat ourselves up for the next day or so, but we know there’s a big one coming up in a couple of weeks.”

Lundqvist moved into the top 10 less than a third of the way into the race and was up to eighth before pitting on lap 37; within 10 laps of his pit stop he was back up to eighth and stayed there until the fuel issue.

“The good thing is that we definitely had the speed,” Lundqvist said. “The strategy was on point, I was fast when I needed to be and made the moves when it mattered. All good things, I just need to sort out qualifying and we’ll be fighting for podiums in no time.”

Palou took the lead on lap 65, was able to maintain it on a restart on lap 69 and spent the final 16 laps building on his advantage, eventually winning by more than 6.6 seconds. He led a race-high 39 of the 85 laps.

“It feels good,” Palou said. “Hopefully we can get that momentum that we have now and carry it the same way as we did last year.”

The win vaulted Palou into first place in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES points race, 12 points ahead of Will Power. Lundqvist is in 14th and maintained the lead over CGR teammate Kyffin Simpson in the Rookie of the Year standings.

Fellow CGR drivers Scott Dixon (fourth) and Marcus Armstrong (fifth) locked down top-five finishes.

The INDYCAR drivers and teams don’t get much in the way of rest, with practice for the Indianapolis 500 starting back up May 14. The first round of qualifications take place May 18 from 11 a.m.-5:50 p.m., while the starting grid will be sorted out May 19 with two rounds of qualifications before the Firestone Fast 6.

The Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 26 at 12:38 p.m. ET.

To learn more about the Legion’s Be the One program – including how to participate in training sessions – click here