Palou Dominated Indy Road Course For First Win Of The Season

Alex Palou on his way to winning the 2023 Grand Prix of Indianapolis. [Media Credit - Penske Entertainment: Dana Garrett]

Alex Palou on his way to winning the 2023 Grand Prix of Indianapolis. [Media Credit – Penske Entertainment: Dana Garrett]

Indianapolis, IN – In a dominating performance, Alex Palou kicked off the month of may with a win in the GMR Grand Prix holding off the entire Arrow McLaren team and the polesitter at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

It didn’t seem to matter which tires were on Palou’s Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, the 2021 series champion was heads up faster than the rest of the field, including finishing the last half of the race on sets of used then new Firestone Primary black walled tires when others were trying to catch him on the alternate “red’s”.

Palou cruised through the final stint of the race to take the checkers 16.8 seconds ahead of McLaren pilot Pato O’Ward.

Palou took the lead at the start of the race, getting ahead of NTT P1 Award winner Christian Lundgaard on the opening lap and took control of the race strategy from that point on.

“We knew starting on the alternates we needed to go hard and try and get the lead as fast as possible. I think the alternates had two, three laps that they were a lot better. Afterwards, you kind of got stuck behind”, explained Palou. “I tried in turn one. He went really aggressive. It was right, it was perfect what he did, but yeah, I wanted it to be something easier (smiling). We were able to get it on the last corner. That was good.”

The victory was the first for Palou at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the first this season and the fifth of the year. It seemed like a perfect win for the young Spaniard. “Everything came perfectly, the strategy, the tires, the speed of the car, myself obviously.”

For the third time this season, O’Ward finished in second place, but while a win is desired he had a bigger picture focus. “I mean, honestly, if we’re second for the rest of the season, we’re chilling. Yeah,
they will fall. Is it going to fall the next one, in two, three, four, five? Who knows. Is it going to fall until next year? You never know. I sure know that what we’ve been doing, we’ve been knocking on the door every single weekend. Like, there hasn’t been one weekend where we’re lost, no. There’s been some weekends where we haven’t started off that strong. We make changes and we’re right there.”

With his best race since joining Arrow McLaren in the off-season, Alexander Rossi took the last step on the podium after driving up to third on the final stint of the race.

“Really proud to get the first podium for the team, the first one as part of Team Chevy. It was a good day. We’ve had a really strong pace on Sundays, we just haven’t gotten the results that we feel like we deserve. We’re missing a little bit on Saturdays”, said Rossi. “The pieces are coming together. I’ve got an awesome team, awesome teammates around me.”

Lundgaard finished in fouth place, his best career result and Felix Rosenqvist gave the Arrow McLaren team all three cars in the top five.

The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the 107th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 27 on the 2.5-mile IMS oval. Practice for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” starts Tuesday, May 16, with PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying on Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21.

GMR Grand Prix Race Results
INDIANAPOLIS – Results Saturday of the GMR Grand Prix NTT INDYCAR SERIES event on the 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (3) Alex Palou, Honda, 85, Running
2. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 85, Running
3. (10) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 85, Running
4. (1) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 85, Running
5. (2) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 85, Running
6. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 85, Running
7. (13) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 85, Running
8. (7) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 85, Running
9. (14) Colton Herta, Honda, 85, Running
10. (8) Graham Rahal, Honda, 85, Running
11. (18) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 85, Running
12. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 85, Running
13. (17) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 85, Running
14. (6) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 85, Running
15. (11) Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 85, Running
16. (16) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 85, Running
17. (15) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 84, Running
18. (24) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 84, Running
19. (21) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 84, Running
20. (4) Jack Harvey, Honda, 84, Running
21. (25) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 84, Running
22. (26) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 84, Running
23. (27) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 80, Running
24. (23) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 79, Running
25. (19) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 58, Mechanical
26. (20) David Malukas, Honda, 2, Contact
27. (22) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 1, Contact

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 115.234 mph
Time of Race: 01:47:56.7003
Margin of victory: 16.8006 seconds
Cautions: 1 for 3 laps
Lead changes: 12 among 8 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Palou, Alex 1 – 17
Lundgaard, Christian 18 – 19
Rosenqvist, Felix 20 – 22
Ericsson, Marcus 23
Rahal, Graham 24 – 30
Lundgaard, Christian 31 – 41
Palou, Alex 42 – 43
Ericsson, Marcus 44
Dixon, Scott 45 – 47
Palou, Alex 48 – 59
O’Ward, Pato 60 – 61
Rossi, Alexander 62 – 64
Palou, Alex 65 – 85

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Point Standings: Palou 174, O’Ward 168, Ericsson 155, Grosjean 134, McLaughlin 133, Newgarden 131, Dixon 127, Power 122, Lundgaard 111, Rossi 108, Kirkwood 108, Herta 107, Rosenqvist 97, Ilott 92, Rahal 86, Malukas 79, Armstrong 77, VeeKay 64, Canapino 56, Castroneves 53, Harvey 53, Ferrucci 51, Pagenaud 50, Daly 49, DeFrancesco 46, Robb 42, Pedersen 40, Ed Carpenter 17, Takuma Sato 5

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