Palou Extends Point Lead With Another Win

Alex Palou on his way to winning the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America. [John Wiedemann Photo]

Alex Palou on his way to winning the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America. [John Wiedemann Photo]

Elkhart Lake, WI – Alex Palou continued his hot streak in the NTT IndyCar Series by visiting victory lane for the third time in the last four races, including the last two, this time capturing the win in the Sonsio Grand Prix presented by AMR at Road America.

“We kept on pushing”, Palou talked about the win. “Great pit stops. Fighted for the win at the end. Yeah, the speed that we had this weekend was huge and gave us the opportunity to win today.”

With six laps to go, Palou in the Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, made his move on polesitter Colton Herta in turn one and never looked back. Herta, conserving fuel, couldn’t put up a fight and Palou powered his way to victory.

“Honestly the first couple of laps that he did on the blacks, he was really, really fast,” explained Palou. “I was like, Man, he’s pushing very hard. I don’t know if I can catch him. Once my tires were into temperature, I was able to catch him. I saw that he was struggling a little bit more. He had to save more fuel than us because he pitted one lap early. We were just a little bit better on tire deg, as well. I was just trying to push him to use the push to pass, then overtake him. It worked.”

Herta had led 33 laps in the race, but his struggles at the end had him dropping back to fifth as the checkers flew. Josef Newgarden, Pato O’Ward and Scott Dixon were all able to get by the Andretti Autosport driver in the final six laps.

Starting fourth, the defending race winner Newgarden was unable to lead a lap by stayed near the front and finished in the runner-up position.

“I mean, it was a pretty good day. Yeah, it was an okay day.,” said Newgarden. “Disappointing for the way it finished for us just because there was a great opportunity in the middle to win this race. I’m conflicted because on the one hand it was a great recovery for all of us on Team Penske. We started this weekend in pretty bad shape, were really far off the pace. We chipped away at it, did a lot of work, felt like we got really close in qualifying, had a really good race car. From that standpoint I’m elated, but just disappointed. Looked like we had an opportunity today and we weren’t really able to seal the deal. It was a great job for our team.”

O’Ward had to settle for another podium finish rather than what is becoming an elusive win for him this season.

“It was a hard-fought podium for my 5 camp,” said O’Ward. “We were a bit of a ping-pong ball in the start of the race in turn one and turn three, then got shuffled back even more. So, yeah, we had to pass everybody on track. Obviously happy with the result. But yeah, I think we all need to be better if we want to catch the 10 car. That’s just the reality of it.”

Nine races remain in the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season and after eight races, Palou leads by 71 points over Marcus Ericsson.

With his hot streak not looking to cool off anytime soon, are the other drivers worried?

“Win races,” said a smiling O’Ward. “If you win nine more races, yeah, you can do it.”

“Probably win by 200 points if you won nine races straight,” responded Newgarden. “Yeah, I mean, it’s pretty wide open still.”

Up next for the series is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on July 2nd.

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