Palou “really happy” with first top-five finish on an oval

Erstwhile championship leader Alex Palou said he was gratified to finish fourth in his first IndyCar oval race for Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda.

Palou “really happy” with first top-five finish on an oval

With qualifying canceled and the grid set by championship points, Palou started the 212-lap race from pole position, but at the start of the third lap he was passed by teammate Scott Dixon as they came past the kink on the front straight.

A slow pitstop under caution dropped him to fourth place in the second half of the race, and it was tough for evenly matched cars to complete passes. However, he kept his cool, held off the charging Graham Rahal to the checkered flag and he would prove to be the only driver besides Dixon to lead in the 212-lap race.

He told NBCSN afterward, “We gave [the lead] to Scott, so it’s not bad, and it was a good day. I learned a lot.

“It was the first time on an oval that we finished in the top five, which is good. We got all the laps, lots of running time behind other cars, so I think we were good. We just needed a bit more experience to win. The car was good.”

Asked what he learned from following Dixon closely through the first stint, Palou responded, “That he was faster than me!

“I was just playing with my tools and everything. If we were running without traffic I could have got him or stayed with him really close but he gains time when we get to traffic and it starts getting tough and I struggled there.

“But I’ll get there tomorrow. I think by the end of the race I was already there in confidence, and so yeah, looking forward to tomorrow for sure…

“I didn’t think before coming here that we’d be P4, so I’m just really, really happy.

“We have another shot tomorrow and hopefully I can be on that Victory Lane – it looks crazy good. So tomorrow’s going to be a better day for sure.

Dixon’s win has elevated him to the top of the championship after three rounds, but Palou has dropped only to second as two of his nearest rivals in points, Will Power and Colton Herta, suffered poor results tonight, with 14th and DNF respectively.

Dixon and Palou will lead the field to the green in tomorrow’s longer (248-lap) race.

 

 

shares
comments

Related video

Texas IndyCar: Dixon dominates, McLaughlin stars to score NZ 1-2
Previous article

Texas IndyCar: Dixon dominates, McLaughlin stars to score NZ 1-2

Next article

Rahal wants “man-to-man talk” with Harvey over defensive move

Rahal wants “man-to-man talk” with Harvey over defensive move
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021