Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Economy

Palou again dominates on IMS road course to kick off May

INDIANAPOLIS – It wasn’t his 16.8-second thumping of the field from a year ago that sparked a five-race run that included four victories and an Indianapolis 500 pole, but Alex Palou looked no less unstoppable in Saturday’s Sonsio Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

After a late-race restart with 17 laps to go, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver drove away from the field for a 6.6-second pad by the checkered flag, securing his first points-paying victory of 2024 and second overall race-win (including the $1 Million Challenge) to take a 12-point lead in the championship as part of his early title defense.

Here’s how he did it:

Palou loses lead on Lap 1, doesn’t panic

Palou’s race-winning move, in essence, came off the racing surface in his second of three pitstops on the day. Just short of the halfway point, Saturday’s polesitter was running in third place behind the pair of drivers who started just behind him as the green flag fell Saturday afternoon.

Christian Lundgaard, who qualified second and snatched the lead from Palou three turns into the 85-lap race Saturday, held a 1.4-second cushion on Will Power (who started third) by Lap 36 as the leaders began thinking about making their second stops. As the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver crept up onto nearly-lapped traffic, Palou’s gap to the front sat at 3.4 seconds.

With Lundgaard slowed as he navigated slower cars in front, Power’s deficit dipped to just a half-second. His stand-in strategist and full-time race engineer David Faustino gave Power a last-minute call into the pits on Lap 39, in hopes of being able to find clean air on his out lap and eventually jump Lundgaard in the pit sequence.

Lundgaard dove in the following lap, but not without giving up more of his advantage to Palou first. The Ganassi driver followed suit and pitted the lap after Lundgaard (Lap 41). The RLL driver maintained his advantage on Power on the pair’s blend on-track coming out of Turn 1, with the help of Marcus Ericsson running just ahead of Power to give Lundgaard a buffer.

Palou then popped out ahead of them both after his stop to take the lead of the race back after losing it on Lap 1 from pole.

Palou survives late-race restart

Lundgaard and Power both keyed off the front-running Palou for their final pitstops, diving in just as the Ganassi driver did at the end of Lap 62 facing five-plus second deficits to the No. 10 Honda. Power managed to leapfrog Lundgaard in the pits to eventually secure second place.

“We took what was available to us today, but you do get sick of (not winning),” said Power, who failed to pick up a win for the first time in well over a decade in 2023. “I’m racing very tough people, and if you aren’t exactly perfect, you won’t win. I wasn’t exactly perfect in qualifying, and we didn’t win.

“But I’m driving really well, and my crew is the best on pit-lane. Every time we stop, we have a chance to jump someone, and that’s what happened to get us second.”

And then, a potential saving grace nearly came for both he and Lundgaard.

With 20 laps to go, Dale Coyne Racing’s Luca Ghiotto stalled just off-track, forcing the race’s only full-course caution.

With 17 laps to go, though, any hope of Power and Lundgaard making a move on the eventual race-winner was erased. One lap after the green flag restart, Palou had already built a 1.1-second lead on Power, one that would only grow from there.

“I made a mistake on that start and lost that lead we fought so hard for in qualifying, but everyone on the crew did an amazing job in the pits to give me the lead back, and then we held onto it,” Palou said on Peacock post-race. “That’s an amazing win to repeat back-to-back after last year, and we’re going to try and continue this May.’

His focus, though, shifts quickly to Indy 500 practice that starts Tuesday.

“This afternoon,” he said of his attention shift. “As soon as we get some champagne.”

Though he admitted the No. 45 Honda crew in general lacked what it would’ve taken to battle for Saturday’s win, Lundgaard came away frustrated in yet another race that had him fighting near the front that included costly time lost on pit-lane.

“We needed a lot today. I think we did everything we could on the first two stints to make sure we had a shot,” he said. “But we struggled a bit (on pit-lane) when we’re head-to-head (like he was with Power on the final stop). But at the same time, I don’t want to overstep too much. It was a good day for the team, and we need to be proud of our first podium in May.”

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

You May Also Like

Investing

Newmont (NYSE: NEM) reported mixed financial results even as the price of gold approached its all-time high. In all, the company’s earnings per share...

Investing

Fisker (NYSE: FSR) stock price has been one of the best-performing electric vehicle (EV) stocks this week even as Tesla slumped. The shares jumped...

Investing

NatWest (LON: NWG) share price rose sharply, helped by the strong results from Barclays. The stock jumped to a high of 274.8p, which was...

Investing

The Fox Corporation (NASDAQ: FOX) stock price has been under pressure as investors come to terms with the abrupt firing of Tucker Carlson. The...




Disclaimer: Oldamericanbroker.com, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively “The Company”) do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the-company.


Copyright © 2024 Oldamericanbroker.com