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.

 

 

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About this article

Series IndyCar
Event Texas
Drivers Alex Palou
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing
Author David Malsher-Lopez
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