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IndyCar Road America

Palou: Newgarden apologized for Road America IndyCar contact

Road America IndyCar winner Alex Palou says runner-up Josef Newgarden has apologized to him for their collision in Sunday’s race.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Palou was running second to Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta when he ran wide at Turn 5 just before half distance, allowing Team Penske’s Newgarden to get a run on him into the uphill left-hander at Turn 6.

As they arrived in the braking zone, Indy 500 winner Newgarden squeezed him at the turn-in point, causing a collision that sent Palou wide onto the entry curbing and grass.

Although Palou stated “he didn’t give me enough room”, he accepted Newgarden’s belief that he had left him a full car’s width of space.

“It was my mistake,” Palou said of his initial error. “I was saving fuel. I braked just a little bit [at] the apex. The off-line was more slippery.

“Just got over on the exit curb, got a big snap of oversteer, lost a position there. Completely my fault.”

Of the collision that followed, he added: “Then, yeah, we touch. Obviously, he didn't give me enough room, but he already apologized. Honestly, I knew he was not doing it on purpose. It was just he thought that there was enough room.

“So, no issues at all. I did that to somebody, I think it was St. Pete. You open a little bit the corner to make it happen, suddenly you touch.

“It looks worse on TV than what it feels on the car. Yeah, I mean, coming from Josef, I know it was not on purpose.”

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet podium

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet podium

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

Newgarden finished 4.5s behind Palou but feels that he lost his opportunity to beat him at the following restart, when he got boxed in behind some tailenders and lost his track position to the series leader.

“I think at the end Alex had the field covered,” Newgarden admitted. “He was very good on that final stint. I don't think we were going to make anything happen there.

“In the middle there was a great opportunity, we just didn't capitalize on it. Got pretty dicey with the restarts.

“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.”

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