Alex Palou won the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES GMR Grand Prix

Starting from 3rd place Car 10 Alex Palou, Honda, won the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES GMR Grand Prix for his 5th NTT INDYCAR SERIES win. This is his 1st win 4th Top 5 of 2023. 2nd Place Car 5 Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, started from 5th place posted his 4th Top 5 of 2023. 3rd Place Car 7 Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, started from 10th place posted his 2nd Top 5 of 2023.

4th Place Car 45 Christian Lundgaard, Honda, started from pole followed by 5th place Car 6 Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, started from 2nd place. 6th Place Car 9 Scott Dixon, Honda, started from 9th place followed by 7th place Car 2 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, started from 13th place. 8th Place Car 8 Marcus Ericsson, Honda, started from 7th place followed by 9th place Car 26 Colton Herta, Honda, started from 14th place. Lastly in the Top 10 was Car 15 Graham Rahal, Honda, in 10th place, started from 8th place.
Canadian Car 29 Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda finished in 17th place.

The race had 1 Caution: for 3 laps: 1st Caution on lap 2 for Contact: Car 18 and 51 in Turn 7.

Lead changes: 12 among 8 drivers. Lap Leaders: Palou, Alex 1 – 17, Lundgaard, Christian 18 – 19, Rosenqvist, Felix 20 – 22, Ericsson, Marcus 23, Rahal, Graham 24 – 30, Lundgaard, Christian 31 – 41, Palou, Alex 42 – 43, Ericsson, Marcus 44, Dixon, Scott 45 – 47, Palou, Alex 48 – 59, O’Ward, Pato 60 – 61, Rossi, Alexander 62 – 64, Palou, Alex 65 – 85.

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Point Standings: Palou 174, O’Ward 168, Ericsson 155, Grosjean 134, McLaughlin 133, Newgarden 131, Dixon 127, Power 122, Lundgaard 111, Rossi 108, Kirkwood 108, Herta 107, Rosenqvist 97, Ilott 92, Rahal 86, Malukas 79, Armstrong 77, VeeKay 64, Canapino 56, Castroneves 53, Harvey 53, Ferrucci 51, Pagenaud 50, Daly 49, DeFrancesco 46, Robb 42, Pedersen 40, Ed Carpenter 17, Takuma Sato 5

Photo Courtesy of INDYCAR

Palou’s Speed, Strategy Sink Rivals En Route to GMR Grand Prix Win

INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, May 13, 2023) – Alex Palou and Chip Ganassi Racing flexed a potent combination of speed and strategy to win the GMR Grand Prix on Saturday on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, the Spaniard’s first victory of the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.

2021 series champion Palou, who started third, drove his No. 10 The American Legion Honda to a 16.8006-second victory over runner-up Pato O’Ward in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi finished third in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, his first podium result with the team he joined this season after seven years at Andretti Autosport.

“We honestly knew we had a fast car since P1 (first practice) yesterday,” Palou said. “The car has been amazing all weekend. Once we knew we were starting on reds (Firestone alternate tires), I think we knew we were going to fight for the win.

“Amazing work by these guys. I just had to execute.”

Palou’s last victory came in the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey last September at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

NTT P1 Award winner Christian Lundgaard finished a season-best fourth in the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda. Felix Rosenqvist rounded out the top five in the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, as his season-best result gave the team three of the top five finishing positions.

Devising the correct tire strategy for the 85-lap race caused considerable head-scratching for strategists and engineers up and down the pit lane Friday evening and Saturday, reflected in the reality that six of the top 10 starters began the race on Firestone primary “black” tires and four started on Firestone alternate “red” tires. INDYCAR rules require each driver to use both tire compounds during road and street course races.

Palou signaled his intent and showed his speed on Lap 1 when he jumped from third to first on alternate tires, taking the top spot in Turn 13 from pole sitter Lundgaard, who was on primary tires.

For the next 65 laps, Palou, Lundgaard, O’Ward, Rosenqvist, Rossi, Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal and Marcus Ericsson swapped the top spot as leaders peeled off the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course to execute their chosen tire and fuel strategies. The constant shuffle kept strategists on their toes, as one wrong move could have proved pivotal if a caution flag fell at the wrong time.

But the race stayed caution-free after an incident on Lap 2 between Dale Coyne Racing teammates David Malukas and Sting Ray Robb, so the outcome came down to a blend of smarts, speed and execution. And nobody did it better than Palou and the Ganassi brain trust.

Palou made his final stop on Lap 60, choosing scuffed Firestone primary tires, which are slower initially than the softer-compound alternates but whose harder compound lasted laps longer than the alternates and proved to be the better choice for consistent lap times.

Rossi took the lead on Lap 62 when teammate O’Ward pitted for a set of sticker alternate tires for his final stint. But Rossi surrendered the lead to Palou when he made his final stop on Lap 65, and then it was checkout time for Palou.

Palou had a 10.5-second lead on O’Ward when he inherited the lead after Rossi’s pit stop. O’Ward hoped to take a chunk out of that lead and perhaps even challenge Palou for victory due to the extra grip and speed of his sticker Firestone alternate tires, but Palou’s pace on both Firestone compounds proved too much. He pulled away over the closing laps, leaving the best jousting on track as the spirited, position-swapping contest for the final podium position between Rossi, Lundgaard and Rosenqvist.

“Hats off to them,” O’Ward said of Palou and the CGR team. “I just think they were extremely strong today. They really were. For us, we’re two, three and five as a team, and that’s pretty frickin’ phenomenal.

“The guys gave us a great race car. We were kind of just running our own race today. We were there fighting with Lundgaard and all of us teammates. Once I got clear, I had to minimize the gap I had to Alex, but I think they were very strong today. We were just hanging on there at the end, trying not to destroy our reds.”

Palou led 52 of the 85 laps, followed by Lundgaard with 13 laps led. Palou will split $10,000 with Chip Ganassi Racing and his chosen charity, The American Legion, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.

The win also vaulted Palou to the top of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES standings in the most important month of the series calendar. He leads second-place O’Ward, 174-168, after five races this season. Previous championship leader Ericsson slipped to third, 19 points behind Palou, after finishing eighth in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the 107th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 27 on the 2.5-mile IMS oval. Practice for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” starts Tuesday, May 16, with PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying on Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21.

GMR Grand Prix Race Results

INDIANAPOLIS – Results Saturday of the GMR Grand Prix NTT INDYCAR SERIES event on the 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, car, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

  1. (3) Car 10 Alex Palou, Honda, 85, Running
  2. (5) Car 5 Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 85, Running
  3. (10) Car 7 Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 85, Running
  4. (1) Car 45 Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 85, Running
  5. (2) Car 6 Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 85, Running
  6. (9) Car 9 Scott Dixon, Honda, 85, Running
  7. (13) Car 2 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 85, Running
  8. (7) Car 8 Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 85, Running
  9. (14) Car 26 Colton Herta, Honda, 85, Running
  10. (8) Car 15 Graham Rahal, Honda, 85, Running
  11. (18) Car 28 Romain Grosjean, Honda, 85, Running
  12. (12) Car 12 Will Power, Chevrolet, 85, Running
  13. (17) Car 21 Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 85, Running
  14. (6) Car 27 Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 85, Running
  15. (11) Car 11 Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 85, Running
  16. (16) Car 3 Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 85, Running
  17. (15) Car 29 Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 84, Running – Canadian
  18. (24) Car 77 Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 84, Running
  19. (21) Car 20 Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 84, Running
  20. (4) Car 30 Jack Harvey, Honda, 84, Running
  21. (25) Car 78 Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 84, Running
  22. (26) Car 06 Helio Castroneves, Honda, 84, Running
  23. (27) Car 14 Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 80, Running
  24. (23) Car 55 Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 79, Running
  25. (19) Car 60 Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 58, Mechanical
  26. (20) Car 18 David Malukas, Honda, 2, Contact
  27. (22) Car 51 Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 1, Contact

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 115.234 mph
Time of Race: 01:47:56.7003
Margin of victory: 16.8006 seconds
Cautions: 1 for 3 laps
Lead changes: 12 among 8 drivers
Time of Race: 01:47:56.7003 Avg Speed: 115.234
Fastest Lap: 123.162 mph ( 71.2912 sec) on lap 8 by 10 – Alex Palou

Next Event: 107th Indianapolis 500 Sunday, May 28, 2023

Photos & Graphics Courtesy of INDYCAR

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