NEWS & RACES
2020.10.26Palou has Strong Run in St. Petersburg to End His Rookie Season
Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver Alex Palou’s rookie season came to end on Sunday with a strong run in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in which he placed himself 13th after running in the lead pack.
Starting 16th, Palou fell to 19th at the start of the 100-lap race but had made it back up to 15th by the time he entered pit lane for his first stop of the day on Lap 28. Then, with a full course caution less than 10 laps later, Palou and his #55 Guaranteed Rate team opted for a different strategy and pit again on Lap 38.
With multiple full course cautions over the next 15 laps, and finding himself at the back of the field, Palou headed down pit lane twice. Once for fuel only on Lap 46 and again on Lap 51 for fuel and a fresh set of Firestone Alternate tires.
Palou found himself in 16th place when the race resumed on Lap 53 and steadily moved up as other cars pitted. By the time another full course caution came out on Lap 70, Palou was up to third. The rookie then moved into second place on the Lap 75 restart before another full course caution.
The Spaniard then went for the lead on the Lap 80 restart, taking over first place before getting passed by eventual race winner Josef Newgarden.
Following another full course caution, Palou was running fifth at the restart, where he remained until having to make one final pit stop for fuel on Lap 94. The Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver would go on to take the checkered flag in 13th.
“We didn’t have a good start because I made a mistake staying in our fuel saving map, so that sent us back a few spots. It’s so difficult to overtake here so as soon as the yellow came out, we gambled a bit with our strategy. At the end of the day it didn’t work out, but it was the right thing to do, I think we needed another yellow to be able to finish in the top five with our Guaranteed Rate Honda. We did the best we could today. I’m sad that it’s the end of the season,” shared Palou. “Looking back, there were some good moments and some not so good moments. I think it was a tough season in general with the limited practice to learn the tracks and understand the car, but it was a great learning experience that will hopefully help for the future.”
Palou ended up second in the Rookie of the Year standings and 16th in the overall Championship points.
Team Owner Dale Coyne shared his thoughts on the season for both Palou and Santino Ferrucci (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan): “It’s been a good year for the team. I think both of our drivers have increased their stock. For Alex (Palou) it was tough this year coming here with no testing, not knowing any of these tracks, no extra rookie days and short weekend schedules. It was very tough for him. As for Santino (Ferrucci), he continued to impress, so we’re happy with both guys and the job they did this year.”
The Dale Coyne Racing team now looks forward to start working on the 2021 season.
2020.10.21Palou Ready to Make NTT IndyCar Series Street Course Debut at Season Finale in St. Petersburg
Seven months later than initially thought, Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver Alex Palou will finally be able to turn his first laps at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, officially making his NTT IndyCar Series street course debut.
Prior to the start of his North American racing career, the rookie thought he would be making his official Series debut on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course in St. Petersburg, but, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event that was meant to kick off the 2020 season, will now be the final race on this year’s schedule.
Palou is coming off a top ten finish at the Harvest GP a few weeks ago and is looking to end his rookie season on a high note. So far in 13 starts, the driver of the #55 Guaranteed Rate car has a best finishing position of third (Road America Race 1) as well as a best starting position of third (Road America Race 2).
While this will be Palou’s first NTT IndyCar Series race on a street course, the Spaniard has some experience racing on street circuits having competed at Norising (Nuremburg, Germany), Pau (Southwestern France) and Macau (China).
“I’m super excited to be heading back to St. Petersburg this weekend and to finally get to race there seven months later! It’s great that we can go back to close out the season and that we’ll be able to do it in front of fans as well,” expressed Palou. “This will be my first street course in an Indy car. It’s kind of crazy to think that it’s my last race of the season but my first street course. It’s going to be challenging, as always, with only one practice, but we’ll do our best. Hopefully we can finish the season on a high. Our results have been improving, and we’ve been more consistent, which we needed. We’re aiming for another top 10, it won’t be easy, but we’ll go for it and maybe even do better than our goal.”
With only one IndyCar race scheduled for this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Palou will get one 90-minute practice session on Saturday, October 24 at 10:55am ET, followed by the return of three round Fast Six qualifying at 3:05pm ET. Both sessions will be streamed live on the NBC Sports Gold App with qualifying also broadcast on a tape delay on NBCSN from 8pm to 9pm ET.
The final round of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season will be preceded by a 30-minute warm up at 10:40am ET on Sunday, October with the green flag for the 14th race of the year scheduled for 2:32pm ET. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast live on NBC from 2:30pm ET.
2020.10.04Ninth Place Finish for Palou in Race 2 of Harvest GP
Rookie Alex Palou reached his target of finishing in the top 10 in Race 2 of the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR on Saturday crossing the finish line aboard his #55 Guaranteed Rate, Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda in ninth place.
Palou improved his starting position for Race 2 by qualifying fourth earlier in the day with the rookie missing out on a front row start by a mere 0.0567 seconds.
The Spaniard lost one position at the start of the 75-lap event, falling to fifth. He remained in that position for the majority of his stint and entered pit lane in sixth for his first stop on Lap 25.
By the midway point of what ended up being a fuel strategy race, Palou was running ninth. While the rookie kept Simon Pagenaud at bay with a more than 10 second gap in his final stint, he was unable to catch Championship leader Scott Dixon despite running laps time as fast and even better at times.
“It was a good day with the #55 Guaranteed Rate Honda. Qualifying went well this morning. We improved a lot from yesterday. We did a risky strategy of doing two sets of Firestone reds and it paid off. Our target for the race was to finish in the Top 10 and we did,” said Palou. “It was the first time for me doing a fuel strategy race like this and it worked out so I’m happy. This is where I think we belong in the top 10 so hopefully we can finish out the season with another good result in a few weeks.”
Next up for the Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh squad will be the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the final race of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, on October 25.
2020.10.03Early Penalty Costly for Palou in Race 1 of Harvest GP
Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver Alex Palou’s first race of the doubleheader INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR didn’t go as he had hoped when an early penalty cost him a chance at a better finish. Palou crossed the finish line in 17th.
Starting from 17th, the rookie moved up a few positions at the start of the 85-lap event. Palou then continued to make his way up the charts having opted for a longer first stint than most of his competitors.
The driver of the #55 Guaranteed Rate Honda entered pit lane at the end of Lap 22 having just taken over the lead thanks to his pit stop strategy. However, the Spaniard received a drive through penalty for a pit exit violation and found himself in 25th place after having served his penalty.
Despite registering the fifth fastest race lap (1:10.9775) and gaining positions throughout the remainder of the race, Palou was only able to make it as high as 17th by the time he took the checkered flag.
“I made a mistake leaving pit lane after my first stop so that set us back and pretty much cost us our race. There’s not much more to say,” expressed Palou. “It’s a shame because our #55 Guaranteed Rate car was good, quite competitive. We discovered what our issue was yesterday in qualifying so hopefully we can have a better qualifying run tomorrow and that we can start further up for Race 2 and give ourselves a better chance.”
Round 13 of 14 of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season will go green Saturday, October 3 at 2:31pm and will be broadcast live on NBC from 2:30pm ET. Qualifying for Race 2 of the Harvest GP will take place at 10:20am earlier that day.
2020.10.02Alex Palou to Start from Ninth Row for Race 1 of Harvest GP
Indianapolis, IN (October 1, 2020) – Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh rookie Alex Palou will start Race 1 of the Harvest GP presented by GMR from the ninth row after qualifying 17th in Thursday evening’s 10-minute qualifying session.
After leading practice earlier in the day, the rookie was looking forward to getting back on track for qualifying. The driver of the #55 Guaranteed Rate car spent the first part of the session in the top four of his group, however, after switching to the alternate Firestone tire, he was unable to move up the time charts and found himself ninth in his group despite registering a fastest lap of 1: 10.0323.
“The #55 Guaranteed Rate Honda was really strong in practice earlier today, so I was optimistic heading into qualifying this evening. So, I’m disappointed with our qualifying result, there’s not much to say. The car felt okay but the speed wasn’t there. The engineers are looking into it. I’m confident we’ll come back strong on the race tomorrow,” shared Palou.
Round 12 of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series will go green at 4pm ET on Friday, October 2. The 85-lap race will be broadcast live on the USA network.
The penultimate round of the 2020 season, will be broadcast live on NBC from 2:30pm ET on Saturday, October 3 with qualifying scheduled for 10:20am earlier that day.
2020.09.17START YOUR ENGINES: MUSIC CITY GRAND PRIX CONFIRMED FOR 2021 SCHEDULE
The Music City Grand Prix, in partnership with INDYCAR, is bringing a new sound to Nashville. The Music City Grand Prix announced today that the newest NTT INDYCAR SERIES race will debut Aug. 6-8, 2021, in Nashville, Tennessee. The three-day international festival of speed and sound will be staged on a temporary grand prix circuit in downtown Nashville and around the Nissan Stadium campus.
Attendees can look forward to the best Nashville has to offer, including live music performances by top artists, best-in-class chef-curated food experiences and entertainment that centers on speed in a way only Music City can serve up.
“The Tennessee Titans and Nissan Stadium are excited to partner with the Music City Grand Prix to bring the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to Nashville and the stadium campus,” said Burke Nihill, president and CEO of the Tennessee Titans. “This is in keeping with our organizational goal of making our city, this venue and our organization as versatile and as busy as possible.”
Never-Before-Seen Track Features
With Nissan Stadium serving as the paddock for the race, the 2.17-mile temporary track will race across the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge into downtown Nashville and back, making the Music City Grand Prix one of the only events in motorsports to cross over a major body of water.
The first street course added to INDYCAR since 2013, it features 11 turns and plenty of straightaways for drivers to pass. These and other dynamic features will create an exhilarating experience for both drivers and fans.
“The Music City Grand Prix will be a one-of-a-kind NTT INDYCAR SERIES experience anchored in the heart of Nashville’s action-packed, exhilarating downtown corridor,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. “Nashville is a world-class city and global entertainment capital that provides an exceptional platform for our Series. From professional sports teams and top live music acts to a burgeoning food and culture scene, it is a perfect home for a racing event of this magnitude. Urban street festivals have become a huge part of our DNA at INDYCAR, and this three-day festival—complete with a course that pushes the limits—will highlight everything Nashville and the sport have to offer, providing international travelers, racing enthusiasts and local thrill-seekers alike with an experience of a lifetime.”
A Local Event With an International Draw
“Nashville continues to serve as a world-class entertainment and event destination, so adding an urban racing festival of this caliber is a logical next step for the city,” said Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation. “From the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Finals to the 2019 NFL Draft, Nashville knows how to host sporting events of all kinds while making them a party. The Music City Grand Prix underscores why Nashville was named Best Sports City in 2019, and we look forward to the national and international marketing it will bring to the city.”
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES features talented and charismatic drivers from around the globe, including legendary Scott Dixon from New Zealand, two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato from Japan and Nashville native and resident Josef Newgarden, a two-time Series champion.
“Nashville is a special place, and the announcement of the Music City Grand Prix truly marks a huge step forward for our community as we look to the future and a return of our thriving and unique entertainment scene,” said Nashville Mayor John Cooper. “This announcement could not have come at a better time. The event represents a tremendous private investment in the city and a catalyst to our economic recovery.”
In keeping with true Nashville community, the Music City Grand Prix has forged key partnerships in order to bring this privately funded event to fruition. Music City Grand Prix is appreciative for the collaboration with INDYCAR, the Tennessee Titans, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation, Metro Government of Nashville & Davidson County, the State of Tennessee, the Nashville Sports Council and the Middle Tennessee State University School of Concrete and Construction Management.
Club RPM and the Founders Experience
While the event will feature a variety of affordable and attractive ticket options to ensure all attendees experience a weekend unlike any other, the Music City Grand Prix is currently offering two distinctive membership initiatives. Club RPM is a premium VIP experience. Early members will gain access to concierge-style service for entertainment reservations, valet parking and entry into the Club RPM lounge at the Bridge Building. Additionally, fans can become a Music City Grand Prix Founder and receive reserved seating, exclusive discounts and priority purchase opportunities on parking, hotels and more.
Additional information, including the Music City Grand Prix schedules, artist lineup, food experiences and more, will be released at a later date. Visit www.musiccitygp.com to find more details on the event, sign up for Club RPM or become a Founder.
2020.09.14First Lap Contact Ends Palou’s Race 2 at Mid-Ohio
Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh rookie Alex Palou’s race ended as quickly as it started after contact going into the second turn of the 75-lap event put an end to his Honda Indy 200 doubleheader weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Palou, who was starting from fourth, maintained his position at the start, however his race would soon come to an end following contact with teammate Santino Ferrucci. The Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan driver was getting back on track after running wide into the grass when he hit Palou.
Damage to the front suspension combined with a sprained thumb suffered in the incident put an end to the rookie’s race.
“That’s not how I wanted to end my day at Mid-Ohio in our #55 Guaranteed Rate car. We were happy to be starting from fourth and to be starting at the front of the field. I had a good start but then I saw a car coming towards me. I moved to the right a bit to try and avoid him, but I couldn’t go very far because Felix (Rosenqvist) was next to me and we ended up both getting hit and taken out. It just wasn’t our weekend at Mid-Ohio,” shared Palou.
Next up for Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh is the doubleheader Harvest Grand Prix weekend October 2nd and 3rd.
2020.09.13Palou Gains Eight Positions, Finishes 12th in Race 1 at Mid-Ohio
Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh rookie Alex Palou moved up eight positions, the most of any driver, during Race 1 of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio to finish 12th aboard his No. 55 Guaranteed Rate Honda on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, things were looking up for Palou after finishing seventh in the weekend’s only practice session. Then in qualifying, Palou took over first place in his group after two laps on primary tires. However, he ended up going off track on his third qualifying lap and in doing so, damaged the underwing on his Honda powered car.
In addition to losing his quickest time for causing a local yellow and impeding a competitor’s lap, the broken underwing meant he also ruined his chance of improving his lap time. Palou had to settle for 20th place on the starting grid of a race where passing proved to be difficult even with a fast car.
At the start of the 75-lap event, Palou gained three positions on the first lap and was running 16th by Lap 2. Despite moving up while others pit ahead of him, the Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver would once again find himself 16th after making his first trip down pit lane on Lap 24.
Palou then picked up another three positions during this second stint to move into 13th following his final pit stop on Lap 52. The rookie registered the fifth fastest lap time on his way to a 12th place finish.
“It was a tough day. Things went really well in practice this morning. I was very confident and comfortable with the #55 Guaranteed Rate car,” said Palou. “Then in qualifying, the first two laps with the blacks were really good. I was P1 at the time but I went off track and broke the underwing so that ruined our run on the alternate Firestone tire. Starting 20th there wasn’t a lot we could do. It was a difficult race just because we were quick but couldn’t overtake much. On the positive side, we gained the most positions of all drivers. At the end of the day, I don’t think there was much more we could do. It was tough but we have another chance tomorrow to do better.”
Palou and the Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh squad will be back in action tomorrow for Race 2 of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car course.
Qualifying for Race 2 will take place on Sunday, September 13 at 10:15am ET and will be streamed live on the NBC Sports Gold App with Race 2 of the Honda Indy 200 doubleheader weekend broadcast live on NBC from 1pm ET.
2020.09.12Alex Palou Heads Back to Where it All Began
For the first time this season, Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh rookie Alex Palou will be competing at a track he’s driven an Indy car before when the NTT IndyCar Series heads to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Honda Indy 200 doubleheader September 12 and 13.
Palou got his first taste of IndyCar at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn natural terrain road course during an impressive test with the team in July 2019. With changes in the schedule and no testing permitted this season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the rookie hasn’t had the chance to visit a track he’s tested at previously until now.
“I’m super excited to be heading back to a road course this weekend at Mid-Ohio after doing six oval races in nine events so far this season. I’ve had great fun on the ovals and learned a lot. We had really good pace but unfortunately no strong results to show for it. So, I’m really looking forward to Mid-Ohio this weekend,” expressed Palou. “It’s the first track that I’m going to this year that I’ve driven on before, so I know what to expect. It’s an environment that I’m much more comfortable with and our #55 Guaranteed Rate car has been strong on road courses. My confidence is 100%. I will definitely be more in ‘push’ mode versus ‘rookie’ mode! Hopefully we can get our first win at Mid-Ohio. Plus, it’s a doubleheader weekend, so it’s a great opportunity for us to maximize our results. I can’t wait to get on track.”
The Spaniard scored his best NTT IndyCar Series result so far on a road course with a third-place finish at Road America Race 1 and he also registered his best starting position of third at Road America Race 2.
Drivers will get a 75-minute practice session on Saturday, September 12 starting at 10:45am before qualifying in the early afternoon (2pm ET) for that evening’s race. Race 1 from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will go green at 5pm ET and be broadcast live on NBCSN from 4:30pm ET.
Qualifying for Race 2 will take place on Sunday, September 13 at 10:15am ET with the second part of the doubleheader weekend broadcast live on NBC from 1pm ET.
Practice and both qualifying sessions will be streamed live on the NBC Sports Gold app.
2020.08.31Palou Registers Fastest Race Lap in Race 2 at Gateway, Finishes 12th
Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver Alex Palou’s #55 Guaranteed Rate Honda was the quickest car on track, but in a race where passing was extremely limited, the rookie had to settle with a 12th place finish in Race 2 at World Wide Technology Raceway on Sunday.
Starting 14th, Palou lost a couple of positions at the start but managed to gain one spot back to move into 15th place. With passing being very difficult for everyone on track, the Spaniard held his position for the majority of his first stint.
Once all cars on track had completed their first pit stops, Palou had moved into 14th, where once again he would remain until his second stop on Lap 92.
Shortly after completing his third and final pit stop that allowed him to gain a couple more spots, Palou registered the fastest race lap on Lap 147 with a time of 25.69 seconds around the 1.25-mile oval. Despite his speed, the rookie would take the checkered flag in 12th position.
“That was an uneventful race. It was super difficult to pass. I think the only passing that happened was at the start and with the pit strategy where we gained four or five positions. It was easy to follow other cars but just very hard to get a run on them, and that was the same for everyone on track. It ended up being about strategy and trying to make that work in our favor. It’s a shame because we had a really fast car, we had the fastest race lap and that shows how good our #55 Guaranteed Rate car is. I felt really comfortable with the car, it’s too bad we couldn’t finish any higher,” shared Palou.