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.
2020.09.14First 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.
2020.08.30Early Penalty Costly for Palou in Race 1 at Gateway
Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver Alex Palou’s race got off to a bad start at World Wide Technology Raceway after a questionable penalty sent him to the back of the field at the start. The rookie went on to cross the finish line in 15th place aboard his #55 Guaranteed Rate Honda.
Palou, who qualified 11th earlier in the day, was heading down the front stretch for the start of the race when cars in front of him slowed down as they waited for the green flag to fly. In order to avoid contact with the car in front of him, Palou jumped out of line and made it through unharmed while others spun behind him. However, the rookie would end up being penalized for getting out of formation before taking the green flag, even if it was to avoid contact.
The penalty meant that Palou had to take the Lap 14 restart from 18th. The driver of the #55 Guaranteed Rate Honda made it back up to 11th before his first pit stop on Lap 63 but continued on in 15th once stops had cycled through.
Palou climbed into the top 10 on Lap 102 a few laps before a caution for very light rain falling on the raceway. However, the rookie fell back to 13th when the race resumed on Lap 122.
In the later part of the race, the Spaniard stayed out as long as possible before making his final stop, in the hopes a caution would play in his favor, but it wasn’t meant to be, and Palou ended the race in 15th.
“The race didn’t start off like we wanted. I tried to avoid hitting the car in front of me as we were coming to take the green flag. They checked up in front of me and I pulled out of line to avoid contact, but I still got penalized for pulling out of line before the green. Because of that we got sent to the back and started last. From there, we just tried to make our way back up. We were a bit lucky with the yellow and made it back to the top 10. However, on the last restart I lost some places. We tried to go long before our last pit stop, hoping that a caution would come out, but it didn’t go our way. Tomorrow we have another race and the #55 Guaranteed Rate car is really strong so I’m looking forward to it.”
Palou will be starting Race 2 at World Wide Technology Raceway from the 14th place on the grid. The second part of the doubleheader weekend goes green at 2:45pm local time (3:45pm ET) and will be broadcast live on NBCSN.