Race fans are getting to know Alex Palou as one of the most promising drivers in the NTT IndyCar Series.
At 24, the Spaniard became a multi-time race winner after driving the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to victory in the season opener at Alabama’s Barber Motorsports Park and at Road America in June.
On Memorial Day weekend, Palou displayed his tenacious racing ability and savvy that nearly won him the 105th Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Palou led 35 of the 200 laps and was in the lead before Helio Castroneves passed him with two laps remaining.
Castroneves defeated Palou by .483 seconds to become just the fourth four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.
“To be honest, I was sad and a bit down the first three minutes when I jumped out of the car, but then I realized I was in the Indy 500 driving for Chip Ganassi Racing and I was second,” Palou recalled. “There was only one person who was prouder and happier than me and that was Helio Castroneves who worked so hard for this race. And it was an awesome battle to be honest. We kept fighting until the end and demonstrated we are capable of it, but he was a bit braver this time.
“It was his day; it was not my day, but we kept fighting.”
Palou left Indy leading the NTT IndyCar Series standings with a 36-point advantage over Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon. He carried that championship lead for the rest of the summer before a crash at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway knocked Palou from the point lead.
Palou was not intimidated by his rivals or his challenge for the championship.
“It’s nothing that scares me,” Palou said. “We were going to be in a really good position at Indy Road Course. We were fast there. We were going to be in a really good position at Gateway before the crash. It’s not like we are slow and don’t know how to get there.”
A fast start to his sophomore season in IndyCar helped propel Palou in his battle for the championship.
When America was getting to know Alex Palou in 2020, they discovered a very enthusiastic, young driver who could get the job done at Dale Coyne Racing. His reputation of being fast and fearless preceded him, but what they discovered was his engaging personality that made him an instant hit in the IndyCar paddock.
“He’s actually one of those really nice guys,” said six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, one of his three teammates at Chip Ganassi Racing. “There has to be some underlying thing going on there somewhere. None of us have found it yet, but no, he’s a really nice person. His family — I’ve met his dad a few times now. Everyone is just super nice.
“It’s great to see somebody that’s easy to work with. Some drivers that we all get to work with can be somewhat difficult, but he is extremely willing and wanting to learn, asks a lot of questions, sends a lot of text messages to try and just do a better job.”
Palou was quite flattered at Dixon’s positive assessment.
“Wow, I didn’t know he felt like that, so that’s really cool,” Palou said. “That’s amazing. I’m just in a happy place. I am racing cars in the U.S. I’m driving Indy cars and I’m driving for the best team. They gave me the opportunity to be here talking with you guys and winning races, so that’s why I’m always smiling, always positive, and I’ll keep like that as long as I keep racing.”
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