When Chip Ganassi Racing switched to Honda engines in 2017, the racing world expected great results. The Honda-powered team hit the track running and continues to rack up wins. The team is already making quite a showing in the NTT IndyCar series, thanks in part to Alex Palou. Palou opened the season with a win, his first in the NTT IndyCar series. His driving skills and strategy took center stage during this race, and this will likely be the first of many wins for the 24-year-old driver. Find out how he changed his strategy mid-race to secure the win.
Early Cautions Led to an Adjustment
When Palou slid behind the wheel at the start of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, he planned to make three pit stops. However, there were two cautions early in the race, so the track was under yellow during eight of the first 11 laps. Paulo focused on burning as little fuel as possible during the cautions. Then, he determined that he could complete the race with two pit stops instead of three.
The other drivers didn’t use the same strategy. They didn’t take measures to conserve fuel during the cautions, so they still had to make three pit stops. That helped Palou lead the pack of drivers across the finish line.
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Maintaining the Lead
He might have slowed down to conserve fuel at first, but he quickly jumped in front of the other drivers. He led the race for 56 of its 90 laps. That includes the last 34 laps.
Other drivers were nipping at his heels, including his teammate and previous series champion, Scott Power. He had another former champion behind him, too, in Will Power. No longer conserving fuel, Palou went full speed on those final laps and then coasted to victory. He was two seconds ahead of Power, who did everything he could to catch up but couldn’t make up the time after taking a third pit stop.
This is just Palou’s second full season racing in the NTT IndyCar Series, and the opening race was his 15th series start. He’s started his career with a bang, and you can expect to hear lots from him for seasons to come.
After watching Palou behind the wheel of a Honda-powered vehicle, you can’t help but want to get a new Honda. You might not be able to buy the same car that Palou raced to victory, but you can get a powerful, efficient vehicle that will make you feel like you own the roads. So head to Honda North to see the inventory of new and pre-owned vehicles. Our team will help you find a car that fits your budget and driving style. Then, you will get to enjoy the power and performance of a Honda, even if you aren’t competing in the NTT IndyCar series.
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