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Alex Palou at Mid-Ohio

Source: James Black/Penske Entertainment / other

LEXINGTON, Ohio. — The hot streak continues for Alex Palou and Chip Ganassi Racing as Palou rode another brilliant strategy call by his team to his fourth win of the season.

“Having a good car and a good strategy,” Palou said. “We needed to do something different than the other cars up front and that’s what we did.”

Palou started fourth on the grid behind Colton Herta, Grahan Rahal, and Kyle Kirkwood. All three aforementioned drivers started on the softer red tires, which tended to be faster but fell off much quicker than the more durable black tires.

It would be the latter tires that Palou and his teammate Scott Dixon would start on.

The race’s first and only caution came on the opening lap with Marcus Ericsson and Felix Rosenqvist colliding.

Once the race was green again, Herta led the entire opening stint, which for the leaders lasted around 27 laps. Herta pitted first in an attempt to undercut Rahal, who was challenging Herta for the lead the whole opening stint. Little did either Herta or Rahal realize that Palou would get around Kirkwood and just sit and wait.

Palou’s opportunity came on pit road, and thanks to the strategy call to start on black tires, Palou switched to red tires on a fast first stop and would overcut both Herta and Rahal for the lead.

Other solid strategy calls had Will Power and Scott McLaughlin of Team Penske gain several spots in the pitstop shuffle.

At one point, Palou opened up an 8-second lead on Herta who was dumbfounded on his team radio as to how Palou was able to build such a massive lead. Palou’s tired tires never seemed to fall off on the shorter stint as his final stop came on Lap 53 going back to the blacks.

Herta had one last shot at making it competitive into the final round of stops, but he was dinged for speeding coming in and his crew was also a full second slower than Palou’s.

Palou kept the lead, and Herta’s miscue took him out of contention putting Dixon back into the runner-up spot behind Palou.

Palou cruised to the end taking the win and extending his points lead. He’s also had eight finishes inside the Top 10 in the season’s nine races contested so far.

“This has been the best part of my career so far,” said Palou of his run of success. “We’ll focus on what we can do. We have a couple more races coming up and we’ll maximize what we can to get the No. 10 car to the front.”

Dixon was second and Will Power scraped home to get another podium finish in third.

The win for Palou extends his championship lead, especially with Ericsson’s misfortune and a sub-par day from Josef Newgarden who finished 12th.

Palou could make it four wins in a row in two weeks as the series will head to Toronto on July 16th. He takes a 110-point lead into Toronto over Dixon who gained three-spots in the title hunt with his P2 result.

Newgarden held steady in third overall in the point standings.

The post Strategy, Fast Pitstops Propel Palou To Fourth Win In Five Races appeared first on WIBC 93.1 FM — Indy’s Mobile News.

Strategy, Fast Pitstops Propel Palou To Fourth Win In Five Races  was originally published on wibc.com

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