Sports

Alex Palou pulls away from Will Power to win 2nd straight Indy GP and retake points lead

Alex Palou, of Spain, drives during the IndyCar Grand Prix auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Alex Palou won a three-car battle among the leaders on his final pit stop then Will Power into the first turn on the Indianapolis Grand Prix’s only restart Saturday before pulling away for his second straight win in the race.

The Spaniard beat Australian Will Power to the finish line by 6.6106 seconds. Pole winner Christian Lundgaard, of Denmark, was third, more than eight seconds behind Palou, the defending IndyCar Series champion who moved back into the top spot of the season standings.

Palou led a race-high 39 of 85 laps, earning his first official win of the season and 10th of his career. He also won the exhibition all-star race in March.

Power wound up second despite working with two new Team Penske members because his race strategist and engineer are both serving two-race suspensions this month in the wake of a cheating scandal.

Palou became the first back-to-back winner on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course since Power last did it in 2017 and 2018 though he wasn’t as dominant as he was in 2023 when he won by nearly 17 seconds.

But it wasn’t terribly close, either, as Palou led by wide margins for most of the second half of the race.

Two of Palou’s teammates from New Zealand — six-time series champ Scott Dixon and Marcus Armstong — rounded out the top five.

Colton Herta fell from first to third in the points after finishing seventh. The American qualified 24th.

ENGINE TROUBLE

Arrow McLaren’s race day got off to a rough start when Pato O’Ward’s No. 5 Chevrolet suffered an engine problem during the morning warmup.

Smoke started billowing from the rear end of the car and the Mexican driver climbed out of the cockpit before the track’s safety team had to extinguish a fire. The crew changed out the engine but O’Ward was not penalized for the change and still started fifth.

But just 17 laps into the race, he pitted because of struggling with power and a vibration. He wasn’t happy about his late race strategy, either, as he finished 13th.

UP NEXT

The IndyCar Series holds its top event, the Indianapolis 500, May 26 on the Brickyard’s historic 2.5-mile oval. Qualifying begins next Saturday with the six-car pole shootout set for May 19. Bumping also will be held next Saturday with 34 cars vying to fill the traditional 33-car starting grid.

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AP Auto Racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing

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