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Alex Palou was not complaining about the street circuit in Detroit on Sunday.
Palou, who started on the NTT IndyCar Series pole, withstood challenges during three restarts in the final 15 laps to win the 100-lap Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear. Will Power finished second, 1.1843 seconds back. Felix Rosenqvist completed the podium in third.
The victory came a day after Palou labeled the new course, which is just under 1.7 miles long, as too tight, saying: “It’s too tight for IndyCar, it’s too short for IndyCar. There’s too much traffic, it’s too bumpy.”
In the end, Palou figured out that the best way to get ahead of traffic was to stay ahead of the pack and keep the carnage in the rearview mirror.
“He just took the place when he got here,” said winning team owner Chip Ganassi. “I know he was complaining about the track yesterday, but I think it’s his new favorite track today.”
Palou became the second winner from pole in the NTT IndyCar Series this season. Kyle Kirkwood pulled that off on Long Beach. It was his second win in three races and he left Detroit with a healthy 51-point lead in the championship.
The win came after a somewhat disappointing Indy 500 in which he took the pole and led the most laps in that race in second, before finishing fourth.
“I wasn’t really frustrated,” Palou said. “We know how hard it is to win. I was proud that we made a huge comeback, that we had one of the best cars, one of the fastest, and that we are back in victory lane.”
Palou dominated the race, leading 74 of the 100 laps. Power led for 14 laps.
“Honestly, it was tight. We saw that,” Palou said. “It was a really fun race. It was a lot better than I expected. We had a lot more grip than we had today. I think the track evolves a lot over the weekend.
“Obviously I’ll watch the race because I had a clean race, let’s say. But honestly, Detroit did a great job. The fans were great. I was blown away how many fans we had today as it was the first time that there was an event taking place.Also the stage on Victory Lane was really nice.
“Yes, hopefully we can adjust some things and make it even better for next year. But yeah, I can’t wait.”
Detroit Streets Challenge drivers
Scott Dixon, although never in the lead, ran in the top five all day and finished fourth. He’s still trying to get that first win of 2023. He has won at least one IndyCar race for 18 consecutive seasons.
He said he was impressed with the freshman track at the Motor City.
“It’s wild, man,” he said. “I’m having a lot of fun. The track was super hard. Let’s call it ‘lots of character’. It was interesting but very hard on restarts. These things don’t have to be easy. I had a lot of fun just frustrated with how my day went.”
Rossi not happy with teammate Rosenqvist
Alexander Rossi was late in the mix for the win but dropped to fifth after aggressive cornering racing with Arrow pushed McLaren teammate Felix Rosenqvist Rossi off the racing line. Rosenqvist finished third. Rossi was on a wild day all over the board, going from 13th on the grid and moving all the way up to second at one point before settling for fifth.
“We kind of inherited those spots and kind of finished where we started, so overall it was a good day,” said Rossi.
And as for the battle with Rosenqvist?
“We will discuss it internally,” said Rossi.
Rosenqvist said he knows talks are coming.
“I was trying to move forward. He played it hard coming in and I played it hard coming out,” said Rosenqvist, who is out of contract for next season. “We will discuss it. It is never optimal to do that with teammates.
“I race the same every race,” he said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with the future. I’m not worried about my future. I race every race as hard as I can, and it’s always tough out there. I shouldn’t be ashamed of racing with stretched out elbows. I think it’s all fair play because it’s tough.”
Yes, it passed
Detroit Grand Prix president Bud Denker had heard the sometimes unflattering early feedback about the street course.
As it turned out, the course turned out to be a great place to pass.
“We had 189 passes on the track and 142 were for position, which equals Long Beach, and Long Beach had a great race this year,” said Denker. “And St. Pete had 170 paces on the court. We had 189. They had 128 for position. We had 142.
“Pretty good r
Indy NXT: sweet redemption for Siegel
Rookie Nolan Siegel roared back with heartbreak on Saturday and took his first win in the Indy NXT (formerly Indy Lights) series on the streets of Detroit on Sunday.
Siegel, an 18-year-old rookie graduating from high school in Northern California on Friday, took over the No. 3 starting position and withstood challenges on two restarts to win by 0.6559 seconds over series points leader and teammate Christian Rasmussen.
The win took at least a small sting out of Saturday’s result, which broke a driveshaft on Siegel’s car and Siegel controlled the race with two turns to go in the race won by Reece Gold. Siegel finished eighth that race.
Rasmussen left Detroit with a two-point lead over Siegel in the championship.