The engine failure suffered by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou during the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway served to significantly tighten up the NTT IndyCar Series points chase. Palou now leads by just 21 points over Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward and 34 over his Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon. The blow-up was was all the more frustrating for Palou for the fact he had overcome early engine mapping issues to run fourth and was challenging the cars ahead when his wounded Honda finally let go.
“We started having some issues with the mapping. We managed, because I think we did like 16 laps and it was fine — we were losing a bit of power but it was not too bad,” Palou told NBC Sports. “We were fighting for that podium and then finally we had to stop. It’s a shame when we were running so good but it’s just a bump in the road. We will continue on and get those points back.”
Despite losing some of his point buffer heading to next week’s oval race at World Wide Technology Raceway, Palou looked on the bright side.
“It looks good, right? I mean, we had like the worst day and we still have like 21 points, so I think we’re in a good spot,” he said. “We just need to keep doing what we’re doing. We were once gain fighting for the race, having great pit stops; so the crew’s strong, and we continue on fighting.”
The sting of the failure will carry over to next week, though, as the need for another engine will mean another six-place grid penalty for the Spaniard at WWTR.