Another degree of difficulty will be added to Alex Palou’s quest to win the NTT IndyCar Series championship after receiving his second unapproved engine change penalty of the month.
Following an unapproved change prior to the August 6-8 Music City Grand Prix at Nashville, which came with an automatic loss of six positions on the starting grid, the Spaniard will start Saturday’s single-day event at World Wide Technology Raceway with another fresh motor and a nine-position grid penalty to manage.
It comes as a result of internal damage incurred late in last weekend’s race on the Indianapolis road course as his 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6 engine expired while the Spaniard was holding fourth place. RACER understands Chip Ganassi Racing engine partner Honda evaluated whether the engine could be repaired in time for WWTR, and decided the best course of action was to install another motor in the championship-leading No. 10 entry.
Palou holds a slim 21-point lead in the standings over Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward after the Indy road course engine malady left the No. 10 Honda in 27th place, its worst finish of the season.
If there’s a mitigating factor to consider for the 24-year-old, it’s the duration of the Bommarito Automotive Group 500, which is scheduled for 260 laps which, provided the No. 10 Honda is competitive, should afford Palou more than enough time to overcome the grid penalty.
Broadcast of the 305-mile contest begins at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, with the green flag expected to fly around 8:45 p.m.