Alex Palou held off legends Will Power and Scott Dixon – who have seven series titles and two Indianapolis 500 victories between them – to win Sunday afternoon at Barber Motorsports Park in his debut with reigning series champion Chip Ganassi Racing. Palou held off a charging Power by .4016 of a second – the closest margin of victory in the history of this race – to take the checkered flag in his No. 10 SEGI.TV Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
“We did it!” Palou said. “It’s amazing. All of the team did an amazing job. We had the best cars. We’re starting strong, and we’ll keep it strong.”
Six-time and reigning series champion Dixon helped Chip Ganassi Racing take two of the three podium positions by finishing third in his No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda, 2.9881 seconds behind his winning teammate.
NTT P1 Award winner and pole sitter Pato O’Ward finished fourth in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, 3.9741 seconds behind Palou as a fascinating duel between series legends and young stars unfolded over the closing laps on the 17-turn, 2.3-mile circuit.
Sebastien Bourdais rounded out the top five after starting 16th in the No. 14 ROKiT AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet.
The race, held under sunny skies and before a capacity-allowed crowd of 20,000, developed into a clash of strategies for the first 70 laps. Palou, Power, Dixon and Marcus Ericsson were among the leading lights who opted for a two-stop strategy, while O’Ward, Bourdais and Graham Rahal were among the contenders who chose a three-stop strategy.
Pato O’Ward finished 4th.
Sebastien Bourdais finished 5th.
Romain Grosjean was the highest finishing rookie in 10th.
Colton Herta crashed out on lap 25 and was scored 22nd.
Colton Herta pits
Jimmie Johnson finished 19th.
James Hinchcliffe finished 17th.
Scott Dixon finished 3rd.
Marcus Ericsson finished 8th.
Ryan Hunter-Reay crashed out on the first lap and was scored 24th.
Rinus VeeKay finished 6th.
Scott McLaughlin finished 14th.
Ed Jones finished 15th.
Conor Daly finished 16th.
“It was one of those days when everything went well. We had good fuel mileage, good tire management and good pace.”
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