From Pole to Victory Lane, Alex Palou Regains Championship Lead with Victory in Portland

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By Christian Koelle, Staff Writer

This season, Alex Palou has been one of the most consistent drivers in the IndyCar Series garage. He kicked off the 2021 season with a victory in Barber. In nine of the first 11 races of the season, Palou finished seventh or better including a victory at Road America but bad luck struck the No. 10 team at Indianapolis and Gateway. As a result, Palou lost the points lead. 

The No. 10 team came off the break with one mission, to regain that points lead and without a doubt, he did just that. Winning his first career NTT Data Pole Award on Saturday, Palou would lead the field to the green flag. After 110 laps of just absolute chaos, the, now, points leader found his way back to the front earning his third career IndyCar Series victory.

As noted, Palou earned the pole award Saturday but he wasn’t upfront for long. After having to take evasive action in the first corner, ultimately causing him to lose the lead. Felix Rosenqvist clipped Scott Dixon in the first corner and the three basically went into the corner together, a corner of which, you can’t do this. The ARCA Menards Series West proved that corner to be eventful on Saturday and it was the same on Sunday. 

As a result, Palou fell to 17th when the race restarted at lap 11. 

Pato O’Ward pushed his way from seventh to first after the first lap chaos. He led 28 laps Sunday with the opportunity to get in front of Palou but he just couldn’t hold off the charge that Palou was putting out. The effort that Palou put through, with his back against the wall, could prove to be a piece of the puzzle that results in Palou picking up his first championship.

Palou was able to hold off Alexander Rossi during the final two restarts of the day. 

He’ll leave Portland with a 25-point lead over O’Ward. Gateway winner Josef Newgarden finished Sunday’s race in fifth and is now just 34-points out of the points lead. A total of 75 points separate Palou and Marcus Ericsson who currently is fifth in the IndyCar points standings. 

Two races remain in the 2021 NTT Data IndyCar Series season with the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey coming on September 19th and the season finale on the famed streets of Long Beach coming on September 26th. As it comes down to the final two races, Points leader Palou will compete on these two tracks for the first time in his career.

Photo: Joe Skibinski/IndyCar Media

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Christian Koelle
Christian Koelle makes his debut with Kickin' the Tires in 2021 contributing ARCA Menards Series content. Koelle has been involved in the NASCAR Media scene since 2015 working for multiple outlets. Along with Kickin' in 2021, he joins Overbey Photography shooting photos in all three NASCAR series for clients. His favorite tracks include Nashville Superspeedway, Barber Motorsports Park, Iowa Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, and Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
https://cckphotography.myportfolio.com/

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