Newton, Iowa (July 17, 2020) – Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh rookie Alex Palou gained a ton of experience in his NTT IndyCar Series short track oval debut at Iowa Speedway on Friday night taking the checkered flag in 11th place.
Tonight’s 250 lap event was only Palou’s second oval start of his career. After qualifying 18th earlier in the day for the first race of the weekend, the rookie fell to the back of the field at the start but slowly made his way forward thanks to an alternate pit stop strategy but also by passing oval veterans such as Scott Dixon and Ed Carpenter on track.
After holding his own on used tires, Palou entered pit lane on Lap 78 from fifth place for his first stop of the evening. Following his first trip down pit lane, he fell to 21st but continued to make his way back up through the field and was running 15th when a full course yellow came out on Lap 144.
The Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh squad took advantage of the caution to make their second and final pit stop on Lap 148. Palou then found himself in 12th position when the race returned to green flag conditions on Lap 171 and he went on to cross the finish line in 11th place.
With tonight’s performance, Palou continues to lead the Rookie of the Year standings with 98 points.
“It was awesome. It’s my first short oval and the first oval race that I finish. I think the result wasn’t as good as we would have wanted it but I’m super happy with the car and the race. I felt really comfortable and I was getting more and more comfortable with every lap,” said Palou.
“It was tough because the strategy we did, we had to do a lot of laps on old tires and those laps were really hard to do because everybody around me was running so quick and we just had to maintain our pace. But it worked out. It’s a shame that we were not in the Top 10 but I think 11th place is good and tomorrow we’re starting P7 so it should be a bit easier. I learned so much tonight and I have a lot to process before the race tomorrow.”
Palou will be starting seventh in tomorrow’s second round of the doubleheader weekend thanks to an impressive second lap in today’s qualifying session. Race 2 will be broadcast live on NBCSN from 8:30pm ET on Saturday, July 18. Drivers will also get an additional one-hour practice session on Saturday from 2:30pm.