Palou’s pole dreams remain intact as crew repairs damaged car

Alex Palou stood behind the black ropes that separate Garage Booth # 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing from racing fans, lining up with those who watched him speed up earlier in the day as they all watched harshly dozens of crew members repairing their damaged racing car.

It was a messy scene in Gasoline Alley after Day 1 of the Royal Crown Armed Forces qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Palou and his team are admittedly a little depressed, but they haven’t come out.

Palou destroyed his fast Honda at 3:38 p.m. ET on Saturday on his second qualifying attempt of the afternoon. He drifted out of Turn 2, and after a quick attempt to correct the car, Palou crashed into the SAFER outer barrier with the right side of his car and came to rest on the back stretch. He got out of the battered car without injuring himself.

It came after Palou had already set the seventh fastest time of the day with an average four-lap speed of 231.145 mph, but he wanted more.. Today’s qualifying results determined the order of tomorrow’s Firestone Fast Nine Shootout (3 p.m. ET, live on NBC), from slowest to fastest., and Palou wanted a more optimal place in qualifying.

In turn, he did something that race car drivers rarely complain about.

“I was just trying to go as fast as possible, and I went too fast,” he said. “We made a mistake, I made a mistake and crashed the main car. But then you realize you’re in the Fast Nine and the Indy 500, the car is good, we don’t need to go in a spare car. I feel good. It’s over now. We must move forward. I’m still really sorry for the team, but now it’s Fast Nine mode. “

Palou, 24, said after taking some time to calm down after the wreckage, he assessed the team’s position and relapsed into his laid back attitude. Knowing that he did the Firestone Fast Nine Shootout certainly made the healing process easier, but in the end, it’s racing.

“I’m usually pretty easy going when something goes wrong,” he says. “You have to be, right? This is the race. You have so many ups and downs. Like last weekend, I was on the podium (after finishing third in the GMR Grand Prix), and now we crash the car, but at the same time we did the Fast Nine.

Mechanics from all four of Chip Ganassi Racing’s teams are working to fix Palou’s car in time for tomorrow’s qualifying session. Chief Engineer Ricky Davis has said he suspects it will be a long night for the organization, but he doesn’t think the team will be working all night at Gasoline Alley.

Davis said that while it was important to fix the car, a host of things determine what time they stay, including engineers and mechanics fatigue over night. He also benefits from the whole Ganassi organization, which rushed to his side to help him.

“It’s the family; that’s how it is, ”said Davis. “A family member is in trouble, you come to the rescue, and that’s what they are doing. They all come to the rescue. Everyone comes to our aid. We have a lot of support and a lot of help. “

Davis suspects there will be little change in how the car will feel for Spaniard Palou as he deploys to Firestone Fast Nine Shootout practice on Sunday morning (11:30 am ET, live on Peacock).

Palou was also confident, noting that although several new parts and parts are put on the chassis, they all come from the same source and are the same parts that made his car the seventh fastest and also put his other three teammates inside the Firestone Fast Nine Shootout.

Therefore, Palou is certain that he still has a chance to win the NTT P1 Award for pole position for the 105th race of the Indianapolis 500.

“Of course we (have a chance),” he said. “It’s Chip Ganassi Racing. We have to connect everything, then it’s ready. It will be the same as the one I was racing before and the same as the other guys. There is no reason why the car should not be as fast as it is today.

It was that poise and confidence that earned Palou his first career NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory in the season opener on April 18 at Barber Motorsports Park, and it could secure him a top spot. of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on Sunday May 30th.

To do this, he will have to go through his teammates, namely Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda, who posted the best four-lap average speed of the day at 231.828 mph.

As he watched the organization repair the chassis, engine, gearbox and more that were scattered around the garage, Palou said he felt bad for the damage he had caused. He apologized to Davis immediately when he saw him after the sinking, and he joked that he plans to buy the team plenty of beer when all of this is said and done.

But for now, the crew are at work, take out dinners strewn around the garage, fixing car # 10.

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