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Alex Palou wasn't complaining about the street circuit in Detroit on Sunday.
Palou, who started on the NTT IndyCar Series pole, withstood challenges on three restarts over the final 15 laps to win the 100-lap Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear. Will Power finished second, 1.1843 seconds back. Felix Rosenqvist completed the podium in third.
The win came one day after Palou blasted the new course that measures just less than 1.7 miles as too tight, saying, "It’s too tight for IndyCar, it’s too short for IndyCar. There’s too much traffic, it’s too bumpy."
In the end, Palou found out that the best way to beat the traffic was stay ahead of the pack and keep the carnage in the rearview mirror.
"He's just took the place when he got here," said winning team owner Chip Ganassi. "I know he was complaining about the track yesterday, but I think it's his new favorite track today."
Palou became the second winner from the pole in the NTT IndyCar Series this season. Kyle Kirkwood pulled that off at Long Beach. It was his second win in three races and he left Detroit with a healthy 51-point lead in the championship standings.
The win came after somewhat disappointing Indy 500 in which he won pole and led second to the most laps in that race, only to finish fourth.
"I wasn't really frustrated," Palou said. "We know how difficult it is to win. I was proud that we made a huge comeback, that we had one of the best cars, one of the fastest, and we're know in victory lane again."
Palou dominated the race, leading 74 of the 100 laps. Power led 14 laps.
"Honestly, it was tight. We saw that," Palou said. "It was a really fun race. It was a lot better than I expected. We had a lot more grip today than what we did. I think the track evolve a lot during the weekend.
"I will watch the race obviously because I had a clean race, let's say. But honestly Detroit did a tremendous job. The fans were amazing. I was mind blown of how many fans we had today being a first-time event. Also the podium on Victory Lane was really fun.
"Yeah, hopefully we can tweak some stuff and make it even better for next year. But, yeah, cannot wait."
Detroit Streets Challenge Drivers
Scott Dixon, while he never led, ran in the top-five all day and finish fourth. He's still trying to get that first win of 2023. He's won at least one IndyCar race for 18 consecutive seasons.
He said that he was impressed by the first-year circuit in the Motor City.
"It's wild, man," he said. "I has a lot of fun. The track was super difficult. Let's call it 'a lot of character.' It was interesting but very difficult on restarts. These things don't need to be easy. I had a lot of fun, just frustrated by how my day went."
Rossi Not Happy with Teammate Rosenqvist
Alexander Rossi was in the mix for the win late but fell to fifth after aggressive racing in the corners with Arrow McLaren teammate Felix Rosenqvist pushed Rossi off the racing line. Rosenqvist finished third. Rossi was all over the board on a wild day, going from 13th place starting position and moving all the way up to second at one point before settling for fifth.
"We kind of inherited those spots and kind of ended up back where we started, so it was a good day overall," Rossi said.
And as for the battle with Rosenqvist?
"We'll discuss it internally," Rossi said.
Rosenqvist said that that he knows that talk is coming.
"I was trying to get ahead. He played it hard on entry, and I played it hard on exit," said Rosenqvist, who is not under contract for next season. "We'll discuss it. It's never optimal to do that with teammates.
"I race the same every race," he said. "I don't think it has anything to do with the future. I'm not worried about my future. I'm racing as hard as I can every race, and it's always tough out there. I shouldn't be ashamed of racing with elbows out. I think it's all fair play because it's tough."
Yes, There Was Passing
Bud Denker, chairman of the Detroit Grand Prix, had heard the sometimes not-so-flattering early feedback about the street course.
As it turned out, the course turned out to be a great place to pass.
"We had 189 on-track passes, and 142 were for position, which equals Long Beach, and Long Beach had a helluva race this year," Denker said. "And St. Pete had 170 on-track passes. We had 189. They had 128 for position. We had 142.
"Pretty good race."
Indy NXT: Sweet Redemption for Siegel
Rookie Nolan Siegel roared back from heartbreak on Saturday to grab his first career Indy NXT (formerly Indy Lights) series win on Sunday on the streets of Detroit.
Siegel, an 18-year-old rookie set to graduate from high school in Northern California on Friday, took the from the No. 3 starting position and withstood challenges on two restarts to win by 0.6559 second over series points leader and teammate Christian Rasmussen.
The win took at least a little sting out of Saturday's result that saw a driveshaft break on Siegel's car with Siegel in control of the race with two turns to go in the race that was won by Reece Gold. Siegel finished that race in eighth place.
Rasmussen left Detroit with a two-point lead over Siegel in the championship.