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Palou: "Only the stickers" held front wing on at IndyCar Toronto

IndyCar dominator Alex Palou’s incredible drive from 15th to second at Toronto was thanks to his car’s “stickers” holding its damaged front wing in place until the finish.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Photo by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

Palou, who increased his points lead to 117 over Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Scott Dixon, damaged his wing in a collision with a spinning Helio Castroneves that sent him into a concrete wall at the penultimate restart.

The secondary collision damaged the right-hand side of the nose structure, which allowed the front wing to pivot up on the left side and down on the right. The tear in the nose worsened in the final 10 laps, causing huge concern in both the cockpit and on the pit stall.

“I could feel it dragging in Turn 2, where it was flat out, and you are turning right,” Palou recalled. “I could feel it dragging. I was, like, ‘Oh, man, that's not good’.

“Then also in Turn 5 and in Turn 8, but I didn't think it was that bad. I could feel that it was increasing. The right side started disappearing, and the left side started coming up. It was really bad, honestly, and it was tough to drive because I didn't really have the same grip to the right and to the left.

“Barry [Wanser, his strategist and team manager] told me ‘10 laps to go’ and I thought, honestly, that we were not going to end the race with that nose.”

Somehow the structure remained intact, and Palou was able to fend off Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta – who he passed at the final restart.

“Yeah, I was pretty surprised,” he said of the integrity of the nose. “I think it was only the vinyl, like, the stickers that were holding it because there's nothing else there. So, yeah, pretty impressive.”

 

Palou was also concerned about making it to the end on gas, as he stopped for the final time with 41 laps remaining – right on the edge of the fuel window.

The risky strategy was required after he missed the best track conditions in a dry/wet qualifying session.

“I was concerned about fuel, which was the biggest problem for our strategy,” he admitted. “I was concerned on tyres because with the front wing I just couldn't turn left. I was concerned by the wing.

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“I think our race was a lot more difficult than it might seem if you look at the results. Like, at one point I was in the wall. I didn't know if we were going to be able to make it from there or not. We had to overtake quite a lot of cars on track, manage the fuel, manage the tyres.

“So I was a bit concerned about everything, to be honest.”

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