Power: Palou’s pace, fuel mileage in Barber win “blew my mind”

Alex Palou’s combination of speed and fuel mileage in the IndyCar season opener at Barber Motorsports Park initially convinced runner-up Will Power that he was on a different pitstop strategy.

Power: Palou’s pace, fuel mileage in Barber win “blew my mind”

The 2014 IndyCar champion's Team Penske-Chevrolet finished just 0.4s adrift of the Spaniard, who notched his maiden series victory on his first start for Chip Ganassi Racing, after the pair had completed a two-stop race.

However, in the first stint Palou had been able to keep pace with the three-stopping leaders, Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi, which neither Power nor Palou's third-placed team-mate Scott Dixon were able to do.

In clear air after O’Ward and Rossi made their first stops, Palou pulled more than six seconds on Power and although the Australian was able to run two laps longer before making his first stop, he emerged still behind the Spaniard.

Power also stretched his second stint one lap longer than Palou, but marginal fuel meant he was unable to take full advantage of his push-to-pass and Palou getting held up in traffic.

“It just blew my mind how fast Alex was in that first stint," Power told NBC.

"I had absolutely nothing for him; he just pulled away, so I figured he was doing a three-stop race, because I was getting the best lap time I could for the fuel number [target]."

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda celebrate in victory lane

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda celebrate in victory lane

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Palou admitted that his initial plan had been to three-stop, until yellow flags in the early phase of the race following a pileup triggered by Josef Newgarden prompted a rethink.

He explained that he was "surprised" that O'Ward and Rossi - who finished fourth and ninth respectively - had not opted to switch tactics too.

"As soon as the first yellow came I was already thinking on two stops, I was trying to save as much fuel as possible there," he explained.

"I saw that Rossi and Pato, they were not saving that much fuel. I was wondering, 'Are they going to just not even try to do it, or do they just know how to do it and not me?'

"I was surprised that they didn't go for a two-stop because I think it was fairly easy after the two yellows.

"But hey, I didn't call a two-stop. It was the team that they just told me, Now it's a time to push. Do 15 more laps and this is the target for fuel mileage that you have to do.

"So that's what I did and it worked."

shares
comments
Newgarden apologises for opening lap chaos at Barber
Previous article

Newgarden apologises for opening lap chaos at Barber

Next article

Hunter-Reay: Aeroscreen “likely saved my life” in IndyCar smash

Hunter-Reay: Aeroscreen “likely saved my life” in IndyCar smash
How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled Plus

How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled

Chip Ganassi Racing team was strong again in the Indianapolis 500, with poleman Scott Dixon and reigning champion Alex Palou leading almost three quarters of the race between them. But when dominator Dixon was penalised for pitlane speeding, ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson stepped up to score the biggest win of his career and seize the IndyCar points lead

IndyCar
May 30, 2022
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 21, 2021
How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential Plus

How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential

Romain Grosjean's swashbuckling rookie year in IndyCar captured the imagination of many in 2021. But another ex-Formula 1 driver whose potential was masked by five years of toil in, at best, middling machinery also enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 - winning twice and finishing sixth in points. Here's how Marcus Ericsson finally delivered on his promise

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best Plus

How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best

IndyCar sophomore Alex Palou stunned by overcoming team-mate Scott Dixon and the rest of a white-hot field in 2021. He was consistently fast and crucially showed a level head, rebounding well from setbacks to put himself in a near unassailable position entering the final round

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021