While making a second run to better his time in qualifying for the 105th Indy 500, Alex Palou got loose in Turn 2 on his third lap and crashed heavily with two hours remaining in Day 1 of time trials.
His No. 10 NTT Data car sustained heavy damage. The team confirmed shortly after 5 p.m. that Palou’s primary car would be repairable, so the Spaniard presumably could return for the Fast Nine with the car that he crashed.
Palou climbed from the car without assistance from the AMR IndyCar safety team.
“Just a bit frustrated,” Palou told NBC Sports pit reporter Dave Burns. “Chip Ganassi Racing gave me the fastest car today and during the week. It was on me – pushing to try and be faster. I just lost the rear on entry. It was a big shame.
“Things happen. It’s what happens when you’re trying to go fast and put everything to the limit. It’s going to be a long night, but I’m going to be with them. We’re going to try and fix it for tomorrow and go back out. That’s what we do.”
Palou had the seventh-fastest speed (231.145 mph) when he went back on track and keeps his speed despite the crash because he came from the “no-risk” line of qualifiers.
Palou was attempting to improve his speed to stay in the Fast Nine, which has been led since the opening qualifying attempt by teammate Scott Dixon.
His gamble was paying dividends as he climbed to fourth on the chart on Lap 3. Palou got loose twice on that lap. He was loose in Turn 1, caught the car, and then finally lost control entering Lap 2.
With air temperatures rising, the driver kept the car from spinning completely on the slippery surface and slapped the wall with heavy side contact.
Palou is attempting to make his second Indy 500. Last year he qualified seventh before crashing out of the race on Lap 121. He finished 28th in that race.
ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).
“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.
“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”
For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.
“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.
“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”
Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.
“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.