Alex Palou retakes IndyCar points lead with Road America victory


One week after losing the IndyCar championship lead by one point to Pato O’Ward, Alex Palou answered with his second win of the 2021 season in the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America.

The similarities between the two races were remarkable. Last week Josef Newgarden led the most laps in Race 2 at Detroit only to be overtaken when late-race caution allowed a determined O’Ward to sweep past him with three laps remaining. At Road America, Newgarden once again led the most laps until something snapped in the drivetrain as the field returned to green with two laps to go.

Palou pounced and took the lead for the third time before driving away to a two-second lead over Colton Herta.

“Super happy; super proud of the Chip Ganassi Racing team,” Palou told NBC’s Dave Burns. “I can’t believe it.”

This is the second consecutive win for the No. 10 team at Road America. Last year Felix Ronsenqvist scored the victory for Chip Ganassi Racing in this car on the heels of another win the day previous for Scott Dixon.

“We started not super good, but we made some progress and I feel like we are always really good when the weekend ends,” Palou said in the postrace press conference. “Every round, with the reds, with the blacks, we were getting closer to Josef, so I was really happy. I don’t know what happened to him, but we took the lead and that was very exciting.”

Last week, O’Ward’s strong showing in Detroit’s two races allowed him to overcome a 37-point deficit. Palou was unfazed, pointing out that points could be regained just as quickly. Quicker, as it turned out. Palou’s win, coupled with a ninth-place finish for O’Ward, allowed Palou to leave Wisconsin with a 28-point lead.

It was another heartbreak for Newgarden, who won the pole in back-to-back races and dominated both events only to have victory snatched away at the end.

“I couldn’t get it to shift into sixth gear,” Newgarden said in a release. “And then I got it stuck in fifth in Turn 1 and finally got it to go down, but just could not get it to upshift after that. So I got it down to first essentially. So just trying to stay out of the way after that because I couldn’t get it to upshift after that. I’m not sure what happened.”

Newgarden maintained fourth in the standings, but is now 88 points out of first.

“I guess it just wasn’t meant to be again,” Newgarden continued. “I think we have fast cars, its just not working out right now. But now we will claw. We will claw our way back. This is not what I was planning for this day. I would have liked for us to be a little closer. But, what are we 88 (points back)? Just a bigger challenge when we go to next race. We’ll get after it.”

In Detroit, cautions played a critical role when they fell at inopportune times. This week, the cautions seemed to play in to Newgarden’s favor until his drive train failure.

After opening the season with seven different winners in the first seven races, IndyCar now has back-to-back second-time winners. In their early 20s, both are part of the youth movement.

In his second season at the top level, Palou has now led seven of the first nine races.

This was the sixth consecutive race in which the driver who led the most laps failed to win the race – the first time that has happened since 1978.

“I don’t know what it is about our team right now,” third-place Will Power said about Newgarden’s failure in the post-race press conference. “We almost have a win in the bag and then something ridiculous happens. I don’t know what it was, but things you couldn’t prep for; you couldn’t avoid.”

After coming close last week, Herta scored his second podium of the season with his second-place finish. He won the second race of the season at St. Petersburg. Last week he came close to earning another podium with a fourth-place finish and he enters the second half of the season with momentum.

“It was one of those days when we just didn’t have enough pace. We were down two or three tenths a lap to Alex and Josef, especially at the beginning of the race. Once the grip came in and our car tightened up a little bit, it helped.”

For Power, his third-place finish stopped a skid of seven races in which he finished off the podium. After finishing second at Barber Motorsports Park to start the season, he was eighth or worse until the second race in Detroit. He was poised to win the first race before his ECU failed during red flag conditions and finished sixth in Race 2.

In his IndyCar debut subbing for the injured Rosenqvist, Kevin Magnussen stayed out and led when most of the field pitted during the an early caution that was brought out by a Jimmie Johnson spin.  His time at the front was limited when he was forced to pit.

Unfortunately, Magnussen was the cause of the second caution of the day soon after he returned to the track. He retired on lap 35 when his car suddenly lost power.

Dixon in fourth and Romain Grosjean rounded out the top five.


1. (5) Alex Palou, Honda, 55, Running
2. (2) Colton Herta, Honda, 55, Running
3. (4) Will Power, Chevrolet, 55, Running
4. (13) Scott Dixon, Honda, 55, Running
5. (7) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 55, Running
6. (18) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 55, Running
7. (9) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 55, Running
8. (20) Takuma Sato, Honda, 55, Running
9. (10) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 55, Running
10. (22) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 55, Running
11. (14) Graham Rahal, Honda, 55, Running
12. (16) Oliver Askew, Chevrolet, 55, Running
13. (8) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 55, Running
14. (17) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 55, Running
15. (19) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 55, Running
16. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 55, Running
17. (3) Jack Harvey, Honda, 55, Running
18. (6) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 55, Running
19. (25) Cody Ware, Honda, 55, Running
20. (15) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 55, Running
21. (1) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 55, Running
22. (23) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 54, Running
23. (12) Ed Jones, Honda, 50, Off Course
24. (21) Kevin Magnussen, Chevrolet, 33, Off Course
25. (24) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 19, Mechanical

IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix: How to watch, start times, TV, schedules, streaming

IndyCar Detroit start times
Ryan Garza/USA TODAY Sports Images Network

The NTT IndyCar Series will return to the Motor City for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix but with start times in a new location for 2023.

After a 30-year run on Belle Isle, the Detroit GP has moved a few miles south to the streets of downtown on a new nine-turn, 1.7-mile circuit that runs along the Detroit River.

It’s the first time single-seater open-cockpit cars have raced on the streets of Detroit since a CART event on a 2.5-mile downtown layout from 1989-91. Formula One also raced in Detroit from 1982-88.

The reimagined Detroit Grand Prix also will play host to nightly concerts and bring in venders from across the region. Roger Penske predicts the new downtown locale will be bigger for Detroit than when the city played host to the 2006 Super Bowl.

Here are the details and IndyCar start times for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend (all times are ET):


TV: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET on NBC and streaming on Peacock, the NBC Sports App and Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Kevin Lee are the pit reporters. Click here for the full NBC Sports schedule for IndyCar in 2023.

Peacock also will be the streaming broadcast for both practices and qualifying.

POSTRACE SHOW ON PEACOCK: After the race’s conclusion, an exclusive postrace show will air on Peacock with driver interviews, postrace analysis and the podium presentation. To watch the extended postrace show, click over to the special stream on Peacock after Sunday’s race ends.


GREEN FLAG: 3:30 p.m. ET

PRACTICE: Friday, 3 p.m. (Peacock Premium); Saturday, 9:05 a.m. (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 10 a.m. (Peacock Premium)

QUALIFYING: Saturday, 1:20 p.m. (Peacock Premium)

RACE DISTANCE: The race is 100 laps (170 miles) on a nine-turn, 1.7-mile temporary street course in downtown Detroit.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate. Rookie drivers are allowed one extra primary set for the first practice.

PUSH TO PASS: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation (Indy NXT: 150 seconds total, 15 seconds per). The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower.

FORECAST: According to, it’s expected to be 80 degrees with a 0% chance of rain.

ENTRY LIST: Click here to view the 27 drivers racing Sunday at Detroit

INDY NXT RACES: Saturday, 12:05 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium); Sunday, 12:50 p.m. 45 laps/55 minutes (Peacock Premium)

INDY NXT ENTRY LISTClick here to view the 19 drivers racing at Detroit


(All times are Eastern)

Friday, June 2

8:30-9:30 a.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

9:50-10:20 a.m.: Trans Am Series practice

11:40 a.m.-12:40 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

1-1:30 p.m.: Trans Am Series practice

1:50-2:40 p.m.: Indy NXT practice

3-4:30 p.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

4:50-5:05 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge qualifying

5:30-6 p.m.: IndyNXT qualifying (Race 1 and 2)

6-7:15 p.m.: A-Track concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7:30-8:30 p.m.: Big Boi concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Saturday, June 3

8:15-8:45 a.m.: Trans Am Series qualifying

9:05-10:05 a.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock

10:35-11:35 a.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Muscle Car Challenge

12:05-1:00 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 1 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

1:15-2:45 p.m.: IndyCar qualifying, Peacock

4:10-5:50 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Classic (100 minutes), Peacock

5:30-7 p.m.: Z-Trip concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

7-8:30 p.m.: Steve Aoki concert (Hart Plaza Stage)

Sunday, June 4

10:00-10:30 a.m.: IndyCar warmup, Peacock

11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Trans Am Series, 3-Dimensional Services Group Motor City Showdown

12:50-1:45 p.m.: Indy NXT, Race 2 (45 laps or 55 minutes), Peacock

2:47 p.m.: IndyCar driver introductions

3:23 p.m.: Command to start engines

3:30 p.m.: Green flag for the Chevrolet Detroit Prix, presented by Lear (100 laps/170 miles), NBC


ROUND 1Marcus Ericsson wins wild opener in St. Petersburg

ROUND 2Josef Newgarden wins Texas thriller over Pato O’Ward

ROUND 3: Kyle Kirkwood breaks through for first career IndyCar victory

ROUND 4: Scott McLaughlin outduels Romain Grosjean at Barber

ROUND 5: Alex Palou dominant in GMR Grand Prix

ROUND 6: Josef Newgarden wins first Indy 500 in 12th attempt 


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Marcus Ericsson, engineer Brad Goldberg have ties that run very deep

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IndyCar drivers say Thermal Club could host a race

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Alexander Rossi fitting in well at McLaren

Phoenix takes flight: Romain Grosjean enjoying the pilot’s life

Helio Castroneves says 2023 season is “huge” for IndyCar future

How Sting Ray Robb got that name

Kyle Larson having impact on future McLaren teammates

Simon Pagenaud on why he likes teasing former teammate Josef Newgarden

HOW TO WATCH INDYCAR IN 2023Full NBC Sports schedule