Alex Palou couldn’t believe his front wing survived the bumps of Toronto as he extended his IndyCar points lead.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver had to clip the wall to avoid a spinning Helio Castroneves which damaged his front wing. He opted not to pit for a new one but the bumps of the Canadian streets slowly made it worse and it was barely clinging on by the chequered flag.
But despite the obvious performance disadvantages it brought, Palou was able to comfortably hold off the advances of Colton Herta and claim second behind first-time winner Christian Lundgaard.
“I could feel it dragging on turn two,” Palou said. “I could feel it dragging. I was, like, ‘Oh, man, that’s not good.’
“The right side started disappearing, and the left side started coming up. Yeah, 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.
“Yeah, I was pretty surprised. I think it was only the vinyl, the stickers that were holding it because there’s nothing else there. So, yeah, pretty impressive.”
Palou’s best drive of the year
It might sound crazy to suggest this was Palou‘s best race of the year considering he had won the four previous road and street course races prior to the Toronto round but that’s how good it truly was.
A clever strategy call got him towards the front, which everyone knows is where Palou really shines, and his ability to drive around a clear issue was simply mesmerising. It’s made even better when you remember that he started down in 15th on a track where overtaking is far from simple.
As the old saying goes, you win championships on your bad days and this was Palou’s worst weekend of the season, and yet he extended his lead over Scott Dixon to 117 points. It’s a real gut punch to the rest of the IndyCar field who would’ve seen him qualify low down and thought ‘This is our chance’ only to get beaten by him again.
It was a crucial extension of his lead over Josef Newgarden, in particular, after the Team Penske driver finished fifth as next up for the series is a double-header at Iowa, a short oval where the Nashville native is virtually unbeatable.