Jul 23, 2023

The Iowa double-header this weekend is not MIM driver Alex Palou’s favorite racing track, nor is it for his CGR team. Already after a free testing session last month, Palou knew he would have to be put on the defensive and try to maximize his points tally with a top-ten place finish on the 0.875 miles short oval in Newton, Iowa. On Saturday, Alex and his #10 car accomplished this mission as Palou crossed the finish line in 8th position at the end of a breathtaking 250-laps run. He did so by obtaining a decent qualifying position in the first place. The Quali session on Saturday afternoon, that was worth grid places for both races (the first flying run counting for race 1 and the second for the Sunday event) was actually delayed because of rain. It was apparent from the beginning that Penske was the team to beat and CGR limited damaged placing Palou in P7 for Race-1, while the second event will see him start from twelfth. It was pretty much what could be expected but Palou showed an encouracing pace despite all. Starting alongside Romain Grosjean, he kept his position at the flying start while the Frenchman slipped down the field. Palou overtook both Herta and Dixon and even came to bfiefly lead the race as the other cars took to the pit road. Alex had a slightly delayed pit-call on lap 64 and came out P15 quickly gaining positions. He pitted again on lap 142 and then passed Takuma Sato to settle down in eighth. The race was quite uneventful for an oval and the first caution period came on lap 153 as Grahan Rahal hit the wall and came back down across the field. The race was restarted on lap 166 and Alex, who had not pitted to try and stay on the same lap as the leaders, served his last refueling and tire change with 42 laps to go and finishing one lap down. Now there’s little time to regroup and take the best out of the final event but it looks like Palou can still preserve a comfortable points cushion despite yielding a victory to oval specialist Josef Newgarden, who now trails him in the overall points standings with 344 points against Palou’s 442.