Alex Palou celebrates his third win of the year and retaking the points lead. Indycar photo by Chris Owens
Pit strategy and cautions can make or break your race. They hurt Graham Rahal, who arguably should have won the race, and Pato O’Ward, who lost the lead in the points standings They helped Alex Palou, Alexander Rossi, and Scott Dixon, who ended the day on the podium. Palou’s team waiting an extra lap to call him in on lap 44 was the winning move today.
Why can’t Indycar drivers get through the first turn at Portland cleanly? Today’s melee wasn’t as destructive as the first two years after Indycar’s return, but it turned the race on its head, especially with the way Race Control reordered the field. It took a later caution to reverse what happened at the beginning.
Is Alex Palou the next Scott Dixon? Nothing seems to faze this kid-neither two consecutive finishes in the 20s, nor being shuffled to the back of the field after winning the pole. He just does what he needs to do in order to win the title. Today was a big step in that direction.
Palou not only leads O’Ward by 25 points, he now owns the first tiebreaker with his third win of the year. I really didn’t think we would see a driver win three times this season.
The points chase realistically is down to three-Palou, O’Ward, and Josef Newgarden. Dixon is 49 points behind, essentially a full race in arrears. Marcus Ericsson was barely hanging on, and losing 15 more points to the leader pretty much ends his title bid.
I hope in their new television deal that indycar has forbidden NBC from using the “Points as They Run” graphic. It is pointless and meaningless. Drivers don’t earn point as they run. They earn points when they finish. This graphic was displayed at least five times in the first 28 laps, a time in the race where it is totally not necessary.
It seems that the Team Penske drivers have had a lot of contact with each other during races this season.
Nice to see Alexander Rossi finally get on the podium in 2021. I think he will win one of the next two races. Rossi dominated two years in a row at Long Beach.
Palou’s repeat win means the series can only tie the record for most different winners in a season with a maximum of 11.
I will be back tomorrow with more on today’s race. Thanks for following along this weekend.