IndyCar title race collapses after leader Palou’s crash at Gateway – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana weather
MADISON, Ill. (AP) – The IndyCar Championship toppled the leaders on Saturday night when Alex Palou was recovered in a three car crash which included his teammate Scott Dixon.
Palou took a 21-point lead at the World Wide Technology Raceway outside of St. Louis and had to start 21st due to a penalty for his third unapproved engine change of the season. The Spaniard quickly made his way through the field and finished 10th on a restart just 65 laps into the 260-lap race.
Rinus VeeKay had moved up from 23rd place to the top 10 but was wary on the restart because “everybody checked all night, it’s like Iowa last year”. There were four quick warnings – Ed Jones and Graham Rahal were knocked out of the race in the third round in an accident each blamed on the other – so VeeKay said he intentionally restarted inside to avoid the marbles in the outer line.
But he slapped the back of reigning six-time champion Scott Dixon, which prompted Dixon to spin the track in a crash that brought VeeKay, Palou and Dixon together.
âIt was definitely me who started the accident,â said VeeKay. âI had a really good restart but everyone is checking at the top and I hit the brakes but the brakes are on oval spec so they’re not as good and I tried to slow down and I marked Scott’s back, then on the way up against the wall, I hit Alex.
âI feel very bad for them, of course. Alex was on the right track to get a great result and both are in the championship.
Pato O’Ward had halved his delay over Palou last week on the road course in Indianapolis because Palou came out with engine problems. With Palou out early at Gateway, the 22-year-old Mexican was in a position to take the points lead at the end of the race.
Only 62 points separate Palou from four other drivers in the standings. Dixon was third at the start of the race, 34 points behind teammate Chip Gansssi Racing.
Palou was clearly frustrated when he got out of his car after the crash, and he appeared to push the medics away as they approached him.
He later said he was frustrated because it was too early for an aggressive race, because his night was over through no fault of his own, and because he and VeeKay had driven up front.
âIf it’s the last lap of the race, I can understand. But it’s still early days, âsaid Palou. âIt was hard work to move from 21st to 10th place. He started 23rd and he was also doing a good job. So it’s like, ‘Dude, we did all this hard work together. Why do we have to crash together? “
There are three races left after Gateway.
Will Power came close to Mario Andretti’s pole record four on Saturday when he clinched first place at the Worldwide Technology Raceway, the 63rd pole of his career.
It was the first of the season for the Australian, who scored his first win of the year a week ago, and it extended his streak of winning at least one pole per season to 13 consecutive years – a record IndyCar. This pushed Power past Bobby Unser and Helio Castroneves.
“It was very important for me to get a pole,” said Power, who is not convinced he can catch Andretti’s mark.
âI’m excited to get pole position and get closer to Mario, but I mean it’s going to be tough to get, to be honest. I mean, it doesn’t get any easier. The streak is only getting tougher, you see it this year, and I had a pole this year.