Palou on the lookout for renewed momentum at Mid-Ohio
Alex Palou returns to the location of this weekend’s NTT IndyCar Collection doubleheader with sturdy emotions of nostalgia on his thoughts.
It was 14 months in the past, throughout a low-key take a look at at Mid-Ohio, that the Spaniard turned his first laps in a Dale Coyne Racing Dallara DW12-Honda, and due to the speedy velocity that was produced, efforts to reroute the 23-year-old’s profession from Japan’s Tremendous Formulation collection to IndyCar had been put in movement.
Palou lands on the 2.2-mile street course holding second in Rookie of The Yr standings and 16th general within the championship, 5 factors behind Conor Daly and 5 factors in entrance of 2019 Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew. His earnest appreciation for all that’s occurred throughout his first 12 months of racing in America – amid all the eccentricities and changes IndyCar has confronted in 2020 – is among the many extra heartfelt storylines to come back from the season.
“It’s loopy to suppose that it’s been over a 12 months now,” he instructed RACER. “I used to be getting on that aircraft from Japan considering it was a dream, like, ‘Oh, my God, it’s occurring! I’m going to check an IndyCar!’ And I not solely obtained to check it; I used to be contained in the group through the race weekend, listening on the radio, and obtained to see how the Dale Coyne group was working. Then I needed to drive the automobile on Monday, which was superb.
“And I used to be like, ‘Okay, now a minimum of they know my identify. They know who I’m, they usually know I will be fast. So hopefully, in a single or two years, in the event that they want a driver for one thing, they could name me.’ I flew again to Japan, was tremendous glad, having a dream come true to check an IndyCar. After which, abruptly, right here I’m racing an IndyCar. It’s loopy.”
The partnership between Coyne and Palou’s Tremendous Formulation entrant, Kazumichi Goh, resulted within the formation of DCR with Staff Goh and the No. 55 Honda because the sister entry to new lead driver Santino Ferrucci within the No. 18 DCR with Vasser Sullivan Honda.
Via the early rounds in 2020 the place a number of street programs had been on the menu, Palou typically held the higher hand throughout the group the place he earned Coyne’s one and solely podium thus far with a third-place end on the opening Highway America race. The shift to 5 consecutive ovals turned the tide in Ferrucci’s favor, and with 5 straight street and avenue programs forward on the calendar to shut the 12 months, the child who’s visiting virtually each circuit for the primary time hopes to maneuver ahead within the drivers’ standings.
“So Mid-Ohio, I believe it’s going to be the turning level for our season, simply since you come to 2020 with troublesome conditions and modifications to the calendar as everyone knows,” he stated. “And abruptly, from the primary eight or 9 races, you’ve six ovals, which I’ve not been in an oval earlier than this 12 months, and I don’t know the right way to race on ovals earlier than we do the primary race of my profession right here at Texas.
“It’s loopy to suppose that we’re nonetheless within the combine with the rookie battle, and that we’ve been okay on ovals whereas I’m studying a lot about them every time. And I didn’t know them earlier than I got here to race on them, however I actually just like the ovals. I like discovering the brand new strategies to driving and racing. And now it’s time to go to street programs the place I’ve expertise. I’m prepared. Mid-Ohio the one monitor that we’re going to go that I’ve been final 12 months, so I believe that’s going to assist me rather a lot.”
Palou has one objective to attain within the ultimate weeks of his first IndyCar season: To earn a return invitation in 2021.
“That’s additionally why these races which are coming now are so essential,” he stated. “I don’t have a contract for subsequent 12 months, nevertheless it’s all good. I perceive it as a result of this season began late and lots of issues are completely different. In a traditional season, this may be tremendous late to get a seat, however these days, we’re nonetheless on time. Mr. Coyne and Mr. Goh have been very beneficiant to convey me right here.
“So hopefully at Mid-Ohio, it’s going to be an awesome weekend to actually put our identify up there and see if the group is glad, the sponsors are glad, and we are able to proceed being right here in IndyCar. That’s my objective. My dream is to remain in IndyCar, and go win some championships.”