Alex Palou nabs win at Detroit Grand Prix’s downtown debut

Detroit, 2023 — Palou turns left onto Detroit's long back straight. Cameron Neveu

IndyCar champ Alex Palou was initially unimpressed with the new 1.7-mile downtown Detroit street circuit, which the race adopted after years at the roomier Belle Isle circuit. “It’s too tight for IndyCar, it’s too short for IndyCar. There’s too much traffic, it’s too bumpy,” the Chip Ganassi Racing driver said Saturday.

Palou changed his tune on Sunday, after absolutely dominating the Detroit Grand Prix in his Honda-powered car. “It was a lot better than I expected,” he admitted.

The course is indeed narrow in some spots, in part causing seven caution flags that took out multiple contenders. But Palou handled his concerns by simply staying out front, leading 74 of the 100 laps. Will Power, who finished second, led 14 circuits. Felix Rosenqvist was third, while veteran Scott Dixon was fourth.

“The track was super difficult,” Dixon said after the race. This year’s Indianapolis 500 winner Josef Newgarden was tenth after a frustrating drive.

Newgarden at speed. Cameron Neveu

The event that immediately follows the blockbuster Indianapolis 500 always has a tough assignment to keep from being overshadowed by the world’s largest one-day event, trying to attract as many viewers and fans as they can. But Detroit put on a show, comparable to IndyCar’s most popular street race, the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

“Honestly Detroit did a tremendous job. The fans were amazing. I was mind-blown at how many fans we had today being a first-time event,” Palou said.

IndyCar returns to a natural terrain road course on June 18 with the Grand Prix at Wisconsin’s Road America, the longest track on the circuit.

Palou gets the “W.” Cameron Neveu




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    I really dislike most street races. These things are often just crash fests with few passes. Give me Mid Ohio or the Glen.

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