St. Petersburg, FL (October 24, 2020) – Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver Alex Palou took part in his first street course qualifying aboard his #55 Guaranteed Rate Honda Indy car on Saturday, placing himself 16th on the starting grid of Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Palou who was also taking part in his first three round qualifying format, took to the track in Group 2 of Round 1. The rookie registered a fastest lap of 1:01.1630 on his eighth lap around the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course, which initially placed him fourth.
However, a local yellow on what would be his final lap meant he was unable to improve his lap time and with a red flag also ending the session early, moving on to the next round wasn’t meant to be for the rookie who ended up eighth in his group, 16th overall.
However, there was a glimmer of hope when IndyCar initially reviewed the results of the session showing the rookie in sixth place. Despite Palou and his team being ready to go, a final review placed him back into 16th overall on the starting grid.
“Practice this morning went really well but I think our result (3rd) was maybe a bit better than the actual pace of our Guaranteed Rate Honda. Qualifying was difficult because we didn’t really get the ultimate lap because of traffic and then the red flag at the end,” said Palou. “We were missing I think a tenth from making it into the next round. I’m a bit upset about that but we should be fine for the race tomorrow. The car is better than where we are starting and hopefully, we can finish in the top 10 again. I really like the St. Petersburg street course, it’s different from what I’m most used to and with limited practice time it makes it tough to learn the track and see the limits, but it’s been fun so far.”
The final round of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season will be preceded by a 30-minute warm-up at 10:40am ET on Sunday, October 25 with the green flag for the 14th race of the year scheduled for 2:32pm ET. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast live on NBC from 2:30pm ET.