Power names Palou as Penske’s main rival for IndyCar title

Alex Palou has been nominated by 2022 champion Will Power as Team Penske's biggest threat

Alex Palou has been nominated by 2022 champion Will Power as Team Penske’s biggest threat

Will Power believes 2021 IndyCar champion Alex Palou is Team Penske’s biggest rival for the title in 2023.

Penske proved the dominant force in 2022, winning nine out of 17 races; five courtesy of Josef Newgarden and three from Scott McLaughlin while, ironically, only one was Power’s.

Nevertheless, it was enough for the Queenslander to lift the Astor Cup at Laguna Seca, where Palou won the season finale in his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

While Palou shares the Ganassi stable with the likes of six-time champion Scott Dixon, it is the Spaniard whom Power has tipped as the key threat outside of the Chevrolet-powered Penske trio this year.

“Apart from my two team-mates, I want to say Palou is probably going to be the other toughest guy I think,” he said ahead of this weekend’s St Petersburg season-opener.

“Who knows if [Andretti Autosport’s Colton] Herta gets some real good consistency? It’s very difficult to say.

“I mean, Dixon is always there. I feel like Palou is a faster version of Dixon because he’s extremely fast and consistent.

“I think obviously they’re both extremely good drivers. The field is full of very good drivers.”

Palou not only won the Laguna Seca race but dominated, taking the chequered flag 30 seconds ahead of runner-up Newgarden and almost 34 seconds up on the other podium finisher, namely Power.

However, the latter is not concerned that Ganassi found some major gain which Penske needs to respond to.

“I always say we put a ton of effort into the Indy 500 again [but] I’m not sure there’s all that much to be found on road and street courses,” he remarked.

Will Power


“Yeah, Palou was another planet, last race. He’s going to be right in the game again this year.

“Yeah, it’s interesting, just interesting, that last race with the deg and all that. Definitely some variants I felt between the tyre.

“I scuffed two sets and I really struggled in the middle stints, then I put a non-scuff set at the end and I was right on pace with Josef at least.

“Yeah, maybe there’s something in that – I don’t know – but you expect Ganassi’s guys to all be up there, all of them.”

Power is now a two-time IndyCar champion, having achieved his first title in 2014.

He drove Car #1 in 2015, as did Newgarden in the years immediately following his 2017 and 2019 crowns, but remains in Car #12 this time around.

“Running the 12, I believe,” said the 41-year-old.

“Actually, I haven’t even asked,” he added, laughing.

“They asked me in the off-season. I said it’s not really my choice, but I would love to keep the 12. Yeah, I like the number 12.”

Action in St Petersburg starts on Friday afternoon (local time).

Stan Sport will show final practice from Sunday morning at 02:00 AEDT.

Qualifying, the warm up, and the race itself will also be live and ad-free on Stan Sport.

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