ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) — Alex Palou sailed past Josef Newgarden with two laps remaining Sunday to win at Road America and reclaim the IndyCar points lead as Team Penske lost its third consecutive race because of a late caution.
Newgarden started from the pole and led 32 of the 55 laps until Ed Jones’ spin brought out the yellow with four to go. Newgarden got a good jump on the restart but Palou dipped left and sped around him for the lead.
Newgarden appeared to have a mechanical problem and plummeted from the lead to a 21st-place finish. He’s led 99 of 125 laps the last two IndyCar races but was denied a win a week ago in Detroit when Pato O’Ward ran him down following another late restart.
The driver who led the most laps has not won in IndyCar the last six races, and Team Penske is still seeking its first victory of the year through nine races. Its the deepest into a season Penske has gone without a victory since its 1999 winless season.
Palou, meanwhile, became the first Chip Ganassi Racing driver other than Scott Dixon to win multiple races in a season since Dario Franchitti in 2011. He’s also the first driver other than six-time champion Dixon to lead the points for Ganassi since Franchitti.
“Super happy, super proud of Chip Ganassi Racing,” Palou said. “I can’t believe it.”
The Spaniard had lost the championship lead to O’Ward last Sunday in Detroit but was only one point out at the start of Road America. His second win of the season put Palou back on top with a comfortable margin. O’Ward finished ninth.
Palou won by 1.9106 seconds over Colton Herta of Andretti Autosport. Will Power, who lost the first race of last weekend’s doubleheader in Detroit because his car would not start after a late red flag, finished third for Penske.
Dixon was fourth and followed by Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson, who won his first race at Power’s expense in Detroit and at Road America put three Ganassi cars in the top six.