Alex Palou emphatically reclaimed the NTT IndyCar Series points lead Sunday with a win in the Grand Prix of Portland.

With his third victory of the season, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver zoomed past Pato O’Ward to the top of the championship standings with two races remaining in the season at Laguna Seca and Long Beach.

Alexander Rossi finished 1.2895 seconds behind in second at Portland, followed by Scott Dixon, Jack Harvey and Josef Newgarden, who lost ground to Palou in the standings and trails by 34 points.

Winning from the pole position in his Portland debut, Palou reclaimed the points lead with a bounded from consecutive DNFs.

After starting on the pole, Palou had to restart 16th after blowing the first corner at the green flag and was one of several drivers (including teammate Dixon) who were sent to the back after a first-corner incident. The Ganassi drivers disagreed with the call.

“I don’t know what IndyCar was thinking about, you avoid an accident, and they put you in the back,” Palou told NBC Sports pit reporter Kelli Stavast. “But anyway, we kept our heads down. We knew the race was really long. I can not believe it. We made it. The strategy was amazing.”

Said Dixon: “It’s just one of those situations. The call was on race control to put us all at the back was definitely interesting, but lo and behold, it worked out for us. Huge congratulations to Alex, the team. Just a weird start to the day and thankful it ended up working out for us.”

O’Ward went from a 10-point lead over Palou entering the weekend to a 25-point deficit after a miserable drive at Portland. The Arrow McLaren SP driver led after a typical first-corner melee on the road course.

But O’Ward’s strategy was hurt by a full-course yellow on Lap 52, and his No. 5 Dallara-Chevrolet struggled for pace afterward while the driver complained about a loss of power on the straightaways.

“I don’t care that much about the points at the moment,” Palou said. “I just think the race we did today was amazing. Not me but the guys with the strategy, the pit stops with everything. We still won, so I’m proud about that.”


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