Palou Builds Championship Lead with 2nd-Place Finish at the Honda Indy 200

Although he came just short of scoring his third victory of 2024, Honda’s Alex Palou took another big step in defending his NTT INDYCAR SERIES Drivers’ Championship today, leading 53 laps before finishing a close second in today’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the 2025 Civic Hybrid.

This weekend’s race also marked the competition debut of INDYCAR’s new hybrid Energy Recovery System, fitted for the first time on a race weekend to the full 27-car field.

Starting from pole, Palou led all but two of the first 55 laps, but a brief delay in engaging first gear during his final pit stop saw him return to the track just behind Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward. The pair fought hard for the remainder of the 80-lap contest, and Palou took the checkers in second by the narrow margin of just 0.4993 seconds.

Behind Palou, Andretti Global’s Colton Herta and Marcus Ericsson finished fourth and fifth, respectively; with Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Christian Lundgaard seventh, and Kyle Kirkwood eighth in his Andretti Honda.

Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Honda Race Results

  •  2nd Alex Palou              Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  •  4th Colton Herta                        Andretti Global Honda
  •  5th Marcus Ericsson      Andretti Global Honda
  •  7th Christian Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda   
  •  8th Kyle Kirkwood                     Andretti Global Honda
  • 12th David Malukas                    Meyer Shank Racing Honda
  • 13th Toby Sowery-R                   Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda
  • 14th Felix Rosenqvist     Meyer Shank Racing Honda
  • 15th Linus Lundqvist-R   Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 17th Marcus Armstrong  Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 18th Graham Rahal                    Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
  • 21st Kyffin Simpson-R    Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 24th Pietro Fittipaldi                   Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda   
  • 26th Jack Harvey                        Dale Coyne Racing Honda
  • 27th Scott Dixon            Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

R – Rookie

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Manufacturers’ Championship (unofficial, after 9 of 17 rounds)

Chevrolet                      724 points

Honda                          720 points

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Drivers’ Championship Standings (unofficial, after 9 of 17 rounds)

1. Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing                             329 points (2 wins)

2. Will Power, Team Penske                                          -48 (1 win)

3. Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren                         -70 (2 wins)

4. Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing               -71 (2 wins)  

5. Colton Herta, Andretti Global                                   -80

Quotes

Alex Palou (#10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) finished 2nd, expanded championship lead to 48 points after 9 of 17 races: “That was very, very close! It’s a shame we couldn’t make the alternate tires work and be better. We knew that we were going to struggle a little bit, and that’s why we tried to go a little bit harder on the first primary stint. Almost made it work! I had a little bit of traffic on my in-lap, and then we had a slow stop. When I tried to engage first gear, I think I was too excited to get going fast and it was too soon. The [race winning] #5 team did a great job. I think we did almost everything we could have done to win today, but not every day is the best day. Racing with the hybrid was a ton of fun. There were a lot of times where I was getting closer or he was pulling away because of the hybrid system. It made things interesting! I think everybody had fun with it. It’s a new experiment for INDYCAR and I love it.”

Colton Herta (#26 Andretti Global Honda) finished 4th: “For our #26 team side of things, we just wanted to have a clean first race with the hybrid—no reliability problems, check all the boxes for what we wanted it to do. And it did that! I’m happy with how everything went today. For Honda’s first hybrid INDYCAR race, I think it performed incredibly well and I think it’s only up from here the more we learn about it for us.”

Marcus Ericsson (#28 Andretti Global Honda) finished 5th: “I think it was a good day! I think the whole team did a really good job. The hybrid power was fun to play with out there—using it strategically as well as we could. We played around with it a lot throughout the race. Changing the balance with it as well, that was fun. It was a good day and a solid weekend. Good qualifying yesterday, good race today, and we keep building!”

David Salters (President, Honda Racing Corporation USA) on today’s INDYCAR hybrid debut: “First thing, a massive shout out to our boys and girls for the huge effort that went into getting us here. It’s a completely new hybrid system. We conceptualized, designed and manufactured the ESS [Energy Storage System] and things seemed to go really well today. That was a huge result from technology that is very novel, and that new technology is really why we go racing. So that was great! It was not quite the result we were looking for, but it came down to the last corner of the last lap, that’s just good racing. We can be proud of coming within half a second of winning the first hybrid race, but it’s also motivation to go back and learn from this and figure out what we’re going to do to win the next one.”

Fast Facts

  • This weekend’s Honda Indy 200 Presented by the 2025 Civic Hybrid marked the start of the Hybrid era in NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition. The 27-car field features 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V6 internal combustion engines – supplied by Honda and series rival Chevrolet – supplemented by a hybrid Energy Recovery System (ERS) including an electric Motor Generator Unit (MGU) and Honda Racing Corporation USA-developed Energy Storage System (ESS).
  • Honda drivers have now won 12 of the 19 Indy car races run at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course since the series returned under the Honda Indy 200 banner in 2007. Last year, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda teammates Alex Palou and Scott Dixon finished 1-2 at Mid-Ohio, as Palou went on to win his second NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship in the last three years.

Next

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES continues its run of consecutive July events next weekend with the first short oval – and first doubleheader race weekend – of the 2024 season, July 12-14 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. The Hy-Vee Homefront 250 runs Saturday night, with the companion Hy-Vee One Step 250 on Sunday.

Honda Racing PR