Will two-time champ Alex Palou conquer the 2024 Indianapolis 500? What’s with the #1?

Two-time IndyCar victor, Alex Palou, has set his sights on the coveted Indianapolis 500 in 2024, as he gears up for his third title win with the reputable Chip Ganassi Racing. A testimony to his prowess, Palou started the recent race from the coveted pole position. However, a pitlane collision with Rinus VeeKay nudged him out of the lead, making his comeback to finish fourth after being pushed to the last place all the more remarkable.

Álex Palou’s Indy Car – motorsandpeople.com

Reflecting on the adrenaline-pumping season that concluded with a stellar third place at Laguna Seca, Palou shared his ambition. “Winning the 2024 Indy 500? That would be a big, big goal,” he exclaimed, brimming with confidence. “If we secure the Indy 500 next year, it’s already a monumental achievement. We just have to stay consistent with our current strategy. If we position ourselves strategically in the top four or five during the Indy 500’s last restarts, victory’s within our grasp.”

A topic of intrigue among fans is Palou’s potential shift to using the #1, symbolic of the reigning champion. It’s noteworthy that he passed on this honor in 2022, post his initial title win, sticking with his favored #10.

He divulged his sentimental connection with the number, saying, “The #10 holds a special place in my heart. It was the number I started racing with, which is why I retained it post-2021.” Yet, Palou is now contemplating adopting the #1, given its alignment with his car’s sponsor, The American Legion, and its impactful ‘Be the One’ campaign that strives to combat suicide rates among veterans.

The last racer to sport the #1 throughout the IndyCar season was Josef Newgarden in 2020. However, Tony Kanaan and JR Hildebrand did don it briefly for the Indy 500 in the succeeding years.

With a hint of mischief, Palou admitted, “I did wish, at times, we had raced with the #1. I’m rallying for it now and I think ‘Be the One’ would be a perfect fit.” He urged Dean Kessel, The American Legion’s chief marketing officer, to champion this change. The enthusiasm in his voice was evident as he said, “It’s such an honor to win the championship and flaunt the #1 for a full year.”