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If one hoped for a race full of action, with drivers determined to give their all to win the Million Dollar Challenge prize in IndyCar, the event at the Thermal Club in California did not disappoint. The Californian track, notoriously abrasive on tires, rewarded those who managed their strategy best and kept up the pace. Emerging as the dominant force was Alex Palou, who, after leading throughout the battery of races, never lost the lead even in the final showdown of 20 laps, which was interrupted halfway through by a caution.

Taking second place was Scott McLaughlin, who managed to overtake Felix Rosenqvist, starting on pole position and winner of the first elimination race. While many drivers tried to manage tire wear, others opted for a conservation strategy, such as Colton Herta, who quickly climbed to second place in the final stages of the race. Graham Rahal also adopted a similar strategy but was hindered by an electronic issue.

The theme of tire conservation also emerged during the race heats, with drivers like Agustin Canapino and Pietro Fittipaldi qualifying for the final, while others were eliminated for depleting their resources too soon, such as Pato O'Ward, Tom Blomqvist, and Will Power. In the first race, Romain Grosjean was forced to retire after being hit in braking by Scott Dixon, and Rinus VeeKay was struck by the out-of-control car of the Juncos team.


© Cavalieri Garage & Co.


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