IndyCar champ Alex Palou wins from the pole position at Indy road course over Will Power, Christian Lundgaard

INDIANAPOLIS — Alex Palou made it two in a row on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, winning the Sonsio Grand Prix from the pole position.

The defending series champion beat Christian Lundgaard out of the pits near the midpoint, took the lead a few laps later and was in control from there. Palou won by 6.8106 seconds over Will Power. Lundgaard finished third, followed by Scott Dixon and Marcus Armstong, who gave Chip Ganassi Racing three of the top five spots.

It's the 10th career victory for Palou and his first since Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last July.

Lap 55 — Ferrucci first out

There apparently will be no postrace continuation of the Santino Ferrucci-Romain Grosjean feud.

Ferrucci became the first driver out of the Sonsio Grand Prix, retiring his No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet with 30 laps remaining on Lap 55 with a mechanical problem related to his brakes.

"We felt it best to retire the car," Ferrucci told NBC Sports' Kevin Lee. "We don’t want to hurt anything going into the (Indy 500)."

The A.J. Foyt Racing driver and team now will turn their focus to the 108th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, where Ferrucci has had tremendous success. The Woodbury, Connecticut, native finished a career-best third in the Indy 500 last season, one of five top 10s in five starts on the 2.5-mile oval at the Brickyard.

Ferrucci's average finish of 6.0 in the Indy 500 ranks best among active drivers, according to NBC Sports statistician Russ Thompson.

Lap 45 — Palou back to the lead

Using crafty strategy and a swift pit stop, pole-sitter Alex Palou is back in control of the Sonsio Grand Prix just past the halfway point of the 85-lap event.

The defending series champion cycled into the lead just before his second green-flag stop on Lap 41.

Palou exited the pits just in front of Christian Lundgaard, who led 35 of the first 40 laps on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

After pit stops from the lead by Alexander Rossi, Pietro Fittipaldi and Scott McLaughlin, Palou moved back into the lead on Lap 45. With 40 laps remaining, the Chip Ganassi Racing star seems well positioned for winning on the IMS road course for the second consecutive year.

Last season, Palou won by nearly 17 seconds at this track, kicking off a stretch of four victories in five races during the charge to his second IndyCar championship.

Lap 30 — Christian Lundgaard in control

Christian Lundgaard has settled into the lead through 30 laps of the Sonsio Grand Prix after a chaotic start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver leads by nearly two seconds over Will Power (who has a series-high five victories on this layout). Pole-sitter Alex Palou is third, followed by Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon and Marcus Armstrong.

Lundgaard made his IndyCar career debut on the IMS road course in 2021, qualifying an impressive fourth that helped him earn a full-time ride at RLL.

The 2022 IndyCar Rookie of the Year broke through for his first career victory last July at Toronto and is one of the most attractive impending free agents in the series.

Lundgaard said he has talked to all of the top teams about next season but also wants to give Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing a chance to keep him.

Follow along here for live updates during the Sonsio Grand Prix, which you can watch live on NBC and Peacock.

L10 — Angry drivers at full contact

The first 10 laps of the Sonsio Grand Prix featured some teammate-on-teammate crime and the continuation of the current Feud of the NTT IndyCar Series.

After running Romain Grosjean into the grass during the prerace warmup session (as an admitted payback for an incident at Barber Motorsports Park), Santino Ferrucci again hip-checked the Formula One veteran on the third lap of the race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The near-collision happened while Grosjean was attempting to pass Ferrucci for 17th. Instead, the Frenchman fell five spots to 23rd.

"What the (expletive)," Grosjean radioed his team. "What the (expletive)? What can I do, guys?"

There was no penalty for Ferrucci, but IndyCar stewards penalized Marcus Ericsson for making contact with Andretti Global teammate Colton Herta in the first corner of the first lap.

"Marcus just crashed me.” Herta radioed his crew before following with a stream of expletives directed at the 2022 Indy 500 winner who joined Andretti Global this season.

Ericsson was ordered to give up five positions for an avoidable contact violation and fell to 21st, one spot behind

Meanwhile at the front, Christian Lundgaard passed pole-sitter Alex Palou for the lead in the first turn and led the first 18 laps before pitting under green.

Prerace storylines

After an eventful Saturday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series is set for the green flag at the Brickyard with the Sonsio Grand Prix (3 p.m. ET, NBC and streaming on Peacock).

The 85-lap race on the 14-turn, 2.39-mile road course will punctuate the first of three consecutive weekends of race cars zooming around Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Practice for the 108th running of the Indy 500 will begin Tuesday, leading into qualifying May 18-19 for the main event May 26.

Alex Palou will start on the pole position Saturday of a race that the defending series champion won by nearly 17 seconds last year.

Some major storylines erupted in the 30-minute warmup session that took place four hours before the race. Santino Ferrucci of A.J. Foyt Racing nearly collided with Juncos Hollinger Racing's Romain Grosjean.

Ferrucci, who also threw an obscene gesture at Grosjean, told NBC Sports' Kevin Lee that it was payback because Grosjean "drove into me at Barber in the warmup for no reason. I’m simply just returning the favor, my friend. It’s not Formula One anymore. With these cars, you can hit people and be fine. You want to turn into me when I have the inside, I’m not lifting. I’m sorry. So I had the corner. And yeah, that’s on him. He doesn’t like it, then come over here and talk to me about it.

"Honestly, I don’t really have a beef with the guy. He’s a nice dude, but you’ve got to have a little bit more respect for your competitors on track. No sense banging wheels with me in Barber. I’m on the inside this time. It’s my corner, and you want to turn into me, then so be it. Like I said, I’m not lifting."

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

IndyCar Grand Prix at Indy road course: How to watch on NBC, start times, schedules, streaming

The Sonsio GP officially kicks off racing in May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

During Saturday's prerace show, Ferrucci told NBC Sports' Marty Snider that Grosjean hadn't approached him after the warmup. Ferrucci also reiterated that his style is "you mess with the bull, you get the horns."

In an interview with Lee, Grosjean said he'd put the incident behind and was "more focused on getting a good race car. It's been not an easy weekend for us. There's a lot of people in the grandstands, and that's great to see.

"What happens this morning, I don't really care. What happens now and going forward is what matters."

The warmup ended a few minutes early because of an engine failure in the No. 5 Dallara-Chevrolet of Pato O'Ward that put fluid on the track. Arrow McLaren changed O'Ward's engine as well as teammate Alexander Rossi's No. 7 as a precautionary measure.

Two Dallara-Honda drivers (Graham Rahal and Marcus Armstrong) changed engines after problems in practice Friday.