Alex Palou goals to shine mild on veteran suicide with American Legion ‘Be The One’ automobile at Indy 500

When Alex Palou received the pole on the Indianapolis 500, setting the quickest four-lap common velocity in historical past at 234.217 miles per hour, his thoughts was on one thing greater than the highest beginning place for the “Biggest Spectacle in Racing.”

Throughout an interview with NBC Sports activities after his end, he regarded into the digicam and mentioned one thing that resonates together with his main sponsor, the American Legion. 

“This one in the present day is for each veteran in the USA,” Palou mentioned. 


Alex Palou poses in car

Alex Palou poses after profitable the pole place for the Indianapolis 500. (Chip Ganassi Racing)

Racing sponsors intention to promote a product, whether or not it’s motor oil, tires or gentle drinks. However Palou and Chip Ganassi Racing have an American Legion wrap on their No. 10 Honda that claims “Be The One” on its aspect and spoiler. 

It’s an vital message that hits more durable on Memorial Day weekend in Indianapolis. 

In the USA, 17 veterans commit suicide daily. The American Legion’s “Be The One” marketing campaign needs to not solely decrease that quantity however eradicate veteran suicide.

Palou, who was born in Spain and has solely lived in the USA 4 years, admitted he wasn’t too comfy being the face of this impactful group for veterans as a result of “I by no means had any member of the family that was a veteran.”


Nonetheless, tales from folks on his workforce and studying extra concerning the mission shortly modified his thoughts.  

“It was large to study that we’ve some veterans in our workforce, they usually may actually clarify what they went via, what buddies went via and actually ship the message we needed to maintain and what our precedence was. It was to not promote motor oil or any product. It was to avoid wasting veterans’ lives,” Palou advised Alokito Mymensingh 24 Digital earlier than the 107th Indy 500. 

“It’s powerful to know while you don’t have the expertise from someone near you. However, actually, [the team] made it rather a lot simpler to know. From that time, it was like, ‘OK, we have to assist folks.’ If we might help guarantee that the racing followers know there’s the ‘Be The One’ initiative, that they will get some assist, all people might help someone.”

It was additionally vital to Chip Ganassi, whose father fought in World Conflict II.

American Legion Govt Director Dean Kessel defined the “Be The One” marketing campaign to Alokito Mymensingh 24 Digital. 

Alex Palou and team celebrates

Alex Palou and his American Legion workforce rejoice profitable the pole on the Indianapolis 500.  (Chip Ganassi Racing)

“Our complete purpose with what we’re doing with ‘Be The One’ is destigmatize asking for assist,” he defined. “That’s the No. 1 subject with veterans both in search of psychological assist or once they ponder suicide. It is OK to not be OK. We would like to have the ability to destigmatize the message round that.”

The American Legion has been in existence 104 years, and Kessel identified how the group has been instrumental within the creation of the G.I. Invoice, which gave World Conflict II veterans entry to free tuition, mortgage help and extra and compensation for Vietnam veterans uncovered to Agent Orange.

In the present day, Kessel mentioned, “well being and suicide, specifically,” are the most important points veterans face coming back from post-9/11 and Afghan excursions, which is how the “Be The One” marketing campaign got here to be. 


“The phrase itself has loads of intentional which means to it. The rationale that we’re utilizing the phrase ‘one,’ we don’t need to speak concerning the 17 that die daily. We need to speak concerning the one we are able to save in the present day,” Kessel mentioned. “In case you save one in the present day, that quantity goes down by default. 

“Secondly, we need to use motion verbs. … Be the one to speak to a veteran, be the one to hearken to a veteran, be the one to work regionally together with your laws to assist with veteran points, be the one to rent a veteran.”

Palou’s “Be The One” No. 10 automobile was on full show previous to poling on the Indy 500. He received the 2023 GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Could 13, his first victory in that car.

That win, together with 4 prime 5 and 5 prime 10 finishes, has Palou main the IndyCar Collection in factors with 174. With Indianapolis the house of the American Legion, the victory meant a lot to the group as members watched their man cross the end line and maintain the trophy at race’s finish. The identical feeling got here when he poled this week.

“You’ve all these forces coming collectively at one time,” Kessel mentioned concerning the Indy 500 this weekend. “We’re an Indianapolis-based group. It’s Memorial weekend. We’re the American Legion with our huge affect throughout the nation. And to have Alex not solely win the pole, however he received the race final week main as much as the pole on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Now, to be in that place for the most important race on the globe is only a phenomenal happenstance for us.”

Palou hopes that’s the case once more Sunday, and never simply to take care of his spot on the prime of the factors column.

“To win on Memorial Day weekend with the American Legion in Indianapolis, I feel that might be large for the American Legion, for us on the racing aspect, clearly. However we’d be capable to unfold the ‘Be The One’ initiative much more,” he mentioned.

Alex Palou poses

Alex Palou poses with a trophy after profitable the Indianapolis 500 pole place. (Chip Ganassi Racing)

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“I’ll do every thing I can to get that No. 10 automobile on victory lane.”

Peter Johnson