‘It’s been an amazing season’ – Palou on his second IndyCar title

Alex Palou, who clinched his second IndyCar championship in three years with victory at Portland, said that his fifth win of the year is a result of Chip Ganassi Racing supplying him with a quick car at all tracks.

Counting his dominant run at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in the 2022 finale, Palou has now won six of the last 16 IndyCar races, while Ganassi has won a further three in that period thanks to Scott Dixon (two) and Marcus Ericsson.

Palou is the first driver in 16 years to clinch an Indy car title before the series finale, and this year his only possible competitor for the crown was his six-time champion teammate Dixon. Palou’s average finish in 2023 has been 3.75.

“It’s been an amazing season,” he said after clinching Ganassi’s 15th drivers’ title in U.S. open-wheel. “We just had fast cars everywhere, and we’ve been able to maximize our results even on the bad weekends, and to finish here at Portland with a win feels amazing.


“We have one race left that we won last year, so feeling pretty confident. Obviously, yeah, clinching the championship makes you feel a little bit more relaxed.”

Regarding victory at Portland, in which he led 69 of the 110 laps, he said he felt capable of winning even before the drop of the green flag, and qualifying fifth had not been representative of the No. 10 American Legion-backed car’s ultimate pace.

“I thought we had a really, really fast car,” he said. “I would say in the Fast Six, the result we got there wasn’t what we could have achieved. I didn’t think we extracted 100 percent from it, so I knew after warmup that we could go for it and win the race.

“We didn’t really go on safe mode of just staying with the No. 9 [Dixon] because we thought we could win the race today, and we did. So happy that everything worked out.”

He went on to describe the pre-race prep: “Chip, before the race we did a meeting, and he was very aggressive on telling us that we had to win. I was like, ‘Alright, let’s win then.’ Before jumping into the car he was with me. He said, ‘Alright, let’s have a good and a clean race, just manage your position.’ I was like, ‘No, Chip, you told us to win, so I’ll go ahead, and I think we can win it.’

“It was honestly one of those races where I knew we had everything we needed to win the race, that we had something else that could separate us from our competitors. It was true, and we were able to maximize it.”

Palou paid tribute to his strategist and Ganassi team manager Barry Wanser, who was absent this weekend, as he recovers from a serious operation.

“Honestly, he’s the director of the No. 10 car. He is managing the whole team across the four cars and even other series, but he’s the director, and he calls pretty much everything on the No. 10. He’s a very big piece on our stand, but unfortunately he couldn’t be here. Everybody is really sad that he’s not here, but I think he’s even more sad. He’s recovering well, we know that. He’s a strong guy, and hopefully he’ll be back with us very soon.”

After a second year of debate regarding his future, and with Ganassi virtually confirming that Palou will remain onboard rather than switch to Arrow McLaren, inevitably the question arose of whether he had given up on his Formula 1 dream, after testing the McLaren F1 car.

“No. I said it many times that it was not my full focus,” Palou responded. “Then when an opportunity came, I had to go for it, I felt. At the same time I know I’m not 21 or 19. I’m already 26, which is good. I’m not saying I’m old, but I mean, it’s not that I’m super young. Next year I’ll be 27. If an opportunity comes in the future, which is like really, really small chances, I’ll think about it for sure, 100 percent.

“I’m happy, honestly. As long as I keep on winning championships and races or battling for championships I think I’ll have a great career.”

Palou would not, however, confirm whether he is remaining with the team with whom he has delivered nine wins in three years.

“Obviously after Laguna I will try and speak a little bit more,” he said, “I’m going to enjoy as much as possible the win from today, the win from the championship, and then we’ll see.

“I started…my first page on the book, so that thing is going well. I mean, I don’t really have anything else to say now. There’s no news. There’s nothing else I could tell you now that is exciting or anything. But I will.”

Story originally appeared on Racer