The List: Highs and Lows from the 2023 NTT IndyCar Season

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Highs and Lows from the 2023 NTT IndyCar SeasonPenske Entertainment/Joe Skibinski

Like The Three Bears, the NTT IndyCar Series has settled in for a long hibernation—the next six months, to be exact—before the 2024 season begins on the Streets of St. Petersburg in mid-March.

While there likely will be some occasional news during the off-season such as new driver signings or contract renewals, as well as the official release of the 2024 season (should happen in the next few weeks), let’s take one last look back at the highs and lows of the recently completed 2023 campaign.


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Alex Palou made it look easy the second time around in winning his second NTT IndyCar Series championship.Penske Entertainment/Chris Owens

Alex Palou

Alex Palou won his second IndyCar championship in three years and did it in commanding fashion, never finishing lower than eighth in any of the 17 races. He also led the series with five wins. And to put the cherry on top of the cake, team owner Chip Ganassi said Palou will be returning to the team next season, NOT moving to Arrow McLaren SP, as had been anticipated. In fact, Arrow McLaren SP has filed suit against Palou for breach of contract.

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Chip Ganassi added another IndyCar title to his ownership trophy case.Penske Entertainment/Chris Jones

Chip Ganassi

Chip Ganassi has long chased Roger Penske as the most successful and dominant team owners in IndyCar. Now, with Palou winning his second title, Ganassi is now two championships away from tying Penske for most CART/IndyCar championships. Roger has 17, while Chip now has 15.

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Josef Newgarden won the Indianapolis 500 to check another career box.Penske Entertainment/Chris Owens

Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden, after 11 tries and just one podium, finally won the Indianapolis 500 in his 12th try at the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. Also, this was the first Indy 500 at full capacity since 2019 due to COVID-19 limitations in 2020 (no fans allowed), 2021 (135,000), 2022 (estimated to be 175,000) and finally a full crowd estimated at 300,000 in 2023. Penske said recently that he anticipates fitting even more folks into the stands for the 108th running of the 500 in 2024.

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David Malukas parlayed a solid season into a career ride for 2024.Penske Entertainment/Joe Skibinski

David Malukas

David Malukas, who turns 22 on Sept. 27, gave himself an early birthday present when he signed with Arrow McLaren SP two weeks ago. Malukas earned one podium each in both 2022 and 2023 in decent but not great equipment from Dale Coyne. Now that he gets a major upgrade with the Arrow McLaren SP family, his first win is likely not too far behind.

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Scott McLaughlin finished third in the IndyCar championship behind just Alex Palou and Scott Dixon.Penske Entertainment/James Black

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin was the top finishing Team Penske driver (finished third) this past season, somewhat of a surprise given that Indy 500 winner Newgarden won four races to just one from McLaughlin. But the big difference is the New Zealand native had greater consistency than Newgarden, who had an up-and-down year wrapped around those four wins.


After earning three Australian Supercar championships, McLaughlin has taken to IndyCar racing like a duck to water. He won one race this season (Alabama) – after winning three races in 2022—and was particularly strong in the second half of 2023, finishing runner-up three times in the last seven races.

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Scott Dixon was in contention for the championship until the second-to-last race of the season.Penske Entertainment/James Black

Honorable Mention

HONORABLE MENTION: Even though he wound up being a bit too little, too late, Scott Dixon still ended up winning three of the last four races, and finished second in the overall championship. While he closed to within 11 wins of tying A.J. Foyt’s record of 67 IndyCar wins, Dixon unfortunately still came up short of tying Foyt’s record of seven career IndyCar championships (and he may have a problem reaching that mark with teammate Palou likely remaining with the organization and in the sport for the next several years).


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Pato O’Ward is anxious to turn the page on a disappointing 2023 season.Penske Entertainment/Karl Zemlin

Arrow McLaren SP

Arrow McLaren SP had a tough season. Even with Alexander Rossi being added to the mix of Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, AMSP collectively failed to win even one race all season. O’Ward did claim seven podiums, while Rosenqvist (headed to Meyer Shank Racing for 2024) had two podiums and the winless Rossi had just one podium (compared to one win and three podiums in 2022).

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Team Penske’s Will Power saw a 16-season win streak end this year.Penske Entertainment/Joe Skibinski

Will Power

Will Power won the championship in 2022 (the second of his career) with incredible consistency; even though he earned just one win, he had nine podiums in total. But 2023 was a difficult season for the Aussie. He saw a streak of having earned at least one win in each of the prior 16 seasons snapped, and just four podiums. That he finished as high as he did in the final standings (seventh) is surprising. But if the soon-to-be 43-year-old Power endures one more season in 2024 like he had in 2023, don’t be surprised if he’s looking for a new job and new team by season’s end.

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Simon Pagenaud goes into the offseason without a 2024 ride in the IndyCar series.Penske Entertainment/James Black

Meyer Shank Racing

Meyer Shank Racing has been on a downhill slide ever since the greatest win in its history, when Helio Castroneves won a record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 in 2021. Since then, Castroneves failed to earn even one additional podium, while Simon Pagenaud earned just one podium and no wins in his brief two-year stint with MSR, which came to a premature end when he suffered a severe concussion during an end-over-end practice crash at Mid-Ohio in early July.

No surprise, Pagenaud’s contract was not renewed. While Castroneves will become a minority owner in MSR, plus go for a record-breaking fifth win at Indy in 2024, Pagenaud’s plans are up in the air (although his name has recently been mentioned as possibly headed to Ed Carpenter Racing, providing his doctor gives him the okay). Pagenaud could potentially race for MSR’s IMSA team (don’t be surprised if Helio also takes a spin or two in the series). Castroneves and Pagenaud will be replaced at MSR by Tom Blomqvist and Felix Rosenqvist.

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Sting Ray Robb was part of a forgettable rookie class.Penske Entertainment/Chris Owens

Forgettable Rookie Class

2024 had a terrible rookie class. How bad was it? Marcus Armstrong won Rookie of the Year honors, even though he missed five races (all the oval track events). The rookie class of four – down from six in the previous season – likely would have been more close if 2022 Indy Lights (now Indy NXT) champ Linus Lundqvist had gotten a full-time ride instead of guys like Benjamin Pedersen (A.J. Foyt Racing, finished 27th, with a best race showing of 15th), Agustin Canapino (Juncos Hollinger Racing, finished 21st, with best race showing of 12th place three times) and Sting Ray Robb (Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing, finished 21st with best finish of 12th at Laguna Seca).

Robb and Pedersen also led all rookies with six DNFs apiece, followed by three DNF’s for Canapino, while Armstrong had zero DNFs. It’s no wonder Ganassi locked Armstrong up with a multi-year contract the week before the 2023 season ended. All that being said, don’t be surprised if Pedersen, Canapino and Robb do not return for their sophomore seasons.

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Former F1 racer Romain Grosjean was never able to conquer IndyCar.Penske Entertainment/Chris Jones

Tough Season for Andretti Global

Terrible seasons for Andretti Global. With the exception of Kyle Kirkwood earning his first two career IndyCar wins, Andretti Autosport (now Andretti Global) had an otherwise rough season. Colton Herta failed to win a race for the first time in his six full-time seasons (plus had just one podium). After great optimism in 2021, Grosjean will not be returning to the Andretti stable for 2024, being replaced by 2022 Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson.

The winless Grosjean is a real disappointment as he embraced the series so much in his first year in 2021 (no wins but three podiums)—as well as the series embracing him – only to have such disappointing and frustrating campaigns in 2022 (just one podium) and 2023 (two podiums) that ultimately wound up costing him his ride. However, look for Grosjean to remain in the series in 2024 (rumor has it he’ll wind up at Dale Coyne Racing or perhaps A.J. Foyt Racing). Andretti will also cut loose Devlin DeFrancesco, with rumors having it that Andretti will cut back from a four- to three-car team in 2024.

Follow Autoweek contributor Jerry Bonkowski on X (formerly Twitter) @JerryBonkowski