PORTLAND, Ore. — Alex Palou is a two-time IndyCar champion with Chip Ganassi Racing following a dominant run Sunday at Portland International Raceway.
Palou earned his fifth win of the season to lock up the title with one weekend remaining in the 17-race schedule. It is the first time in IndyCar the championship has been settled before the finale since the late Dan Wheldon won in 2005.
Palou started the race with a comfortable points lead over Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon, the only driver mathematically eligible to challenge the Spaniard for the title. But it didn’t matter what Dixon did in the race because if Palou podiumed, the championship would be over.
He did far more than podium at Portland.
Palou led 69 of the 110 laps to score a decisive victory over runner-up Felix Rosenqvist, who finished 5.4353 seconds back. Dixon, the six-time IndyCar champion, finished third.
It is the second title in three seasons for Palou, who won both titles driving for Ganassi. He was supposed to leave Ganassi at the end of the season for a move to Arrow McLaren Racing, where he was also McLaren’s test and reserve Formula One driver.
But Palou informed McLaren last month he’s not moving to the team and McLaren has filed suit in the United Kingdom seeking at least $20 million in damages and recoup of money already advanced to Palou.