Chip Ganassi confirms Palou for 2024 after Portland title win

Chip Ganassi confirms Palou for 2024 after Portland title win

Chip Ganassi confirmed that Alex Palou will be remaining with the team for the upcoming season after winning his second championship at the Portland Grand Prix on Sunday.

Alex Palou sealed the championship one race early to become the most recent NTT IndyCar Series multi-champion after winning the penultimate round at Portland International Raceway.

The 26-year-old now has two championships to his name in just four years of IndyCar racing after winning his first championship title in 2021.

After the penultimate race of the year, Palou scored his ninth career IndyCar win as he leads six-time champion Scott Dixon by 91 points, far exceeding the maximum 54 points that are awarded to each driver on race weekends.

“It was an amazing weekend overall, we had really fast cars and we just had to go for it,” said Palou. “We just raced how we’ve been doing it all season.

“Everything worked perfectly today… Super proud to be in Victory Lane and super proud of the second championship and the 15th for the team.

“We’re missing Barry [Wanser, his strategist and a team executive, who’s dealing with cancer] – he did an amazing job.

“I never thought I’d be an IndyCar champion and to be two-time IndyCar champion just feels amazing, like a dream.

“I can’t thank our guys and girls enough, they gave me all the tools I needed to win… We’ll just keep rolling.”

It was confirmed that the Spaniard will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing in the upcoming season after team owner Chip Ganassi revealed the news in a post-race interview.

Ganassi, who rarely gets involved in discussions about driver contracts, made the following remarks to NBC in Victory Lane after Palou won his fifth race of the year: “Alex Palou is going to be in our car, I can tell you that, sure.”

Ganassi further disclosed that Palou had informed him ahead of the race that, despite starting from fifth on the grid, he would secure the championship with a victory.

“He’s certainly special,” said Ganassi. “We noticed that in his first weekend, his first race win with us in Barber [when he won on his debut with the team in the 2021 season opener].

“He’s part of our team, we couldn’t be more happy about that. He likes to win, to be at the front.

“I said to him before the start, ‘Hey, let’s go and wrap this thing up today’ and he looked at me and he said, ‘I’m going to wrap it up with a win’. I said ‘OK, great’.

“He called the shot today.”

Since 2007, when Sebastien Bourdais won the Champ Car championship at the halfway point of the season in Surfers Paradise, the IndyCar championship has never been determined before the year’s final race.

For over 15 years, a remarkable string of fiercely contested championship races took place, but Palou’s performance this year marked the end of the winning pattern.

The win comes after Palou made an apparent U-turn on his commitment to swap teams for 2024 as he was taken to the UK’s High Court over a contractual disagreement with McLaren Racing.

The similar call in 2022 prompted Ganassi to file a lawsuit against his own driver, which was ultimately resolved through mediation and allowed him to continue driving for his IndyCar team while still testing F1 cars with McLaren.

Leave a Reply