Palou secures IndyCar title after winning Portland Grand Prix

Palou secures IndyCar title after winning Portland Grand Prix

Alex Palou secured his second IndyCar title with an impressive victory in the Portland Grand Prix.

Chip Ganassi driver Alex Palou dominated the field and won the penultimate round at Portland, ensuring that the championship race was not going to be determined at Laguna Seca.

Palou qualified fifth, but after the first round of pit stops, he moved up to the lead and was impossible to catch after that.

The Spaniard won the championship once more after switching to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2021. Palou’s victory marks the first time a driver has claimed the title before the season-ending event since the return of American open-wheel racing in 2008.

The race was under the control of pole-sitter Graham Rahal in the very beginning. Palou had a strong first lap, moving up from fifth to third despite starting on a used set of the harder tyres.

The primary tyre had to be used for the better part of the race due to the conditions. Palou took the lead after Rahal pitted at the end of lap 22. later, Rahal and Scott McLaughlin battled for track position as Palou extended his first stint for an additional 10 laps and accumulated a six-second lead.

On lap 84, Agustin Canapino spun, bringing on a Safety Car period, which wiped out Palou’s lead. This marked the second full-course caution of the event despite a clean race overall after Will Power’s spin on lap three. 

Given the possibility that Felix Rosenqvist would restart behind Palou on an alternate tyre compound, the Chip Ganassi star managed to not only retain the McLaren driver in his rearview mirror but also to pull ahead in the race’s final 20 laps to win comfortably 5.4 seconds ahead of second place finisher.

Palou completed 69 of the 110 laps in the lead marking his second championship victory and becoming Chip Ganassi Racing’s 15th major American open-wheel champion.

See also  Kirkwood hopes to be considered for Andretti F1

Rosenqvist finished in second place, a season-best performance in what might be his final race for the McLaren IndyCar team. Meanwhile, Dixon’s attempt to win a record-tying seventh national championship failed as he came in third.

Pato O’Ward finished fourth, giving McLaren just one more race to secure a win in 2023. The top five was rounded out by Josef Newgarden, who finished fourth despite crashing during qualifying. Rinus VeeKay finished sixth marking a personal best for 2023.

Marcus Ericsson finished seventh, ahead of David Malukas, who finished eighth and ahead of Scott McLaughlin after starting from 23rd on the grid. The top ten was rounded out by Kyle Kirkwood while Rahal dropped down the standings order after the last restart, coming in at number twelve.

Colton Herta was poised to finish in the top ten but skidded with only three laps to go and fell to thirteenth.

Juri Vips finished in 18th place as the best rookie. Marcus Armstrong placed 19th despite an incident in the pits where his rear-right wheel fell off during a pit stop, but he is still in a great position to win Rookie of the Year at Laguna Seca Raceway next week.

A fatal mechanical malfunction led to Canapino’s spin. Romain Grosjean, the only other race participant to retire, sustained damage in a lap one accident with Callum Ilott and got off the race after only 32 laps.

Portland Grand Prix results

110Alex PalouGanassiHonda
26Felix RosenqvistMcLarenChevrolet
39Scott DixonGanassiHonda
45Pato O’WardMcLarenChevrolet
52Josef NewgardenPenskeChevrolet
621Rinus VeeKayCarpenterChevrolet
78Marcus EricssonGanassiHonda
818David MalukasCoyne/HMDHonda
93Scott McLaughlinPenskeChevrolet
1027Kyle KirkwoodAndrettiHonda
1145Christian LundgaardRLLHonda
1215Graham RahalRLLHonda
1326Colton HertaAndrettiHonda
146Felix RosenqvistMcLarenChevrolet
1577Callum IlottJuncos HollingerChevrolet
1614Santino FerrucciFoytChevrolet
1729Devlin DeFrancescoAndrettiHonda
1830Juri VipsRLLHonda
1911Marcus ArmstrongGanassiHonda
207Alexander RossiMcLarenChevrolet
2120Ryan Hunter-ReayCarpenterChevrolet
2255Benjamin PedersenFoytChevrolet
2351Sting Ray RobbCoyne/RWRHonda
2460Tom BlomqvistMeyer ShankHonda
2512Will PowerPenskeChevrolet
2678Agustin CanapinoJuncos HollingerChevrolet
2728Romain GrosjeanAndrettiHonda

Leave a Reply