Alex Palou of Spain took the checkered flag at the Bitnile.com Grand Prix of Portland, allowing him to clinch the 2023 IndyCar Series championship with one race to go on Sunday in Portland, Ore.
Palou beat Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist by 5.4353 seconds at Portland International Raceway. His fifth victory of the season brought Palou’s points total to 618, too far ahead for second-place Scott Dixon of New Zealand (527 points) to catch in next week’s season finale.
Driving the No. 10 The American Legion Honda, Palou earned his second series championship in three years and gave Chip Ganassi Racing its 15th IndyCar Series title.
“It was an amazing weekend overall,” Palou said in a post-race interview. “We just had really fast cars. We knew we had to go for it and we just raced how we’ve been doing all season. So, yeah, super proud to be here in victory lane.”
Palou led the points standings for the second half of the season after winning four times in a five-race stretch in May and June. Palou said he loved being the “hunted” this season instead of the hunter, as he was when he broke through in 2021.
“I never thought that I would be an IndyCar champion, and to be a two-time IndyCar champion just feels amazing, like a dream,” Palou said. “Cannot thank these guys and girls (on his team) enough. They gave me all the tools I needed to win.”
Palou led 69 out of 110 laps on Sunday.
After Rosenqvist, Dixon, Mexico’s Pato O’Ward and Josef Newgarden rounded out the race’s top five.
The season concludes Sept. 10 at the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey in Monterey, Calif.