PORTLAND, Ore. - With one race to go in the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season, Alex Palou clinched the championship a week early, following a dominant win over Felix Rosenqvist in the BitNile.com Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway.
This is the fifth win of the year for the Chip Ganassi Racing driver and the ninth of his career. After leading 69 laps at Portland, Palou celebrated with his No. 10 team as the newest two-time INDYCAR champion, picking up Ganassi’s 15th INDYCAR title.
“That’s what we wanted,” Palou said. “It was an amazing weekend overall. We had really fast cars. We knew we had to go for it, and we just raced how we’ve been doing all season. Super proud to be here in Victory Lane and super proud of the second championship.
“I never thought that I would be an INDYCAR champion, and to be a two-time INDYCAR champion feels amazing, like a dream.”
During a post-race interview with NBC Sports, team owner Chip Ganassi said he expects Palou to continue driving the No. 10 Honda in 2024, despite the legal issues surrounding his ongoing contract dispute with McLaren.
Palou's teammate Scott Dixon finished third and did everything he could to make the championship go down to the wire. The quest for his seventh championship will have to wait until next year but he congratulated Palou on claiming the Astor Cup.
“I think he kind of does everything right,” Dixon said. “Yes, of course, you have seasons when things kind of roll your way. Sometimes, I’ve been a part of those and those are pretty special.
“But he’s a helluva competitor. A huge talent and obviously we knew that right out of the gate. He’s got a great group that works with him.”
Palou’s championship also holds sentimental value as his lead strategist Barry Wanser is missing the final two races of the season, due to a battle with cancer. Throughout the weekend, Chip Ganassi Racing and the entire NTT IndyCar Series paddock have shown their support for Wanser as he begins his recovery.
Entering the final 20 laps, Alexander Rossi got into the left-rear tire of Marcus Ericsson’s No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda. The Arrow McLaren driver pitted shortly after the fact with a broken front wing.
Agustin Canapino went sliding through the grass and stalled in Turn 11, causing a full-course caution with 26 laps to go. This set up the field for a sprint to the finish, which saw Palou pull away from Rosenqvist and Dixon at the end.
The first few laps were quite eventful with three separate incidents occuring. At the start, Josef Newgarden and Kyle Kirkwood made contact entering the Shelton Chicane.
This forced both drivers to take the escape route but they continued. However, later on the opening lap, Romain Grosjean got wheel-checked by Rinus VeeKay.
Then, Grosjean hit Callum Ilott, who was coming back onto the track after going off. The No. 28 DHL Honda went behind the wall for a little while to repair suspension damage but ended up retiring from the race.
Grosjean finished 27th after it was officially announced during the Portland weekend that he would depart Andretti Autosport at the end of the year.
Will Power brought out the first caution of the race when the Team Penske driver spun in Turn 4 and stalled.
Next weekend, the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series will host the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, Sept. 10. Coverage begins on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET.
The 2023 GRID Ranking is the seventh year of the world's premier motorsport ranking and was initially released on Sunday, April 2.
Drivers in the seven racing series participating in the ranking (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP) have earned GRID Ratings, which help determine their seeding each week in the 2023 GRID Ranking.
GRID Ranking Week 23 INDYCAR Drivers:
MOST RECENT FINISH
Results: 2023 BitNile.com Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway
(10) Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing/The American Legion-Honda, Running
(6) Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren-Chevrolet, Running
(9) Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing/PNC Bank-Honda, Running
(5) Pato O'Ward, Arrow McLaren-Chevrolet, Running
(2) Josef Newgarden, Team Penske/Hitachi-Chevrolet, Running
(21) Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing/BitNile-Chevrolet, Running
(8) Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing/Huski Ice Spritz-Honda, Running
(18) David Malukas, Dale Coyne Racing with HMD/HMD Trucking-Honda, Running
(3) Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske/Freightliner-Chevrolet, Running
(27) Kyle Kirkwood, Andretti Autosport/AutoNation-Honda, Running
(45) Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing/Hy-Vee-Honda, Running
(15) Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing/PeopleReady-Honda, Running
(26) Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian/Gainbridge-Honda, Running
(06) Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing/AutoNation/SiriusXM-Honda, Running
(77) Callum Ilott, Juncos Hollinger Racing-Chevrolet, Running
(14) Santino Ferrucci, AJ Foyt Racing/Sexton Properties-Chevrolet, Running
(29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport/Sapphire Gas Solutions-Honda, Running
(30) Juri Vips (R), Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing/Kustom Entertainment-Honda, Running
(11) Marcus Armstrong (R), Chip Ganassi Racing/Ridgeline Lubricants-Honda, Running
(7) Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren-Chevrolet, Running
(20) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ed Carpenter Racing/BitNile-Chevrolet, Running
(55) Benjamin Pedersen (R), AJ Foyt Racing/Sexton Properties-Chevrolet, Running
(51) Sting Ray Robb (R), Dale Coyne Racing with RWR/Biohaven-Honda, Running
(60) Tom Blomqvist (R), Meyer Shank Racing/AutoNation/SiriusXM-Honda, Running
(12) Will Power, Team Penske/Verizon-Chevrolet, Running
(78) Agustin Canapino (R), Juncos Hollinger Racing-Chevrolet, Mechanical
(28) Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport/DHL-Honda, Contact