Alex Palou wins 2021 NTT IndyCar Series Championship

Alex Palou wins 2021 NTT IndyCar Series Championship

by September 26, 2021 0 comments

Alex Palou of Sant Antoni de Vilamajor, Spain has been just about everywhere in his young career. From F3 and F2 to Japanese Super Formula and World Series Formula V8, he has done just about everything. The one thing that has eluded the 24-year-old to this point has been a series championship. Well, now Palou can check that off the list, as on Sunday he was crowned the 2021 IndyCar Series Champion. A gearbox issue would force rival Pato O’Ward out of the race early, while Josef Newgarden had a hill too large to climb. Palou is also now the first-ever Spanish-born IndyCar Series Champion as well.

Chip Likes Winners

After a bumpy rookie year in 2020 with Dale Coyne Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing took a flyer on the young Spaniard for 2021 with an opening on the team. In the Gannasi press release last October when he was signed, team director Mike Hull had this to say.

“I love to watch the growth of young drivers. This year racing IndyCar has been very difficult for young drivers like Alex who hadn’t had the opportunity to visually see the tracks in advance. Nor have days of practice in private team testing, or open testing, or three-day weekends. Putting that into perspective, he did a heck of a job. We had an opening, and he became available, and Chip [Ganassi] has a great eye for talent. Alex has that spark, that intangible thing you combine with talent that is a lot of fun.”

That quote has aged quite well. It took Palou just one race to secure his first career win with the team at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Then after a rough outing at St. Petersburg, the Spaniard rattled off three consecutive top 10s and two top fives heading into the Indianapolis 500. If it were not for Helio Castroneves turning back the clock a decade, Palou more than likely would have won the biggest race on the planet. His 35 laps led were second among all drivers and he only finished four-tenths back of Castroneves.

After another poor outing in the opening Detroit duel, Palou began a heater stretch. In the next eight races, he scored two wins, five top fives, and six top 10s. This spectacular season put Palou into a spot where he just had to avoid catastrophe to win the championship at Long Beach. Due to a number of drivers retiring early, he did so with about 20 laps to spare. Looks like Chip has found another wheelman.

Celebration Time

Just about everyone from Ganassi congratulated the newest member of the champions club over at the team. From Jimmie Johnson, Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, and the boss man himself. The soft-spoken Spainaird also had his girlfriend and dad at the track which was a nice sight as well. Palou was quick to thank his team and sponsors as is tradition. Even before he got out of the car, he did some burnouts in the second to last corner of the track.

The boss man Chip Ganassi then went on to say that “This young man is going to break many records in this business”. With Palou’s talent and the Ganassi pedigree, it is very hard to believe that will not come to fruition.


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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

 

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