Alex Palou makes IndyCar history as the first Spaniard to win the title series

Alex Palou has made the Spanish motorsports’ history books this Sunday by becoming the first-ever Spaniard driver to win the NTT IndyCar Series Championship. The Catalan racer was crowned champion after finishing fourth in the last round of the American competition at the street circuit of Long Beach in California. 

Palou was favourite to take the glory ahead of the final round of the season, and he didn’t disappoint. For the Spaniard, this has also been a dream come true. He arrived at Long Beach with a comfortable 35-point lead over Patricio ‘Pato’ O´Ward (Arrow SP-McLaren) and with 48 points more than third classified Josep Newgarden (Team Penske). 

Shortly after the start, the race started to look up for the 24-year-old hero. O’Ward, who had started in tenth place, was rammed by Ed Jones (Vasser Sullivan / Dale Coyne Racing), who sent him spinning down the track down a number of places

The Mexican, his greatest rival, who had started two places ahead of Palou, saw his chances virtually evaporate following that incident. Shortly after he fell to 28th place but the worst was yet to come, when a few laps later, his racing car stopped at the pit exit due to a breakdown, possibly caused by the impact received. 

Alex was closer than ever to the title but he still had to tread carefully until the end of the scheduled 85 laps. An accident or a yellow flag could turn the race around in an instant, particularly at such a treacherous track as the Californian one. On top of that, Newgarden, now his only title rival, was commanding the race. 

From that moment on, Palou put out a very intelligent drive, and was able to complete one turn after another without any incident, and avoiding those that did actually occur on the track. With no consequence to the Spaniard, Colton Herta won the race, ahead of Newgarden, runner-up of 2021, and Scott Dixon, third. 

After crossing the checkered flag, all eyes were on that young Spanish rider who had amazed the world in his first year with Chip Ganassi Racing. The blue car number ten performed a few doughnuts in celebration and from the inside of the car Alex could be heard screaming of joy. The Spaniard was approached by the press after getting off his car, visibly moved by his achievement:

“Oh my God man, what a race, what a year, what a season, this team is amazing, I don’t know what to say, I’m just super proud being part of Chip Ganassi Racing, all our partners (…) Can’t thank everyone enough that made this possible (…) I’m super proud to be a champion and of the opportunity that these guys gave me. I am living a dream”. 

A few minutes later, Palou was lifting the winner’s trophy and receiving the ring that certifies his entry into the IndyCar Olympus. He had the following to say: 

“I am so proud to be part of this team, this family, they have given me everything throughout all the season, all the fans (…) Yes, super proud, we got that number 10 NTT car to the champions (…) Yes obviously, my dad, my whole family but particularly my dad has been a big part of my success and of me being here today, and so I am very grateful for the opportunities that my family has given me”. 

Team Ganassi owner, for his part, was ecstatic when he said:  

“Ladies and gentlemen, you are looking at a man who is going to break many records in this business. The work is done, congratulations“. 

After having put all of his trust in a practically unknown Spaniard, and then seeing him rise to claim the crown for his team, his words were more than justified. In his both unexpected and dazzling performance this season, Alex Palou has conquered the crown with three victories, two second places and a couple of third places. 

Images of Alex Palou: IndyCar.

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