Alex Palou wins 2021 IndyCar Series title

·2 min read

Alex Palou is the 2021 IndyCar Series champion.

Palou entered the Grand Prix of Long Beach ahead of Pato O'Ward and Josef Newgarden in the points standings and did exactly what he needed to do with a fourth-place finish to clinch the title.

Palou had enough of a cushion entering the race over both O'Ward and Newgarden that something needed to go wrong for him to lose the title. And things went wrong for O'Ward early in the race when he spun after contact from Ed Jones. O'Ward soon had mechanical issues afterward and left Newgarden — who was 47 points behind Palou entering the race — as the only other driver who could win the title.

But he needed Palou to finish poorly for his title dream to be realized. And that didn't happen. Colton Herta won the race ahead of Newgarden in second. 

Palou wins in his second season

The championship comes in Palou’s second IndyCar Series season. He was a rookie in 2020 with Dale Coyne Racing and finished third in his third carer race at Road America. That was his best finish of the season but he showed enough promise to land a ride at Chip Ganassi Racing as the teammate to Scott Dixon in 2021.

Palou, 24, paid off Ganassi’s bet right away. He won the season-opening race at Barber Motorsports Park and finished in the top seven in four of the next five races. He then won at Road America over the summer and won at Portland two weeks ago to solidify his position at the top of the standings.

Palou ends the season with three wins and nine podium finishes in 16 races. No other driver in the IndyCar Series finished in the top three more than six times. And Herta was the only other driver to win three races.

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