Race Weekend Central

Alex Palou Wins in Portland, Secures 2nd IndyCar Title

Alex Palou secured the second NTT IndyCar Series title of his career by winning Sunday’s (Sept. 3) BITNILE.com Grand Prix of Portland. Palou took his first title in 2021 as a sophomore in the series.

The Spaniard’s championship triumph marks the first time in nearly two decades that the IndyCar title has been decided before the final round of the season – Dan Wheldon was the last to do so in 2005.

“Obviously it was an amazing weekend overall,” Palou told NBC Sports in victory lane. “We just had really fast cars. We knew we had to go for it and we just raced how we’ve be doing all season. So yeah, super proud to be here in victory lane; super proud of the second championship and 15th [championship] for the team.”

Felix Rosenqvist finished second, from an 11th-place start, ahead of Scott Dixon, who secured a second-place points finish with this third-place result. Pato O’Ward finished fourth and Josef Newgarden rounded out the top five.

Pole sitter Graham Rahal and second-placed-starter Scott McLaughlin finished 12th and ninth, respectively, after being decisively overcut by much of the field after their first pit stops. The front-row starters opted to take the green flag on the softer, less durable Firestone Alternate tires (reds) to get their mandatory use of the reds out of the way. Palou and Dixon started the race on Firestone Primaries (blacks) and stretched their more durable rubber to laps 31 and 32 respectively, while Rahal and McLaughlin were both in and out of the pits by lap 22.

From this point on, Palou’s advantage over the field was decisive as he used clean air and a clean racetrack to control the pace of the race and cruise through a calm stint on Alternate tires (laps 32-49).

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Palou’s win wasn’t without controversy, however. Exiting the pits from his second stop, the No. 10 car moved erratically in an apparent attempt to block a charging Helio Castroneves. The commentary booth and internet alike erupted with calls for the incident to be investigated as a case of blocking, which would likely draw action from race control. No investigation was started.

Earlier in the race, Kyle Kirkwood was penalized for blocking Ryan Hunter-Reay, leading to race control ordering the driver of the No. 27 to give up two places on track.

Will Power brought out the first of two cautions for the day when he spun entering turn 4 and stalled his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet in the grass on the third lap. Agustin Canapino brought out the second caution with 27 to go by running off-course at turn 10 and stalling the car at pit entry.

2023 IndyCar Grand Prix of Portland Results

The final round of the 2023 IndyCar season will be the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The season finale will take place on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 2:30 p.m. ET with coverage on NBC and Peacock.

About the author

Alex is the IndyCar Content Director at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also serves as Managing Director of The Asia Cable, a publication focused on the international affairs and politics of the Asia-Pacific region which he co-founded in 2023. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.

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