Alex Palou hoists the Astor Cup. Indycar photo by Chris Owens
I was watching Saturday practice at Barber Motorsports Park April 17 from the turn 2-3 area. Something about the way Alex Palou drove the corners struck a chord in me. He was very smooth, smoother, I thought than anyone else on track. He qualified third, and I changed my original pick to win the race to Palou. After he won the next day, I kept thinking, “This guy is going to be good this year.”
Alex Palou may just now be realizing what he accomplished in the NTT Indycar Series this year, winning the championship in only his second season. Team Owner Chip Ganassi says Palou reminds him of Scott Dixon, who has pretty well in his career.
Palou spoke to the media after the race ended in Long Beach yesterday. He was still in awe of his achievement. Here are some quotes from Palou, interspersed with statistics of his incredible season.
On what it took to win the championship:
“Preparation. Preparation. Hard work. I
think everybody does that. It was working for us. We
didn’t leave anything on the table from my side or the
team’s side. We did everything we could to be as prepared
as we could possibly be.”
Some season statistics for Palou:
12 top 7s; 8 podiums
Palou hit a big bump late in the season with two straight DNFs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway
Asked whether he thought he had lost his chance at the title, Palou said,
“Never. I guess like Josef before coming
here, he was close. He did the job he had to do yesterday.
He got one point. He never said that it was over.
You can never say it’s over until it’s over. Yeah, I knew
that doing a good job at Portland, Laguna, like we luckily
did, I could have a shot here.”
3 wins; 10 Top 5s
On finishing second in the Indianapolis 500:
“For me Indy 500 obviously it hurt this year
a little bit. At the same time I learned a lot. That’s one
thing that, yeah, obviously I want to win so bad.
If we keep on performing like we do, it will come. I don’t
know if it’s going to be next year or two years or five years.
Who knows. It’s only one race, 200 laps. There’s so much
stuff going on. You have to have the best car, the best
crew, the best mental attitude. You have to have
everything perfect for that race. If it’s not next year, I’m not
going to worry too much. I think we have lots of years to
One more statistic:
Palou improved his starting position in 12 of the 16 races.
After Palou was told he is the youngest champion since Scott Dixon in 2003. What does it mean to him?
“A lot. It means a lot. He’s a reference.
He’s one of the best, if not the best. To be able to be the
youngest behind Scott, it just feels amazing.
Now the difficult part comes, right? To be able to do it for
15 more years on the same level.”