A calm fourth place in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach was enough for the Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda driver to seal the championship by 38 points ahead of two-time champion Josef Newgarden, whose runner-up finish was enough to push him well clear of Pato O’Ward in the final standings.
Despite three early engine-change penalties and misfortune at IMS’s August road course race (mechanical) and Gateway (crashed out by another driver), he clinched the title by 38 points.
The series sophomore scored three wins and five other top-three finishes.
“What a race, what a year, what a season – this team is amazing,” exclaimed Palou to NBC, as he became the first Spanish driver to win. “I’m super proud to be a part of Chip Ganassi Racing, all our partners.
“Super happy, can’t thank everyone enough – Chip Ganassi, my family, my management team. Amazing! The opportunity that these guys gave to me.
“Let’s keep it going. Let’s get another one now.”
Ganassi, who saw one of his drivers win a championship for the 14th time since 1996, said: “You’re seeing a young man who’s going to be setting a lot of new records in this business and he’s already starting.
“What a great year we’ve had, and I’ve got to be honest with you, he’s surprised us, when he came in the door and the job he’s done. My hat’s off [to him].”