Alex Palou wins Portland for early clinch of IndyCar Championship. Spaniard has 2 titles in 3 years

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Alex Palou is a two-time IndyCar champion with Chip Ganassi Racing after a dominant run Sunday at Portland International Raceway.

Palou took his fifth win of the season to secure the title, just one weekend left in the 17-race programme. It is the first time since the late Dan Wheldon’s victory in 2005 that the championship in IndyCar will be decided before the finale.

Palou started the race with a comfortable points advantage over his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon, the only driver mathematically capable of challenging the Spaniard for the title. But it didn’t matter what Dixon did in the race because if Palou was on the podium the championship would be over.

In Portland he was far more than just on the podium.

Palou led 69 of the 110 laps to secure a crucial win over second-place Felix Rosenqvist, who finished 5.4353s from the finish. Dixon, the six-time IndyCar champion, was third.

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It’s the second title in three seasons for Palou, who won both titles for Ganassi. He was due to leave Ganassi at the end of the season and join Arrow McLaren Racing, where he was also McLaren’s test and reserve Formula One driver.

But Palou told McLaren last month that he is not joining the team and McLaren has filed a lawsuit in the UK seeking at least $20 million in damages and a refund of money already paid to Palou.

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