McLaughlin Presented Rookie of the Year Award
Alex Palou and Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) were honored for their 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship during the Victory Lap Celebration on Friday night at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
Palou claimed his first Astor Challenge Cup in his initial season driving for CGR in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda and his second season in the series. This is the 14th INDYCAR SERIES championship overall for CGR, which earned its first title in 1996 with Jimmy Vasser driving.
Spaniard Palou became the first NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion from his country. He finished the season 38 points ahead of second-place Josef Newgarden of Team Penske in the final standings, driving to three victories, eight podium finishes and one NTT P1 Award for earning pole in qualifying.
In the most definitive sign of the youth movement this season in the series, Palou, 24, is the first NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion younger than 25 since current CGR teammate Scott Dixon in 2003. Palou is the seventh-youngest champion in INDYCAR SERIES history.
Three veteran members of CGR’s crew also earned awards. Mike Hull and Barry Wanser shared the INDYCAR Championship Team Manager Award, while Ricky Davis was presented with the INDYCAR Championship Chief Mechanic Award presented by Pennzoil. The team also was presented the Penske Racing Shocks Award for its title.
Newgarden didn’t go home empty-handed despite falling just short in his quest for a third series championship with Team Penske. He was presented with the NTT P1 Award for scoring the most points after winning the pole at a race in the 2021 season. Newgarden led the series with four poles this season in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.
The No. 2 Team Penske crew for Newgarden also earned the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award for the shortest amount of accumulated time in pit lane all season.
Team Penske also earned another postseason honor for the first time in its legendary history, as Scott McLaughlin won the Rookie of the Year Award. New Zealand native McLaughlin produced five top-10 finishes, including second place in the Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in his first oval race, in the No. 3 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet.
Other award winners at the ceremony included Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for the TAG Heuer “Don’t Crack Under Pressure” Award for advancing the most cumulative places during the season, and Honda Performance Development (HPD) took home the INDYCAR Manufacturers Award for the fourth consecutive season. HPD President David Salters accepted the award on behalf of his team.
The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season starts Sunday, Feb. 27 on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.