LEXINGTON, OHIO (Pittsburgh Sports Now) – PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon held off his hard-charging teammate Felix Rosenqvist to win Sunday’s NTT IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Complex.
The epic battle was one for the ages as Dixon was on older tires and Rosenqvist, a rookie, was going for his first win. The pair made contact and raced each other hard but clean and Dixon and the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda crossed the finish line 0.0934-seconds ahead of Rosenqvist and the No. 10 Clover Honda.
— CGR IndyCar (@CGRindycar) July 28, 2019
“Oh man that was crazy,” said Dixon. “With about 15-laps to go, I started moaning to the team. I’m like, ‘man I think we’re going to have to pit again’. I was just a sitting duck, and if I wasn’t his teammate I think he would’ve knocked me off.”
“I really want to credit Chip for letting us race,” said Rosenqvist. “The last lap. I think everyone really enjoyed that. We were enjoying it. We were banging wheels in turn 2 there, (it) was a little bit exciting. Scott is always going to fight you hard, but fair and I think I did the same, and maybe one more lap we could have got him.”
The margin of victory, 0.0934-seconds, was the closest IndyCar finish at Mid-Ohio and the third closest on a road course in IndyCar history.
The history-making finish was a reminder that the 12-time IndyCar Championship team can never be counted out.
Rosenqvist started sixth and Dixon eighth and both cars began the race on the primary Firestone tires and all of the cars in front of the pair started on the alternate Firestone tires, which are faster but do not last as long.
Rosenqvist started sixth and worked his way up to third by lap 15. The rookie passed Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi for second place on lap 19.
Dixon, was right behind moving in third on lap 20 and into second place when Rosenqvist came to pit road for his service on lap 29.
Will Power, who started on the pole and led the first 30-laps, came into the pits on lap 30 and Dixon came in right behind him.
Power’s teammates Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud, who made their first stops earlier, inherited the lead and second place and stayed there until the next round of green-flag pit stops on lap 40.
Disaster struck for Newgarden on the pit stop when fuel flow issues extended the stop to 13.9-seconds and Rosenqvist moved back into the lead at that point.
The Ganassi team chose a split-strategy for the two cars as Dixon was on a two-stop strategy and Rosenqvist was on a three-stop.
Rosenqvist pitted from the lead for the last time on lap 66 and his No. 10 NTT Data crew nailed it, changing 4-tires and adding fuel in just 6.9-seconds to get him out in second place.
Dixon led Rosenqvist by 9.7 seconds with 20-laps to go but as Dixon’s tires started going away his rookie teammate kept charging and cut the lead to 2-seconds with five laps to go and 0.3-seconds with the white flag waving, setting up that final lap battle.
“That’s what IndyCar racing is – it produces the best racing in the world,” said Dixon.
The victory was the 46th career victory for Dixon and Chip Ganassi Racing’s 11th at Mid-Ohio. The win was the team’s 108th in the series, breaking a tie with Newman-Haas Racing for second-most wins in history, trailing only Team Penske’s 210-wins.
Dixon’s 46th win leaves him within six of Mario Andretti (52) for second place on IndyCar’s all-time wins list. A.J. Foyt ranks first with 67.
The victory also helped the Five-time Champion driver chisel some points off Newgarden’s points lead. Dixon sits 62-points back with four races to go and double-points available at the season finale at Laguna Seca.
The second place finish for Rosenqvist was his first podium finish with the team and also helped him pad his lead in the “Rookie of the Year” standings.
The NTT IndyCar Series visits the Keystone State next with The ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 18th. Tickets are available on the track’s website at www.poconoraceway.com.
Alex Palou Joining Chip Ganassi Racing For 2021 INDYCAR Season
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing didn’t waste any time filling the vacancy in the No. 10 Honda as 23-year-old Spaniard Alex Palou is joining the team for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
“To say I’m thrilled or excited to be making this step in my career would be an understatement,” said Palou. “Driving for Chip Ganassi is just a dream come true. I’ve followed the team for as long as I can remember, and it’s the kind of team and owner any driver would want to race for.”
Palou just completed his first season in INDYCAR where he scored his first-career podium at Road American en route to a 16th place result in the championship standings driving for Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh.
“I love to watch the growth of young drivers,” said Mike Hull, CGR’s Managing Director. “This year racing Indy cars has been very difficult for young drivers like Alex who hadn’t had the opportunity to visually see the tracks in advance, nor have days of practice in private team testing, or open testing or three-day weekends. Putting that into perspective, he did a heck of a job. We had an opening, and he became available, and Chip has a great eye for talent. Alex has that spark, that intangible thing you combine with talent that is a lot of fun. It’s a great exploration thing, actually. You’re exploring how far you can go, and he has one year of experience with a quality team, quality engineering and a quality teammate. He stood up to that test extremely well.”
Palou is excited to get started with the 13-time Championship team and their stable of drivers with 6-time INDYCAR Champion Scott Dixon, 7-time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson and re-signed driver Marcus Ericsson.
“Scott has had another tremendous season, reaching 50 wins and a sixth title, so you absolutely couldn’t ask for anything more in a teammate,” said Palou. “I can’t wait to work with Marcus and Jimmie as well, and to start contributing to the team and getting to spend more time with everyone.”
Prior to joining INDYCAR, Palou won a Super Formula Championship race in 2019, competed at the All-Japan Formula 3 championship in 2017, recorded his first race in the Formula 3 Series in 2015, and made his debut in open-wheel racing competing in the Euroformula Open Championship in 2014.
Partnership details will be announced in the off-season in preparation for the 2021 INDYCAR season and beyond.
Marcus Ericsson And Chip Ganassi Racing Agree To Multi-Year Deal
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Marcus Ericsson will continue to drive Chip Ganassi’s No. 8 Honda in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES after agreeing to a multi-year deal.
Ericsson, 30, joined the team in 2020 after competing for Schmidt Petersen Motorsports for his inaugural INDYCAR season in 2019.
“I’m very happy to continue my relationship with Chip Ganassi Racing, Honda and HPD into 2021 and beyond,” said Ericsson. “I want to thank Chip and the whole CGR organization for their trust in me. Chip Ganassi Racing is one of the best teams in motorsports and I’m proud to be part of the team. The season we’ve just finished has been full of potential and I feel confident that with what we’ve learned together this year will help us succeed in 2021. I’m looking forward to getting back in the No. 8 Honda!”
This past season Ericsson posted nine top-10 finished in 14-races with a season-best fourth-place finish as Road America. Ericsson finished 12th in the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES standings.
“Marcus proved that he belongs here, and this season he contributed to the success of our team greatly,” said Mike Hull, CGR’s Managing Director. “That includes being unselfish to his teammates, especially with Scott Dixon who won the INDYCAR championship. He’s a great foundational piece of our overall program and he fits well within our group. That translates into success on the track, and we’re glad to have him continue to grow and move the team toward into the future.”
Ericsson may only have two years of INDYCAR experience but he has an extensive racing resume including 97-starts in Formula 1. The Kumla, Sweden native is a two-time champion (Formula BMW UK, 2007; Japanese Formula Three, 2009), and has twice claimed the Swedish Junior Racer of the Year award (2007, 2009). Ericsson also previously competed in British Formula Three, GP2 Asia and GP2.
Partnership details will be announced in the off-season in preparation for the 2021 INDYCAR season and beyond. Huski Chocolate partnered with the team in 2020.
The Ericsson deal combined with the addition of Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Carvana Honda and the return of Scott Dixon in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda leaves the No. 10 NTT Data Honda as the only remaining question mark for CGR heading into the 2021 season.
Scott Dixon Wins 6th INDYCAR Championship & Chip Ganassi Racing Wins Their 13th
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon wasn’t even born when INDYCAR legend A.J. Foyt won his sixth Championship in 1975, but Sunday Dixon joined Foyt as the only other 6-time INDYCAR Champion.
Dixon finished third in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, winning the title by 16-points over Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden.
“Well, six is good,” said Dixon. “Seven is better. That’s going to be the goal.”
Dixon started the race in 11th position and had to finish eighth or ninth depending on where Newgarden finished. Newgarden didn’t make it easy, winning the race for the second year in-a-row.
“Credit to Josef (Newgarden) and Team Penske,” said Dixon. “He drove a hell of a race there and put us under a lot of pressure. They drove the last part of the season flawlessly and gained a lot of points.”
The No. 9 team started the 2020 season with three-straight wins and built up a lead of 117-points but saw it dwindle to 32-points following races at Mid-Ohio in September and the Harvest Grand Prix on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this month.
Dixon and his “Wolfpack” crew however managed to lead the Championship throughout the entire season.
“It’s all the team,” credited Dixon. “I can’t thank everybody on this team enough. Obviously, Chip (Ganassi), Mike (Hull) and Barry (Wanser) and everybody involved.”
A big part of Dixon’s team is wife Emma, daughters Poppy and Tilly and son Kit.
“Big thanks to my wife Emma and my family,” said Dixon. “I’m glad my girls are here, unfortunately (toddler son) Kit isn’t here.
It’s a big shame that he couldn’t be here. I can’t thank them enough. We’ll have to win another one so he can be in the pictures.”
The Championship is the 13th for Chip Ganassi and his team, which is celebrating their 30th Anniversary in 2020.
“It’s never just one thing or one person. For me, it’s about the team effort. We had a lot of changes in the offseason but huge thanks again to everyone on the team.”
The Championship is also Dixon’s second in three-years for Pittsburgh-headquartered PNC Bank.
“PNC Bank, two out of three years (as champion) – that’s pretty good going,” said Dixon. “I can’t thank all of our partners enough: PNC Bank, Honda, NTT Data, Huski Chocolate.”
Honda took home the Manufacturers Championship for the third year in-a-row.
“I’m proud to be powered by Honda and what they’ve been able to pull out this year given the deficit we’ve had going into Indy previous years,” said Dixon. “They nailed it. Big thanks to everybody.”
“Human beings are the thing that make the world go around and Scott is a very special human being,” said Ted Klaus, President of Honda Performance Development (HPD). “We call them the ‘driver’ for a reason, because they drive the whole team. Scott drives everything about, not just Chip Ganassi Racing, but HPD and he drives us. And we need those kinds of strong drivers to get the achievements that we seek. I don’t think he’s done. I think he’s still hungry and I think it humbles all of us. Good for Scott!”