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Scott Dixon Holds Off Felix Rosenqvist At Mid-Ohio To Give Chip Ganassi 1-2 Finish

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Chris Jones/IndyCar Series

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.

“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.

Three Rivers Karting

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.

Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Felix Rosenqvist (left) and Scott Dixon (right) spray champagne on each other after giving team owner Chip Ganassi a 1-2 finish at Mid-Ohio.

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.

 

 

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Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou Wins NTT INDYCAR SERIES Championship

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Chris Owens/INDYCAR

LONG BEACH, CA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – In just his first year with the team Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou is your 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion.

Palou’s 4th-place finish in Sunday’s season-ending Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach guaranteed the 24-year-old native of Spain his first INDYCAR Championship in his second season and the Ganassi team their 14th title since 1996.

“This team is amazing,” said Palou. “I’m super proud to be a part of Chip Ganassi Racing, all our partners. I’m super proud to be a champion and for the opportunity these guys gave me. What a race, what a year, what a season.”

“People win Championships,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “The driver, the team, and especially the people behind the scenes, leaving the shop in the winter when it’s dark out and snowing, that don’t get the notoriety.”

Palou started the race in tenth position in the No. 10 NTT Data Honda.  Palou’s closest Championship rival, Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward, started the race in eighth position.  Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden started on the pole position with Palou’s CGR teammate Scott Dixon alongside in second place in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda.

Newgarden took the lead in turn one with Dixon in tow as the field took the green flag.  The race wasn’t even 2-laps old when Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan’s Ed Jones made an ambitious attempt to pass James Hinchcliffe, but made contact with O’Ward with Palou right behind Jones!

Three Rivers Karting

O’Ward brought out the caution flag a short time later on lap 20 when the right rear driveshaft failed on the front stretch.

The caution flag shuffled the field as some cars went to pit road for service while other cars stayed out to gain track position, giving the lead to Helio Castroneves, who took a turn at the front of the field until he went to pit road on lap 34, giving the lead to Colton Herta.

Herta earned his turn at the front as he was making moves through the field throughout the race and following the last restart, it was Newgarden and Dixon giving chase.  Palou was behind Dixon in fourth doing what he needed to get the car to the checkered flag in one piece.

Herta pulled away in the end to a .5883-second victory, his ?? win of 2021.  Newgarden finished second to jump O’Ward for second in the Championship, 38-points behind Palou.

Dixon finished third followed by Palou in fourth. Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud rounded out the Top 5.

Alexander Rossi, Jack Harvey, Sebastian Bourdais, Takuma Sato and Will Power made up spots 6 through 10.

Honda claimed the Engine Manufacturer’s Championship for the fourth straight year.

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Josef Newgarden wins pole position for INDYCAR Acura Long Beach Grand Prix

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Chris Owens/INDYCAR

LONG BEACH, CA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden is on the pole position for Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-ending Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Newgarden’s fast lap of 1-minute, 8.2241-seconds around the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street circuit was .2181-seconds faster than Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon’s best lap in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda.

The pole position and valuable Championship point is exactly what Newgarden needs to do to win his third series title.  Newgarden enters the race in third position in the standings, 48-points behind leader Alex Palou, and must win, lead the most laps and hope Palou finishes 25th or worse.

“It’s very improbable for us to win this championship,” Newgarden said. “So, our goal is to win the race tomorrow. Let’s finish our season on a high note, and we’ll see what happens. I think it’s pretty unlikely, but you never say never in this sport.”

The only other driver with a shot at the Championship is Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward, who will start eighth in the 28-car field.  O’Ward also needs to win and hope for Palou to finish 25th or worse.

Three Rivers Karting

“Our car has been good,” said O’Ward. “We didn’t roll off the best, but I think we made some really good changes, just kept improving. We had enough for the Fast 6.”

Palou will start 10th in the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.  Palou and O’Ward were on flying laps when they were forced to slow for a local yellow for Will Power, costing both valuable lap time which eventually cost both the ability to advance to the final round of knockout-style qualifying.

“That yellow flag didn’t help us at all,” said Palou. “I think we were going to be easy through, but racing stuff, right?  I’m happy because the car’s good, a bit better than yesterday and this morning.”

“Kind of sucks to get hosed by a very odd call,” added O’Ward. “We should have been in the Fast 6.”

Palou must finish 12th or better – or 13th or better if he leads a lap – to clinch his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship and CGR’s 14th title since 1996!

Live coverage of the 85-lap race starts at 3 p.m. (ET) Sunday on NBCSN and the INDYCAR Radio Network. A 30-minute warmup starts at noon (ET), live on Peacock Premium.

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Colton Herta goes back-to-back at Laguna Seca

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Joe Skibinski

MONTEREY, CA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta won Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey giving him back-to-back victories two decades after his father accomplished the same feat.  Herta beat Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou by 1.9747-seconds to pick up his second victory of 2021 and fifth of his career.

“Alex, really the whole race, was right there,” said Herta. “Then Grosjean at the end pressured Alex, therefore pressured me. To go two-for-two so far (at Laguna Seca) is great. We were fast all weekend, and I’m glad we could pull it off in the race.”

Palou continued his march towards his first series title with a second place after last week’s win at Portland, which gives Palou and the No. 10 NTT DATA team a 35-point lead ahead of second place Pato O’Ward.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have the pace that Colton had,” explained Palou. “I think in reds and blacks he had a bit more. As soon as I tried to catch him, which we tried, I would just cook my tires. Yeah, I couldn’t go as fast as him without losing my tires.”

Three Rivers Karting

Palou, O’Ward and two-time series champion Josef Newgarden are the only drivers eligible to win the Astor Challenge Cup at the season finale. Newgarden is third in the standings, 48 points back.

Six-time series champion Scott Dixon and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Marcus Ericsson were eliminated from contention at this race after finishing 13th and sixth, respectively.

“All weekend we didn’t have it,” O’Ward said. “I truly feel like we used every single ounce of energy and pace that this car had. We pulled off a near-miracle in qualifying to start in the first three rows. In the race, honestly, that was as much as I had.

“All we can do at Long Beach is win, and then let everything else fall. I’ve got faith in myself. I know I’m pretty handy around a street course, so let’s see what we can pull off next week.”

Herta’s victory clinched the Manufacturers Championship for the fourth consecutive season.

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