INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The IndyCar Paddock is going to be a little sweeter this year as Huski Chocolate has signed on to sponsor Marcus Ericsson and the No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda in the NTT IndyCar Series.
The primary sponsorship is their latest addition to sports-related partnerships with McLaren in Formula 1 as well as the Milwall Football Club in the English Football League Championship.
“This partnership is a great fit for our entire company,” said Stanton Barrett, CEO Huski Chocolate Americas, an accomplished racer and stuntman. “We have watched Marcus in Formula 1 and last year’s transition into IndyCar. Marcus has great potential and now he can capitalize on his talents by teaming up with Chip Ganassi Racing in IndyCar. This partnership with my friend Chip and CGR, a 12-time IndyCar Championship team, is a critical and valuable platform to reach a strong fan base in North and South America. As Huski Chocolate continues expanding into important markets for our B2B and B2C products, CGR and Marcus will continue to pave the way for success on and off the track for Huski Chocolate. We can’t wait to get the season started in St. Petersburg with the Huski Chocolate Honda on the grid.”
Ericsson, a Kumla, Sweden native, joins CGR after spending his IndyCar rookie season with Schmidt Petersen Motorsports. Prior to joining IndyCar, Ericsson spent five years in Formula 1, making 97-starts. Ericsson won championships in Japanese Formula Three (2009) and Formula BMW UK (2007) and captured the Swedish Junior Racer of the Year in those years as well. Ericsson also previously competed in British Formula Three, GP2 Asia and GP2.
“The Huski partnership is great news for CGR and the No. 8 team and completes our lineup several months in advance of the 2020 season,” said Doug Duchardt, COO of Chip Ganassi Racing. “We’re looking forward to having Huski Chocolate join the team and helping them build their brand in the United States.”
Ericsson took to his Twitter account to share the good news…..and to bring up a good point.
Extremely happy and proud to be driving the no. 8 @HuskiChocolate @CGRTeams Honda in the 2020 @IndyCar series. Love the design of the car, can’t wait to see and drive it in real life! And hey who doesn’t love chocolate 🍫 😋 #HuskiChocol8 #ME8 #INDYCAR pic.twitter.com/Puk9uzeNn1
— Marcus Ericsson (@Ericsson_Marcus) January 14, 2020
Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Huski Chocolate was born in the mountains of Arctic Sweden, where their Hot Chocolate became the drink of choice among elite skiers and adventurers. Huski’s unique taste is created using all-natural ingredients combined with real cocoa, cocoa butter and secret spices, delivering an unrivaled chocolate to fuel adventure. Combined with a new ready to drink iced chocolate, Huski Chocolate is now growing around the world, taking chocolate lovers to the mountains of Arctic Sweden in every sip!
The 2020 NTT IndyCar Season gets underway with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, March 13-15. Tickets are available at www.gpstpete.com.
Indy 500 Qualifying moved up due to weather; Ganassi’s Tony Kanaan turns fastest 4-lap average in practice
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is moving the start of Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge qualifying to 11 a.m. (ET) Saturday, May 21 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway due to the potential of rain in the afternoon for the first day of PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying.
Qualifying will run until its previously scheduled end time of 5:50 p.m., weather permitting, with starting spots 13 through 33 locked in for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
The morning practice session also will be moved up, with group one on the 2.5-mile oval from 8:30-9 a.m. and group two from 9-9:30 a.m.
The revised schedule:
- 8 a.m. – IMS Gates Open
- 8:30-9 a.m. – Practice Group 1
- 9-9:30 a.m. – Practice Group 2
- 11 a.m. – PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying begins
Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing’s Takuma Sato turned the fastest lap on a tricky ‘Fast Friday’ that was complicated by windy conditions that kept many teams in the garages for the better part of the day.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan posted the fastest 4-lap qualifying simulation average of 230.517 mph in the No. 1 American Legion Honda. Kanaan’s CGR teammates Marcus Ericsson and Scott Dixon posted the fourth and fifth fastest 4-lap averages. Ericsson turned a 231.782 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda and Dixon a 231.530 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda.
Peacock Premium will provide live coverage of both practice groups and the entire qualifying session, with the INDYCAR Radio Network also offering coverage. Public gates at IMS will open at their previously scheduled time of 8 a.m.
Chip Ganassi’s cars fast as practice opens for the Indianapolis 500
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) is off to a quick start in preparations for the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Four of the five CGR Honda’s were in the Top 6 of the speed chart following Tuesday’s opening practice for ‘The Greatest Spectacle In Racing’, and all five were in the Top 10.
Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Scott Dixon led the CGR squad posting a fast lap of 227.768 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda. Right behind Dixon in third was Indianapolis 500 rookie Jimmie Johnson, who’s fast lap was 227.722 in the No. 48 Carvana Honda.
“All in all, a really good day” said Johnson. “I feel like where we ended in this session gives me a lot of confidence for working forward. It’s just trying to work through extremes for me. What is a low trim setting? What’s a high trim setting? What’s mechanically tight? What’s mechanically free? Just trying to work through some of those big-picture things.”
Marcus Ericsson was fourth at 227.094 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate CGR Honda.
“I think it was a very positive day for me and for the team,” said Ericsson. “We rolled off (the truck) with really good cars again and sort of continued our work that we did at the open test a few weeks ago. Really, really happy with our progress and where our car is for the moment, a positive first day.”
Defending Series Champion Alex Palou was next on the charts, ending up sixth at 226.973 in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda.
“Felt really good to be honest,” said Palou. “The car is super-fast. We were just going through the plan. I think all the Chip Ganassi Racing cars are super-fast. We’re looking good. A lot of work to do but we’re looking good so far.”
The fifth Ganassi entry, Tony Kanaan, was ninth quickest in the No. 1 American Legion Honda with a fast lap of 226.292.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato turned the fastest lap of the day, 228.939, in the No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing.
“We had a big tow,” Sato said. “In Happy Hour, if you have new tires, I think you can do that. I’m very happy with the 51 car. Dale Coyne Racing did a good job.”
Practice resumes from Noon-to-6 p.m. (ET) Wednesday (live on Peacock Premium), with PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying this Saturday and Sunday. The 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is scheduled for Sunday, May 29.
Herta wins wet and wild GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Colton Herta combined great strategy, great driving and some good luck to win a wet and wild NTT INDYCAR SERIES GMR Grand Prix Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The victory was Herta’s first of 2022 and seventh in his career.
Herta started the race in on wet tires after officials declared a wet race due to wet track conditions and showers in and around the speedway. Herta was the first driver to pit for Firestone red alternate racing slicks and following a blistering lap, leapfrogged into the lead as the rest of the field headed for pit road after seeing Herta’s lap times.
Chaos ensued for several Championship contenders as a result of the conditions and hard racing including points-leader Alex Palou, who on Lap 6 spun and lost a lap after he couldn’t get the No. 10 American Legion Honda restarted. Palou finished 18th.
Josef Newgarden was sent spinning Lap 17 after contact with Jack Harvey. Newgarden’s car had to be towed to the pits with two flat tires. Newgarden eventually returned to the race and finished 25th.
Herta meanwhile never stopped fighting for the win in a race where the middle portion was run on slicks before rain returned about mid-way through the race, which brought out four more caution flags for various spins and off course excursions.
“This is the hardest race I think I’ve ever done,” Herta said. “Wet to dry, dry back to wet. Thank you so much for the Hoosiers for sticking around. I know you’re used to this weather, so thank you very much. Love you guys.”
Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud, who started 20th, finished second and was happy to survive the late downpour.
“It was treacherous at the end,” Pagenaud said. “You’ve got to say congrats to Colton because it was really tough to finish the race. We made the right calls on the tires. It was tricky. It was really tricky to decide.”
The victory was the first for Honda power in 2022 and Honda Performance Development placed three cars in the Top 5.
Team Penske’s Will Power finished third after starting on the pole position. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson finished fourth and was the highest finishing CGR Honda.
Ed Carpenter Racing’s Conor Daly finished fifth after starting fourth, which didn’t even begin to describe a day where the No. 20 Bitnile Chevrolet was up-front, falling like a rock, and coming back through the field.
“I’ve never been in a race like that in my life,” Daly said. “That was the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced.”
Scott Dixon and the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda team have to be thinking the same thing after Top 10 finish despite a horrendous qualifying effort that left the six-time Series Champion stating 21st.
“Kind of crazy, up and down, like a yo-yo to be honest,” said Dixon. “We got to the lead and led some laps on strategy. Then the rain came and we ran out of fuel on pit road. Got back onto the lead lap after going a lap down (running out of fuel) and at the end it was so hard to see with the rain.”
Salvaging a Top 10 finish kept Dixon in the Championship hunt heading into the double-points paying Indianapolis 500.
“Glad we ended up with a tenth,” said Dixon. “Decent points. We’re only 37-points out of the lead. We could be leading this thing coming out of the 500.”