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Chip Ganassi Racing Celebrates 30th Anniversary in 2020

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Chip Ganassi Racing

CONCORD, NC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi’s race team is celebrating another milestone.  2020 marks the team’s 30th anniversary.

Ganassi started Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) as a single-car entry in IndyCar back 1990 following the conclusion of his own driving career.

Chip Ganassi Racing Got Its Start At 1990 With A Single Car Entry In IndyCar.

“I always tell people I had a fossil fuel-fired youth having raced karts, motorcycles, IndyCars and Sports Cars,” said Ganassi.  “I could have never imagined owning a race team back then, and now it’s incredible to see where it is now.”

Chip Ganassi On Pit Road At The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Prior To The 1982 Indianapolis 500.

In the 30-years since, Ganassi’s teams have tallied 223-wins over 3,630-starts across NASCAR’s Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series, IndyCar, IMSA (International Motor Sports Association), WEC (World Endurance Championship), ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) and GRC (Global Rally Cross) for eight different manufacturers (Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Dodge, Oldsmobile, Lexus and BMW).

Several of those victories came in some of the most iconic races around the globe.  CGR has scored eight wins in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, four Indianapolis 500 victories as well as wins in the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400, the 12-Hours of Sebring and the 24-Hours of Le Mans.

Ganassi’s teams have captured 19-series Championships along the way (12-IndyCar including four-straight titles twice: 1996-1999 & 2008-2011; 7-Sports Car).

Three Rivers Karting

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 30-years,” said Ganassi.  “I’ve been lucky to have great people, great partners and great drivers work with me in that time.”

Those partners today include Pittsburgh-headquartered PNC Bank, NTT Data, Monster Energy, Credit One Bank, Clover, McDonald’s, GEARWRENCH, AdventHealth, HUSKI Chocolate, Chevrolet and Honda to name a few.

Ganassi has been honored with several awards including:

  • 2018: Received the Bruton Smith Legend Award for his success, innovation and positive example across multiple levels of motorsports.
  • 2016: Inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame for his many contributions to the world of auto racing.
  • 2012: Named by Complex Magazine as one of the “50 most influential people in the Auto Industry”.  His ranking of 17th was the highest rank for a person from North America from the Racing Industry.
  • 2011: Received the first-ever Dapper Dan Sports Leadership Award.

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is celebrating CGR’s 30th Anniversary milestone in a year-long, multi-car exhibit titled “Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks To Success.”

Chip Ganassi Racing plans to roll-out a season-long social media campaign including a commemorative logo throughout the year (pictured below), a CGR Special Edition Prize Pack for fans and a CGR Memorable Moments video series.  Fans should make sure they are following the team on Social Media platforms like Twitter: @CGRTeams @CGRnascar @CGRindycar @CGRgaming.

The Chip Ganassi Racing 30th Anniversary Commemorative Logo

Ganassi says he is revved up to drop the green flag on the 2020 racing season, which begins this weekend with Speedweeks in Daytona.

“I’m not going anywhere, and I think we have a lot of wins and championships left in us,” said Ganassi.  “I can’t wait for the 2020 season to open for us in Daytona and St. Petersburg.”

CGR KEY FACTS, FIGURES AND MILESTONES:

  • First Win – March 20, 1994 (IndyCar, Australia, Michael Andretti).
  • In 2010, Ganassi’s teams turned in an historic season by setting an organization record with 19 wins across three touring series, including victories in the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400, making him the only team owner in history to win all three crown jewels of racing, and he accomplished it in a single season.
  • In 2011, his IMSA team finished off the “Chip Slam” by also winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona, making Ganassi the first owner to hold all four titles at one time.
  • First NASCAR Win – August 19, 2001 – (Michigan International Speedway, Sterling Marlin).
  • First Sports Car Win – May 23, 2004 – (Circuit Mont-Tremblant, Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz).
  • Indianapolis 500 Wins – (2000-Juan Pablo Montoya, 2008-Scott Dixon, 2010-Dario Franchitti, 2012-Dario Franchitti).
  • Daytona 500 – 2010 (Jamie McMurray).
  • Brickyard 400 – 2010 (Jamie McMurray).
  • 12 Hours of Sebring – 2014 (Marino Franchitti, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas).
  • Global Rallycross two-time winner and X-Games Silver Medal Winner (2015, Brian Deegan).
  • 24 Hours of Le Mans – 2016 (Joey Hand, Dirk Muller and Sebastien Bourdais).
  • Rolex 24 At Daytona Wins – (2006-Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon and Casey Mears, 2007-Scott Pruett, Juan Pablo Montoya and Salvador Duran, 2008-Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Juan Pablo Montoya and Dario Franchitti, 2011-Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Graham Rahal and Joey Hand, 2013- Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Charlie Kimball and Juan Pablo Montoya, 2015-Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson, 2017-Joey Hand, Dirk Muller and Sebastien Bourdais, 2018-Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook).
  • Championships – (INDYCAR – 1996-Jimmy Vasser, 1997-Alex Zanardi, 1998-Alex Zanardi, 1999-Juan Pablo Montoya, 2003-Scott Dixon, 2008-Scott Dixon, 2009-Dario Franchitti, 2010-Dario Franchitti, 2011-Dario Franchitti, 2013-Scott Dixon, 2015-Scott Dixon, 2018-Scott Dixon), (Sports Car – 2004-Scott Pruett and Max Papis, 2006-Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz, 2008-Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, 2010-Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, 2011-Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, 2012-Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, 2013-Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas).
  • 100th Win – July 12, 2008 (INDYCAR, Nashville SuperSpeedway, Scott Dixon).
  • 200th Win – January 28, 2018 (IMSA, Daytona International Speedway, Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook).
  • 223rd Win (most recent) – October 6, 2019 (NASCAR, Dover International Speedway, Kyle Larson).

IndyCar

Alex Palou Wins The Honda Grand Prix of Alabama In His Debut With Chip Ganassi Racing

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Photo: Chris Owens

BIRMINGHAM, AL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Alex Palou’s teammates have multiple Championships but on Sunday Palou accomplished something those Champions didn’t, winning in his debut with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Palou beat Will Power by 0.402-seconds to capture the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opening Honda Grand Prix of Alabama.  Palou’s teammate and defending Champion Scott Dixon finished third, giving CGR 2 of the 3 podium spots.

“It was an amazing weekend,” said Palou, a native of Spain.  “I’m super, super proud of the team. The team did an amazing job. Today they gave me the best car. I just had to do the obvious things right as Chip likes to say. I’m just super, super happy.”

Palou started third behind pole sitter Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP and Alexander Rossi of Andretti Autosport.

The race was barely green when Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden got loose and spun in front of half the field.

“I got loose coming over the hill,” said Newgarden. “I just got loose in the wake. I thought I had the car (saved) and then touched the grass. I think once I touched the grass it pitched me sideways.  Obviously my mess created a bigger mess.”

Ryan Hunter Reay, Colton Herta, Felix Rosenqvist, Max Chilton and Rinus Veekay all suffered some type of damage.  Veekay was able to continue. Chilton, Rosenqvist and Herta eventually returned to the race several laps down after making repairs.

The race restarted on lap 8 with O’Ward leading Rossi, Palou, Power and Dixon making up the top 5.  The field appeared to settle in at that point until the second caution of the day came out when Jimmie Johnson spun the No. 48 Carvana Honda.

“As we got two yellows it was clear,” said Palou of the possibility of a two-stop strategy. “As soon as the first yellow came I was already thinking two stops. I was trying to save as much fuel as possible there.”

The race restarted on lap 13 and saw no change in the top 5 until O’Ward and Rossi hit pit road on lap 20 for their first pit stops, handing the lead to Palou.

“To be honest I saw that Rossi and Pato, they were not saving that much fuel and I was wondering, ‘are they going to not even try to do it or do they just know how to do it and not me?’ I was surprised that they didn’t go for a two-stop because I think it was fairly easy after the two yellows.  Hey, I didn’t call a two-stop, it was the team. They just told me now is the time to push. Do 15-more laps and this is the target for fuel mileage that you have do. That’s what I did and it worked.”

Three Rivers Karting

Palou made his first pit stop on lap 32 for the Firestone primary black sidewall tires with Power inheriting the lead followed by Dixon, Ericsson and Romain Grosjean, who all made pit stops in the following three laps.

O’Ward came to pit road on lap 42 for his second stop handing the lead back to Palou with 48-laps to go. Rossi hit pit road a lap later.

Palou stayed out front and the only question was whether the race would remain caution free to allow the strategy to play out.

The first driver on the two-stop strategy to make his final pit stop was Ericsson, who pitted for the final time on lap 61 while running fourth. Palou and Dixon pitted a lap later.

Power pitted from the lead on lap 62 followed by Graham Rahal and Grosjean.  Power came out behind Palou but ahead of Dixon with O’Ward inheriting the lead but needing one more pit stop.

O’Ward pitted on lap 67 and came off pit road and settled into the fifth spot behind Ericsson.

Palou inherited the lead followed by Power and Dixon.  Palou built a lead of 2.4-seconds but in the waning laps got caught behind traffic allowing Power and Dixon to close the gap but neither was able to challenge Palou.

The next event is the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, April 25 (live coverage starts at noon ET on NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network). The first practice starts at 4:15 p.m. (ET) Friday, April 23 (live on Peacock Premium).

INDYCAR Barber Results

 

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INDYCAR Season Preview: Scott Dixon Chasing History; Stacked ‘Rookie’ Class; Highly Competitive Field

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Photo: Karl Zemlin

BIRMINGHAM, AL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The green flag drops on the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season Sunday with the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park and the season is full of storylines race fans are going to want to watch and follow until the checkered flag falls at Long Beach in September.

PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, the reigning and six-time Series Champion, is seeking a record-tying seventh title in 2021. A seventh title would tie INDYCAR legend AJ Foyt for the most Championships in the history of the sport. Foyt won the last of his championships in 1979, which means his mark has stood unmatched for 42 years.

Dixon started 2020 with three-straight wins to propel him to his sixth title.  Speaking of wins, Dixon sits third on the all-time wins list with 50-career wins.  Mario Andretti is 2nd all-time with 52-wins so Dixon could pass Mario this season.  Foyt is first with 67-career wins so ‘Super Tex’s’ win record is safe, for now.

“Building on 2020, we had a pretty good start,” team owner Chip Ganassi told Pittsburgh Racing Now about Dixon’s start in 2020. “With his fast start of the season, it was a fast start for our team. If we can do that in ’21 I’ll be stunned. Fingers crossed.”

In addition to Dixon, CGR has Marcus Ericsson returning in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda.  Alex Palou joins the team in 2021 taking over the No. 10 Honda and a rookie is going to splitting time with Tony Kanaan in the No. 48 Honda.

The 2021 INDYCAR rookie class is deep, talented and loaded with all kinds of experience.  Joining the series in 2021 are seven-time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson, who is driving the road and street course schedule for Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing; three-time Australian Super Cars Champion Scott McLaughlin, who is driving the full schedule for Team Penske with sponsorship from Pittsburgh-headquartered PPG Paints; Long time Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean is competing for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing.

“This might be a once-in-a-lifetime thing that we see something like this,” said INDYCAR President Jay Frye. “We’re really excited. The good thing about these three is they’re great people on and off the track. They’ve taken this very seriously. It’s going to be amazing to watch their progress over the course of the year. Really excited to have them.”

“Any team owner would want Jimmie Johnson on his team,” said Ganassi. “He’s a damn hard worker. He set the bar at a new level for the amount of work a driver puts in and my hats off to him. He’s always on the simulator, on the computer, on the phone making calls, asking questions, working out, talking to sponsors, talking to the team.  The guy doesn’t slow down.”

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES isn’t slowing down either as Team Penske returns with a 4-car lineup featuring former Series Champions Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud along with the rookie McLaughlin.

Andretti Autosport returns with a 4-car full-time lineup led by former Indy 500 winners Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay. The pair will be joined by Colton Herta and James Hinchcliffe, who returns to full-time competition in 2021. Marco Andretti will run a fifth entry in the Indy 500.

Three Rivers Karting

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will field two full-time cars for two-time 500 winner Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal.  RLL will field a third car in the 500 with Santino Ferrucci behind the wheel.

Arrow McLaren SP is on a mission in 2021 to join the ‘Big 3’ (Ganassi, Penske, Andretti) as one of the teams to beat week in and week out.  Pato O’Ward returns for his second season with team and starts on the pole position Sunday.  O’Ward will be joined at AMSP by former CGR driver Felix Rosenqvist.  AMSP will field a third car in the 500 for two-time winner Juan Pablo Montoya.

Ed Carpenter Racing’s 10th season of competition finds Conor Daly running the road and street courses and team owner Ed Carpenter in the cockpit for the oval events.  Rinus VeeKay remains the team’s full-time driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet. The trio will again make up ECR’s three-car lineup in the Indianapolis 500.

Four-time Champion Sebastien Bourdais leads AJ Foyt Racing into 2021 as the affable Frenchman returns to full-time INDYCAR competition in 2021.  Joining Bourdais all season long will be second-year driver Dalton Kellett, who made eight starts in 2020.  Veteran Charlie Kimball will be joining the team for the GMR Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500.

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan will field a car for Ed Jones, who returns to INDYCAR full time in 2021. In addition to Grosjean, DCR with RWR will field an additional entry in selected events in 2021.  Cody Ware participated in the recent Indy 500 open test for the team.

Meyer Shank Racing begins its second full-time season with Jack Harvey behind the wheel of the teams full-season entry. Helio Castroneves will be competing in six events including the Indy 500, an event that Castroneves has won three-times.

The schedule is packed with action as the global pandemic has moved a couple of events from their traditional dates to new dates.  The season starts with six races in seven weeks.

“I get particularly excited about the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule,” said Mark Miles, Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO. “I think it’s a really, really potent start that will get our fans refocused on the INDYCAR SERIES. Can’t wait to be in Alabama at Barber this weekend, but we go from there in consecutive weekends, as everybody knows, to St. Pete. That’s going to be really terrific to be back there, to the Texas Motor Speedway. We have a weekend off, and then we’re at May. We know what May brings. We’ve got the two races and the time trials in between, and all the exciting practice, Fast Friday, Carb Day, all the exciting things in between.”

One addition to the schedule is the inaugural Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee.

“I hear every day from fans who want to know how they get their tickets for Nashville,” said Miles. “The anticipation there is fantastic. We think it’s going to be a great event, a terrific addition to the series.”

The green flag drops on the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES at 3 p.m. Sunday on NBC.  The race can be heard on the INDYCAR Radio Network.

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Pato O’Ward Wins INDYCAR Pole Position At Barber Motorsports Park

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Photo: Chris Owens

BIRMINGHAM, AL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward is on the pole position for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opening race after knockout-style qualifying at Barber Motorsports Park.

O’Ward’s fast lap of ?105.8479-seconds (125.744 mph) was .0698-seconds faster than the No. 27 NAPA Honda of Alexander Rossi who will start second.

“The times you saw today, you don’t see that anywhere else in the world,” said O’Ward of the tight qualifying times. “I was really happy with the car.  It was behaving well.  You really have to hustle this car to get the speed out of it. We’ve got a good car.”

“I think our best starting spot in year’s past was eighth so a big step up and we have a shot at it tomorrow,” said Rossi.

The newest member of Chip Ganassi Racing, Alex Palou, will line up third in the No. 10 SegiTV Honda after a fast lap of 1:06:0538 (125.611 mph).

“Qualifying was super close as INDYCAR is, it’s amazing to be honest,” said Palou. “The competition here is crazy. We have a good race car so hopefully we can bring back some trophies.”

Team Penske’s Will Power starts fourth in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet.  Power’s best lap was 1:06:1186 (125.230).

PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon begins his quest for a seventh Championship from the fifth starting spot in the No. 9 Grow Up Great Honda after a quick lap of 1:06:3976 (124.703).

Three Rivers Karting

Dixon’s CGR teammate Marcus Ericsson rounds out the fast six with a fast lap of 1:06:4102 (124.680) in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda.

Driver’s failing to advance to the fast six included former Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean, who will start seventh in his series debut.

Grosjean is one of three, highly-touted rookies who have diverse racing backgrounds.

The second rookie, three-time Australian Supercar Champion Scott McLaughlin will start in there 12th position after failing to make it out of the second round.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson set a goal of not qualifying last in his first attempt in an INDYCAR.  Johnson accomplished that goal and will start 21st in the No. 48 Carvana American Legion Honda.  Carvana Racing caught up with the rookie-of-the-year contender.

Two veterans who experienced issues and went off track will start deep in the field.  Felix Rosenqvist will start 22nd and James Hinchcliffe will start 24th.

Track action for The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama starts at 11:30 a.m. (ET) Sunday with a 30-minute warm-up session (live on Peacock) followed by the race beginning at 3 p.m. (ET) Sunday on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Barber INDYCAR Starting Lineup

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