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Chip Ganassi Racing Completes Extreme E Lineup By Signing Kyle LeDuc

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Chip Ganassi Racing

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing is gearing up for the Extreme E Series by signing American Kyle LeDuc to pair with Sara Price for the 2021 season.

“I am beyond excited to announce that I will be driving in the Extreme E series for Chip Ganassi Racing,” said LeDuc. “Not only do I get to drive these fully electric 4-wheel drive cars around the world, but I get to do it for the man himself, the biggest team in motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing.”

Extreme E is a five-race global series spanning four continents that will highlight the impact of climate change and human activity on some of the world’s most remote locations, while promoting sustainability and the adoption of electric vehicles to help protect the planet.

Competitors like LeDuc and Price will drive Extreme E’s revolutionary battery-electric, 550-horsepower, 3640-pound Electric-SUV that is capable of going from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, at gradients of up to 130 percent!

“The 2021 Extreme E series is going to be groundbreaking and we are going in with the goal of victory,” proclaimed LeDuc.  “Some of the unprecedented features of this new series will be splitting these races 50/50 and racing worldwide in climate-affected areas. This is a huge opportunity for all involved and we cannot wait to get this thing started!”

LeDuc, a six-time Pro-4 Short Course Off-Road Champion with a record of 101 victories, will pair with Off-road Truck Champion and X Games Price in a format that will see teams field both a male and female driver in its races – promoting gender equality and a level playing field amongst competitors. They will compete together in every two-lap race as driver and co-driver, with each completing one lap behind the wheel of the ODYSSEY 21 electric-SUV, with a changeover incorporated into the race format.

“I’m looking forward to working with my teammate, Sara Price,” said LeDuc. “I was born and raised around racing with my family and to see the desire and determination in Chip and the entire team to be successful and win in this newly developed form of motorsports has given me the drive to bring victories to this program.”

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“Congratulations to all at Chip Ganassi Racing for completing their driver line-up and a big welcome to the Extreme E family Kyle,” said Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO, Extreme E.  “I’m really looking forward to seeing both Sara and Kyle race, they’re both super successful in their motorsport endeavors and have already achieved so much. I’m sure they’ll be bringing this determination and skill to the Extreme E paddock.”

Skill and determination is exactly what LeDuc brings to CGR. LeDuc was the youngest active driver in off-road racing and became the 2003 Prolite World Champion at Crandon International Raceway at the age of the 20.

The following year LeDuc became Prolite Champion.  In 2008 LeDuc entered the Pro-4 category and has since won six Pro-4 Championships in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS), with his first coming in 2012 and his most recent in 2019.

These titles became the norm for LeDuc as he continued to achieve a career-total of three LOORRS Challenge Cup wins, two Pro-4 World Championships, and two LOORRS Driver of the Year titles.

LeDuc has also competed in several Trophy Truck races with great success including the 2016 Baja 1000 where he qualified first and started first on the road and finished fifth in his first ever attempted Trophy Truck race.  Not only is LeDuc one of the best in off-road, he has the mind of an engineer and builds his own race vehicles from the ground up.

“We are really excited about Kyle joining our team and being a teammate to Sara in Extreme E,” said Mike Hull, Managing Director of Chip Ganassi Racing. “Kyle is a really quality off-road, all-terrain driver. Presently, Kyle has 101 victories in off-road racing. He is a true champion, a race winner, and understands how to drive in all terrains. He will have a positive effect, not only behind the wheel but also with our team with his experience. We are looking forward to him joining Chip Ganassi Racing!”

The 2021 Extreme E Series debuts January 22-24 in Lac Rose, Senegal.

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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!

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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.

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“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.”

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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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