ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden and Will Power led a Team Penske 1-2 in the first practice session for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Newgarden turned a fast lap of 1:00:8029 (106.574 MPH) to narrowly edge Power’s fast lap of 1:00:8102 (106.561).
Andretti Autosport teammates Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi were next on the charts. Herta’s fast lap was 1:00:8348 (106.518) and Rossi was a tick behind at 1:00:8653 (106.465).
“I think the track was really high grip, honestly, more so than what I was expecting,” Newgarden said. “That’s probably what brought the times tighter. Normally when it grips up, we get really close as far as the entire pack.
Penske’s Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top 5 with a quick lap of 1:00:8992. All four Penske cars were in the top 10 as rookie Scott McLaughlin came in eighth fastest at 1:01:0158.
A bit of a mixed bag for Chip Ganassi Racing. Scott Dixon led the team with a fast lap of 1:00:9152, which was good for sixth fastest in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda.
“The car felt pretty good,” said Dixon, the reigning and six-time series Champion. “We made some good changes. We had a test plan with all four cars and we made some good adjustments. P6 we’ll take that, keep pushing tomorrow. Hopefully a little bit better.”
Marcus Ericsson just missed the top 10 with a quick lap of 1:01:1170 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda, just behind Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal in tenth (1:01:0912).
“Good start for us, ended up P10,” said Rahal. “We had good pace the whole time. I thought a couple of laps we had could have put us in the top two or top three. One lap it went red (flag). One lap I caught Josef and a little bit of traffic but I feel really good the United Rentals car is strong this weekend.”
“I feel comfortable with the car,” said Ericsson. “We need to do some fine tuning tomorrow but we have really good pace to work from, feeling strong.”
CGR’s Alex Palou placed 20th in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda at 1:01:7393 (104.957) as less than one-second separated Newgarden from Palou.
“The car is good,” said Palou, who picked up his first career win last week at Barber Motorsports Park. “We just got some traffic and really didn’t make the lap (time). Tomorrow we have another practice and qualifying and I think we’ll really be ready to be up there.”
Palou’s teammate Jimmie Johnson finished 24th 1:03:1317 in the No. 48 Carvana Honda. It was Johnson’s first practice ever on a street circuit.
“There’s a lot going on,” said Johnson of his first practice ever on a temporary street circuit. “Very tricky trying to get the tires up to where I have the comfort to start charging and the braking marks and power down marks right. But I kept all four corners on the car, didn’t end up in the runoff. Certainly step one of this process of learning how to go INDYCAR racing on a street circuit. What a rush, what an experience!”
Teams have another practice session on Saturday morning from 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. to get their cars dialed in.
Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award is scheduled to start at 1:45 p.m., with live coverage on Peacock Premium and same-day coverage at 10 p.m. on NBCSN.
Live coverage of the 100-lap race starts at noon Sunday on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
Chip Ganassi Racing unveils Alex Palou’s No. 10 DHL Honda
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing unveiled the livery for two-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Alex Palou’s DHL Honda on Tuesday. DHL signed on as the primary sponsor this off-season in a multi-year partnership with the team.
The No. 10 car will carry the familiar yellow of DHL’s branding but adds a splash of red that has been synonymous with the Ganassi team for decades.
“As everybody can see, this is quite the amazing livery,” said Palou. “The No. 10 DHL Honda looks very aggressive, and it will certainly stand out on the track, which is great. I can’t wait to start the season with a run in this livery at Sebring before we kick things off in St. Pete. It’s looking like the perfect livery to try to defend our title in 2024 and I cannot wait to deliver on-track here soon.”
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding takes place March 8-10 on the streets of St. Pete.
DHL joining Chip Ganassi Racing as primary sponsor for No. 10 Honda and Alex Palou
INDIANAPOLIS, IN and PLANTATION, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing and DHL Express are teaming up in a new multi-year partnership that will see DHL become the official logistics partner of the 15-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champions and the primary sponsor of two-time and reigning Series Champion Alex Palou and the No. 10 Honda team.
“I am extremely proud to welcome DHL to the Chip Ganassi Racing family,” said Chip Ganassi. “It is an honor to partner with an organization that shares our fundamental values of teamwork, growth, responsibility, and the pursuit of excellence. Together, we are committed to embodying those values both on and off the racetrack. I am looking forward to Alex and the No. 10 team defending their 2023 title with DHL on board. The road ahead holds great promise and potential, and I can’t wait to get started.”
DHL is the leading global brand in the logistics industry and one of the most international companies, with about 395,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Chip Ganassi Racing, an organization that has a rich history of success, deeply rooted in principles shared by DHL, such as a commitment to supporting the communities we call home, and the relentless pursuit of excellence by investing in our people who embody speed, passion, and dedication,” said Mike Parra, CEO of DHL Express Americas and Head of Global Sponsorships. “As we sponsor this winning motorsports team with Alex Palou behind the wheel, we look forward to many winning moments both on and off the track in the months and years to come.”
“It’s super exciting to announce our new partnership with DHL, a global leader in logistics. Representing such a successful and widely recognized brand is a true honor,” said Palou. “Their iconic yellow and red colors not only stand out, but they also remind me of my native Spain’s colors. As our team looks back at our remarkable success last year, we are eager to carry that momentum forward and aim for a third title with the support of DHL. I am especially thrilled to hit the ground running alongside the dedicated men and women of our 10-car crew in 2024.”
Racing Notebook: DHL partners with Ganassi; Hunt Bros partners with Penske and more
(Pittsburgh, PA) – 2024 partnership programs a coming together as two of the biggest names in racing, Ganassi and Penske, each announce new deals plus PPMS announces their plans for the new year and Henessey Performance packs some punch for GM fans in today’s Racing Notebook.
DHL Partners with Ganassi and Palou
- DHL and Chip Ganassi Racing are teaming up for a new partnership. DHL becomes the primary sponsor of the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda and two-time NTT IndyCar Champion Alex Palou. DHL express also becomes the Official Logistics Partner of the 15-time Championship team. “I am extremely proud to welcome DHL to the Chip Ganassi Racing family,” said Chip Ganassi. “It is an honor to partner with an organization that shares our fundamental values of teamwork, growth, responsibility, and the pursuit of excellence.”
Hunt Brothers Pizza Partners with Penske, Logano, Blaney
- Team Penske and Hunt Brothers Pizza are teaming up in multi-year deal that will feature the convenience store pizza brand on the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang driven by two-time NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Champion Joey Logano for select races beginning in 2024. Hunt Brothers Pizza will also be an associate sponsor on defending NASCAR Cup Series Champion Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 Ford Mustang for the 2024 season.
PPMS Announces 2024 Schedule
- Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway is planning a 29-race schedule for 2024 with an opening day St. Patrick’s Day Weekend. The highlight of the schedule is the expansion of the Pittsburgher weekend to a 2-day event for the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series battling for almost $200,000!