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Alex Palou survives Turn 1 melee to win Grand Prix of Portland

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Chris Owens/INDYCAR

PORTLAND, OR (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou survived a first lap incident heading into Portland International Raceway’s first turn and came back to win Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES Grand Prix of Portland.

The victory was the third of the season for Palou, who regained the Championship points lead with the victory.

“It was massive,” Palou said of the victory. “I don’t think that much about the three wins or two wins. I think that’s important but not super. What I think is important is that even having a really bad start of the race, we were able to fight.”

Palou started on the pole position and was leading the field down the frontstretch with Alexander Rossi to his left in second place and Scott Dixon behind him to Palou’s inside in third when fourth-starting Felix Rosenqvist carried too much speed into the first turn. As Rosenqvist took evasive action he made contact with Dixon, which prevented the six-time series Champion from making turn one.  Dixon went straight through the runoff area but that move prevented Palou and Rossi from making the turn too.

“I filled that gap because I figured Rahal or somebody was going to try and scoot down the inside of us,” explained Dixon. “I bailed out of it and then got hit from behind, I think it was Felix (Rosenqvist), and that caused a bit of an interesting moment for all of us on the start there.”

All four drivers went through the runoff area and rejoined the field however more turn one chaos was happening behind them as several drivers made contact or were forced to take evasive action to avoid contact bringing out the caution flag.  Among the drivers sustaining damage were Helio Castroneves, James Hinchcliffe, Will Power, Romain Grosjean and Oliver Askew.

INDYCAR race control penalized Palou, Rossi, Dixon and Rosenqvist and sent them to the back of the field for not taking the first turn, which mystified the drivers.

“I got hit at some point,” said Palou. “I knew Scott was on the inside, so I couldn’t really go there, so I knew I had to go through the chicane. I made it through the chicane, and I said, ‘okay, I only lost like five positions’, which is a lot, but I said, ‘at least I’m not out’. And then INDYCAR decided that that was not penalizing enough, and they put me in the back, which I don’t know what they want me to do at that point. Do they prefer me to like completely stop the car and make that corner, making the race unsafe?”

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“It was just the craziest thing I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been in racing a little while,” explained Dixon. “I don’t know what they (race control) were thinking or how that came about, but put all of us at the back the field. Be interesting to go talk to them later and see how they came up with that scenario.”

“I thought it was pretty low grip in Turn 1 when Felix, I guess — when Scott and Alex and them kind of slid through, I didn’t really have anywhere to go, and I thought if we got back to the styrofoam chicane, that was acceptable,” said Rossi. “But it was self-penalizing because we all went from like first, second, third to sixth, seventh, eighth, and then they’re like, ‘oh, you’re going to 24th’. It was like, okay, cool.  But fortunately it all came around.”

INDYCAR rules state that cars avoiding the collision and remaining on the racing surface at the timing lines embedded in the track through the chicane are placed at the front of the field on the restart, with drivers avoiding the collision but leaving the racetrack placed behind them, followed by drivers involved in the incident.

The reshuffling of the field and subsequent restart saw Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward, who was leading the Championship by 10-points coming into the weekend, take the early lead with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal right behind in second place.  Those two remained out front until their first round of pit stops.

The second caution flag came out on lap 52 when rookie Callum Ilott and Dalton Kellett both slowed on different parts of the track.  Several drivers elected to pit for service but Rahal elected to stay out and led until Lap 74, when he and second-place Ed Jones pitted to hand the lead to Jack Harvey.

Pit stop strategy eventually worked out in the favor of Palou, Rossi and Dixon. Palou, who made his final stop on Lap 79, one lap before teammate Dixon, took the lead for good on Lap 86 and survived two late restarts and was able to hold off Rossi and Dixon for the win.

Two races remain in the season-long championship, WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca and the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, where the 2021 Champion will be crowned.

“Clearly we are in the fight,” said Palou of his Championship chances. “But I think until Long Beach we are not going to know really who’s what. I think that many people today after the first lap thought that Pato was going to win and that we were going to lose 40 points, and it was the opposite. That’s why INDYCAR is INDYCAR, which is really good. I think that makes the racing super exciting and the championship super exciting until the end.”

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Chip Ganassi Racing unveils Alex Palou’s No. 10 DHL Honda

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Photo: Chip Ganassi Racing

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.

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“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.

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DHL joining Chip Ganassi Racing as primary sponsor for No. 10 Honda and Alex Palou

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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.

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“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.”

Palou, the No. 10 team will kick-off the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season March 10th at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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Racing Notebook: DHL partners with Ganassi; Hunt Bros partners with Penske and more

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(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.”
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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!
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