Formula E: Bird is the word in delayed Miami ePrix free practice

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MIAMI – Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird topped the timesheets in a truncated 35-minute free practice session ahead of the Miami ePrix, Round 5 of the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship.

The on-track activity was delayed nearly three full hours from the scheduled first start time of 8:15 a.m. due to track construction.

Rather than two free practice sessions as was planned, a single one ran from 10:55 to 11:30 a.m., with only a 40-minute break until qualifying at 12:10.

Bird’s best lap was 1:06.588 around the 2.17 km, 8-turn street circuit. Karun Chandhok (Mahindra) and Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT) were also in the 1:06 bracket and completed the top three.

Nick Heidfeld (Venturi) had an off-course excursion, but was the only driver to encounter issues in the session.

Qualifying follows at 12:10 until 12:57, and will be run in four groups drawn by a random lottery. Groups are linked here via the FIA Formula E website.

The race is still scheduled to start of 4:05 p.m. ET and local time, with the grid opening at 3:30.

Free practice results are linked here.

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”