Ten with Townsend: Post-Le Mans, Road America debrief

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The fourth season of the MotorSportsTalk original series “Ten with Townsend” – a 10-question Q&A with NBCSN IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell – continues this week following the KOHLER Grand Prix, IndyCar’s return to Road America and after Bell has returned from winning his class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

A full archive of past posts is linked here and we thank Townsend for his time and insights.

Here’s the breakdown after Sunday’s race, where Will Power held off Tony Kanaan and after the series made its triumphant return to the track.

What was most exciting part of IndyCar return to Road America for you? How does it compare to sports car weekends?

It’s just great to see the universal support across fans, drivers, media, etc. We don’t always ALL agree, but when we do, it’s a good feeling.

Did the race live up to expectations/hype?

As good as it gets.

Did you think the race length was good, or would you have liked to seen it extended a bit to make for some varying strategies?

Seemed pretty good. I think 60 laps would be about right for fuel (no saving) and time duration.

Do you think the tires fell off too fast? Or was the wear about what you would have liked to see?

Spot on. No complaints here. Of course, that’s from the air conditioned comforts of the booth.

When was the last time you remember seeing Will Power this dominant? What’s triggered his being back on usual form?

I’m not sure he ever left. But the qualifying issues have been the struggle the last few street/road courses. When it looked like he might get an interference call in quali…I thought…here we go again.

Has Pagenaud been lucky to get away with now three bad results in four races? Still his title to lose?

Road America was set to be a solid podium day before mechanical issues set in for Pagenaud. Same can be said for Scott Dixon. It’s not a bad thing for us fans that others have a chance to catch up now!

How impressive have Helio and TK been to you considering how strong both of their seasons have been?

There’s a reason they’ve both been at this for almost 20 years. Hard workers. Hard chargers. That’s what they do.

Newgarden’s resiliency to be able to compete this weekend. What did you make of the fact he A. drove and B. generally drove as well as he did?

I love what he represents across every measurable category. Outright Speed. Ability to win on road courses and ovals. Hard work. Grit. Self belief. Optimism. Teamwork. If we had more wealthy team owners in the paddock, JNew would be locked down with a king’s ransom already.

Coming back to Road America after the month at Le Mans, what was the feeling of those who were there (yourself, Dixon, Bourdais, Aleshin) and how you endured the Texas rain delay to survive that, then focus on Le Mans, then get back to your usual IndyCar duties here?

It’s not so bad. I can think of worse ways to burn through a few weeks.

Lastly, how nice was it to have both family here at RA and have Leigh back in the booth?

I misread this as ‘booth family’. You mean my chipper brutha ‘Diff’ and crazy cousin “Thrilla”?


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

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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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.”