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IndyCar: Ganassi hires Formula E’s Felix Rosenqvist to drive in 2019

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Formula E driver Felix Rosenqvist will replace Ed Jones for 2019 behind the wheel of the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing NTT DATA Honda in IndyCar.

The organization announced Rosenqvist’s hiring Friday morning. He will become teammates with 2018 series champ Scott Dixon.

“To say I’m thrilled or excited to be making this step in my career would be an understatement,” Rosenqvist said in a media release. “Coming to IndyCar and driving for Chip is just a dream come true.

“I’ve followed the team for as long as I can remember, and it’s the kind of team and owner any driver would want to race for. Scott has had another tremendous season with three wins and a fifth title, so you absolutely couldn’t ask for anything more in a teammate.

“I can’t wait to start contributing to the team and getting to spend more time with everyone at NTT DATA.”

It was also announced that NTT DATA has signed a multi-year renewal to remain the primary sponsor on the No. 10 car.

Rosenqvist isn’t exactly a stranger to team owner Chip Ganassi or his organization, having tested a CGR-prepared Indy car for Dixon at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in both 2016 and 2017.

“Felix has become familiar with our team and has worked in our system a little bit after coming over to test with us on a few occasions,” Ganassi said. “Our management and engineering groups, along with the entire team, were impressed by his ability.

“The time was right to get him in the No. 10 car and I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that we are confident about what he can do behind the wheel next season.”

Rosenqvist, 26, of Sweden, spent the last two seasons in the Formula E series, finishing third in 2016-17 (earning the highest-finishing rookie honors) and sixth in the most recent 2017-18 season. In 24 total races over those two seasons, Rosenqvist amassed three wins, seven podiums and six poles.

Also in 2016, Rosenqvist took part in 10 of 18 Indy Lights races, earning three wins and one pole. He finished 12th in the season standings in the part-time season effort.

Prior to that, Rosenqvist capped off a four-year run in FIA Formula 3 by winning the 2015 Formula 3 European Championship.

Dating back to his teen years, the Varnamo, Sweden native won the 2009 Formula Renault 2.0 NEX and Formula Renault 2.0 Sweden championships and was the 2008 Formula Renault 2.0 Asia Championship winner.

As for Jones, his future plans have not been announced.

Jones spent his IndyCar rookie season in 2017 with Dale Coyne Racing, earning one podium and finishing 14th in the standings.

He moved to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2018 and had two podium finishes, eight top-10 showings and finished 13th in the season rankings.

The Dubai, United Arab Emirates-born driver was the 2016 Indy Lights champion and was named 2017 IndyCar Rookie of the Year. He also was 2013 European F3 Open champ.

“It’s been a difficult year on the whole,” Jones conceded in a media release. “We’ve had some very good runs but we’ve also been extremely unlucky, with several things that didn’t go our way and six races where we hemorrhaged points due to reasons ranging from punctures to mechanical issues and a couple of crashes – one of them while I was running second close to the end.

“Without that, I’m fairly confident we would have finished inside the top eight in the drivers’ table, and when you consider that six of the top seven overall are former champions, that would have been a pretty decent outcome.

“On the positive side, I’ve learned so much from working alongside both Scott and Dario (driving coach and 4-time IndyCar champ Dario Franchitti) and the opportunity to draw upon their wealth of combined experience – and I’m a stronger driver for that.”

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Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.