Josef Newgarden wins shortened Detroit GP Race 1


Josef Newgarden won an accident-filled Race 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix,  which was condensed into a 75-minute timed race after severe weather delayed the start for over an hour.

Newgarden held off pole sitter Alexander Rossi over a final green-flag run of 12-and-a-half minutes to take his second victory of the season (St. Petersburg).

In a near-repeat of last week’s Indianapolis 500, a Team Penske driver led Rossi to the checkers, followed by Takuma Sato in third place.

“How about that call from Tim?,” Newgarden told NBC Sports. “It was the perfect call to get us the position that we needed.”

The call Newgarden referred to was one made by Tim Cindric, his race strategist, to pit with 44 minutes remaining in the race – just before a yellow flag came out.

With the race leaders yet to pit, Newgarden took the lead during the yellow-flag cycle of stops. It was later reported that Newgarden had not received a full fuel load during his stop, but with help from multiple late-race cautions, Newgarden had enough fuel to make it to the end.

“We really wanted this one,” Newgarden said. “I can’t tell you how hard we worked in the off-season. This whole team made sure our street course cars were ready, and they were ready today.”

Entering 2019 with a focus on getting consistent results, Newgarden has followed through with two wins, four podiums and only one finish worse than fourth (15th at IndyCar Grand Prix – Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course) through the first 7 races.

And with today’s victory, Newgarden has reclaimed the NTT IndyCar Series championship lead by 25 points over Penske teammate and new Indy 500 champion Simon Pagenaud. Newgarden tied Pagenaud earlier in the day by being the fastest driver in his qualifying group, which earned him one championship point.

Pagenaud minimized damage with a nice recovery drive on Saturday, finishing sixth after qualifying mid-pack in 13th. He’s seeking to become the first Indy 500 winner to claim a victory in Detroit the following week.

Also having good runs were rookie Felix Rosenqvist, who broke a rough stretch by finishing fourth, and Ryan Hunter-Reay, who finished fifth to collect his third Top-5 so far this season.

On the flip side, two of IndyCar’s biggest names had costly setbacks.

Will Power climbed from 12th at the start into the Top-5, but on his stop with 40 minutes to go, the right front tire on his Chevrolet was not tightened enough. Moments later, Power lost the tire at pit exit. A subsequent drive-thru penalty for equipment out of the pit box and an unsafe release added further insult for the Australian, who finished 18th.

Then, with 31 minutes to go, it was Scott Dixon’s turn for trouble. After taking a restart in third, the defending series champion appeared to clip the inside wall in Turn 6 before stuffing his Honda into the tire barriers. It marked his first DNF since the 2017 race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Live coverage of Race 2 from Detroit begins with qualifying tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN, followed by the main event at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC. The forecast for tomorrow looks much better with clear skies and temperatures in the 60s expected come race time.

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

Chip Ganassi American Legion
David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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 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.”