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Chip Ganassi Racing expands to three cars with addition of Marcus Ericsson

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Chip Ganassi Racing will become “Team Sweden” next season in the NTT IndyCar Series season as both drivers from the Scandinavian country will be part of a three-car IndyCar team in 2020. Marcus Ericsson, who showed flashes of promise as a rookie at Arrow Schmidt Peterson this past season, joins fellow Swedish driver and 2019 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Felix Rosenqvist at team owner chip Ganassi’s team.

Five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winning driver Scott Dixon of New Zealand is the lead driver on that team with 46 career victories, third on the all-time list.

Ericsson, 29, is a former Formula One driver with 97 career F1 starts in his career before coming to IndyCar last season. He will drive the team’s third car, the No. 8 Honda.

“First of all, I’m extremely happy and proud to get the opportunity to join Chip Ganassi Racing. It’s a team of winners and their history speaks for itself,” Ericsson said. “I’m very thankful that they believe in me and I will do everything I can to make 2020 another successful year for the team. I’m also very excited to work with two of the best drivers in the series in Scott and Felix. I’m looking forward to putting what I’ve learned this year to use in my second year in the NTT IndyCar Series.”

Ericsson had a one-year contract with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. That team is in the midst of a merger with McLaren to become Arrow McLaren Racing SP and indicated that Ericsson would not be part of the team’s lineup in 2020.

Team owner Chip Ganassi saw promise in the driver from Kumla, Sweden and decided to expand to a third entry in order to utilize his team and crew from the Ford GT sports car program that will conclude at the end of this season.

 “I think Marcus brings a lot of unique experience with him having competed in several championships around the world,” Ganassi said. “When you have someone with that type of background, it gives him other points of reference that helps his ability to develop and add to the overall racing program. We’re looking forward to seeing what Marcus can do alongside Scott and Felix.”

In his rookie year in the NTT IndyCar Series, Ericsson scored his first-ever podium with a career-best finish of second in Detroit. He also had six laps led on the season and completed 88.5 percent of the laps run.

Prior to his rookie season in INDYCAR in 2019, Ericsson most recently completed his fifth year in Formula 1 in 2018 with a total of 97 starts. The Kumla, Sweden native is a two-time champion (Formula BMW UK, 2007; Japanese Formula Three, 2009), and has twice claimed the Swedish Junior Racer of the Year award (2007, 2009). Prior to that he competed in British Formula Three, GP2 Asia and GP2.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

Mike Tirico and Danica Patrick team up again on NBC’s Indy 500 coverage

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Mike Tirico and Danica Patrick will return to NBC Sports’ coverage of the Indianapolis 500, which will be broadcast Aug. 23 at 1 p.m. ET on NBC (green flag at 2:30 p.m.).

Tirico and Patrick, who both joined NBC Sports for its inaugural coverage of the event last year, will reprise their roles as host and studio analyst.

One of the most versatile voices in sports, Tirico also hosts NBC Olympics’ primetime coverage, Football Night in America and many other premier events, including hosting on-site at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this year for the first-ever IndyCar-NASCAR crossover weekend.

AT THE BRICKYARD: Daily Indy 500 coverage schedule on NBC, NBCSN

He again will be joined during prerace, in-race, and postrace coverage by Patrick, who became the first woman to lead the Indy 500 in 2005 and also was the first female pole-sitter in NASCAR driver.

They will make their debut together duing practice coverage on Aug. 21, on NBCSN.

“My first Indy 500 last year exceeded my very high expectations in every way,” Tirico said in a release. “Although this year’s race will take place under unprecedented circumstances, I can’t wait to get back to Indy. I’m confident that our team at the Brickyard will provide viewers with as exciting a viewing experience as possible. I am also thrilled that Danica Patrick is along for the ride again this year. We had such a great time last May and look forward to bringing Indy home for the viewers again.”

Said Patrick: “The Indianapolis 500 is an event that transcends mainstream and motorsports which is why it’s so special. We are living during a time that if we can bring people together, we should. Even if it’s not physically. I am honored to be back with the NBC Sports team and Mike Tirico. The memories I have from 15 years at IMS hold such a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to make more this year in the booth, or however we are positioned in 2020!”

This will mark NBC Sports’ second season as the exclusive home of the NTT IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500, which will take place in August for the first time ever because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.