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Chip Ganassi Racing adds Alex Palou in expanding to four cars again next season

IndyCar Alex Palou Ganassi

Alex Palou will join Chip Ganassi Racing next season in the NTT IndyCar Series as the team expands back to four cars.

Driving the No. 10 Dallara-Honda, Palou will replace Felix Rosenqvist, who was announced Thursday as joining Arrow McLaren SP. Palou will be teamed with six-time series champion Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson (who will return in a multiyear deal) and seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, who will run 13 street and road courses in 2021.

In announcing Johnson’s sponsor last weekend, team owner Chip Ganassi said his No. 48 car will be filled for the remaining four oval races. The 2021 season will mark the first time in four years that Ganassi has fielded four cars on a regular basis in IndyCar.

A veteran of several open-wheel road racing series, Palou, 23, never raced on ovals before joining Dale Coyne Racing this season. As a full-time rookie in IndyCar, the Spaniard finished a career-best third at Road America and qualified seventh for his Indianapolis 500 debut while finishing 16th in the points standings.

“To say I’m thrilled or excited to be making this step in my career would be an understatement,” Palou said in a release. ‘Driving for Chip Ganassi 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, reaching 50 wins and a sixth title, so you absolutely couldn’t ask for anything more in a teammate. I can’t wait to work with Marcus and Jimmie as well, and to start contributing to the team and getting to spend more time with everyone.”

Said Ganassi managing director Mike Hull: “I love to watch the growth of young drivers. This year racing Indy cars has been very difficult for young drivers like Alex who hadn’t had the opportunity to visually see the tracks in advance, nor have days of practice in private team testing, or open testing or three-day weekends. Putting that into perspective, he did a heck of a job. We had an opening, and he became available, and Chip has a great eye for talent. Alex has that spark, that intangible thing you combine with talent that is a lot of fun.

“It’s a great exploration thing, actually. You’re exploring how far you can go, and he has one year of experience with a quality team, quality engineering and a quality teammate. He stood up to that test extremely well.”