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Ganassi says Alex Palou will return for 2023, but IndyCar champion disputes the report

Alex Palou Ganassi 2023

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: NTT IndyCar Series driver Alex Palou participates in driver introductions prior to the start of the 2022 Acura Grand Prix Of Long Beach on April 10, 2022 in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)

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Chip Ganassi Racing said in a Tuesday afternoon release that Alex Palou would return in 2023, but the defending IndyCar Series champion later disputed the report and said he would leave Ganassi.

Ganassi said it would exercise a contract option to extend Palou through next season.

“Alex’s track record speaks for itself,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in the release. “He’s a proven champion and one of the most formidable drivers in the world. We are very excited to continue working together.”

The release also included a quote from Palou, which he denied approving. In a series of tweets Tuesday night, Palou said he had informed the team he is leaving for personal reasons.

“I have recently learned from the media that this afternoon, without my approval, Chip Ganassi Racing issued a press release announcing I would be driving with CGR in 2023,” Palou tweeted. “Even more surprising was that CGR’s release included a ‘quote’ which did not come from me. I did not approve that press release, and I did not author or approve that quote. As I have recently informed CGR, for personal reasons, I do not intend to continue with the team after 2022.

“This evening’s unfortunate events aside, I have great respect for the CGR team, and look forward to finishing this season strongly together.”

Shortly after Palou’s tweets, McLaren Racing announced that Palou would join the organization next season (without specifying in which series).

A Chip Ganassi Racing spokesman reiterated Tuesday night to NBC Sports that “we can confirm that Alex Palou is under contract with the team through 2023.”

After capturing Ganassi’s 14th IndyCar title last year and becoming the series’ first Spanish champion, Palou, 25, is ranked fourth in the 2022 points standings with four podiums through nine races.

The third-year driver remains winless this year after scoring three victories last season at Portland, Road America and Barber Motorsports Park (where he won the 2021 opener, marking his first trip to victory lane in IndyCar).

Palou joined Ganassi last year in the No. 10 Dallara-Honda after a rookie season at Dale Coyne Racing.

Palou will race on the streets of Toronto this Sunday for the first time as IndyCar returns to Canada for the first time since 2019.