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Formula 1 Veteran Romain Grosjean Joins Dale Coyne Racing with RWR for 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Season

Plainfield, IL (Wednesday, February 3, 2021) – A veteran of 180 Formula 1 starts, Romain Grosjean, is turning to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for 2021, as he embarks on the next chapter of his racing career with Dale Coyne Racing with RWR.

The team is elated to announce that the former Haas F1 driver will be behind the wheel of the #51 Dale Coyne Racing with RWR full-time entry for all the road and street courses in 2021, with the oval races yet to be determined. 

Following a nine-year Formula 1 career, which ended with the world watching as he escaped a fiery crash in the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix in late November, Grosjean was presented with different opportunities as he mulled over his next career move. Ultimately, the Frenchman decided that the highly competitive NTT INDYCAR SERIES was the place to be.

“I’m very excited for this opportunity to race in the United States in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES,” expressed the 34-year-old Grosjean. “I had different options in front of me for this coming season and choosing to go IndyCar Racing was definitively my favorite one. Although, I’m not ready yet to take on the ovals! IndyCar has a much more level playing field than what I have been used to in my career so far. It will be exciting to challenge for podiums and wins again.  My left hand is still healing, but we are just about ready to get back into the race car and to start this next chapter of my career.”

Early on in his career, Grosjean picked up seven junior championships which included winning the GP2 series in 2011 by 35 points. He spent the first four years of his Formula 1 career with Lotus where he finished a career best seventh in the 2013 Championship. He then moved to the Haas F1 team in 2016 where he spent the last five seasons. Grosjean scored 10 podium finishes over the course of his F1 career which included two second place podium finishes, both captured on North American soil.

“We’ve been talking to Romain for some time now, even before his accident at Bahrain,” commented Team Owner Dale Coyne. “He has shown interest in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for the past several months and we’re very happy that he has chosen to pursue his career with us and excited to welcome a driver with his pedigree to America, the Series and our team. We feel that he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the Series.”

Dale Coyne Racing with RWR co-entrant Rick Ware said: “We’re thrilled to be entering our first full season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing with Dale Coyne Racing, and to have a driver of the caliber of Romain Grosjean to run the street and road courses makes it that much more exciting for us. We’re looking forward to this season.”

The Frenchman will have 2017 IndyCar Rookie of the Year, Ed Jones, as his teammate in the team’s #18 Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan entry which was announced last week. Both drivers will begin testing later this month at Barber Motorsports Park on February 22nd.

The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season gets underway on April 18, 2021 at Barber Motorsports Park.

Dale Coyne Racing Welcomes Rick Ware Racing with 2021 Effort

Plainfield, Illinois & Mooresville, North Carolina (Friday, January 29, 2021) – Dale Coyne Racing announced today that it is entering into a collaboration with Rick Ware Racing for its No. 51 and No. 52 entries for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

The team, which will run under the Dale Coyne Racing with RWR banner, will field the No. 51 car (previously the No.19 and No. 55 cars) as a full season entry alongside its sister No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan entry.

The team further plans to run the No. 52 car at the Indianapolis 500 as a third entry under the DCR stable. Additionally, the No. 52 car is set to do a selection of other races that are yet to be determined.  

“We were introduced to Rick Ware at last year’s Indy 500 where he ran James Davison in our third entry,” reported Dale Coyne. “It was interesting to see how similar his efforts in NASCAR Cup and IMSA were to ours.  We have talked ever since that event and we are excited to welcome Rick Ware Racing into our family at DCR.”

The primary sponsor of the No. 51 car will be announced in the coming month with the driver of that season-long entry expected to be announced next week.

“I met Dale last year through our Indy efforts with David Byrd and struck up a friendship with him and his team,” commented Rick Ware.  “I have thought a long time about expanding into IndyCar from our efforts in NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and IMSA, so this collaboration, was an easy and logical step.  We look forward to a competitive 2021 and beyond together.”

Dale Coyne Racing enters its 38th year of competing in American open-wheel racing. Team Owner Dale Coyne, a Midwestern entrepreneur who designed and built Route 66 Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL, is known for taking on young drivers and mentoring them in the early stages of their careers. The team has claimed multiple victories, most notably, winning back-back races at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the past few years.

Rick Ware, a former driver himself and owner of Rick Ware Racing, made his NASCAR Cup Series debut in 1990 and spent the next decade racing in series such as ARCA and the Busch Series (now known as Xfinity Series) before turning to full time team owner duties. Rick Ware Racing (RWR) currently fields four charters in the NASCAR Cup Series; No. 15, 51, 52 and 53. Located in Mooresville, North Carolina, RWR has competed within NASCAR’s top touring series since 2000. Over the past 20 years, RWR has competed in the Super Trofeo Series, IMSA, Asian Le Mans Series, ARCA and several other smaller series.

Palou has Strong Run in St. Petersburg to End His Rookie Season

#55 Alex Palou, Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda

St. Petersburg, FL (October 25, 2020) – Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver Alex Palou’s rookie season came to end on Sunday with a strong run in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in which he placed himself 13th after running in the lead pack.

Starting 16th, Palou fell to 19th at the start of the 100-lap race but had made it back up to 15th by the time he entered pit lane for his first stop of the day on Lap 28. Then, with a full course caution less than 10 laps later, Palou and his #55 Guaranteed Rate team opted for a different strategy and pit again on Lap 38. 

With multiple full course cautions over the next 15 laps, and finding himself at the back of the field, Palou headed down pit lane twice. Once for fuel only on Lap 46 and again on Lap 51 for fuel and a fresh set of Firestone Alternate tires.

Palou found himself in 16th place when the race resumed on Lap 53 and steadily moved up as other cars pitted. By the time another full course caution came out on Lap 70, Palou was up to third. The rookie then moved into second place on the Lap 75 restart before another full course caution. 

The Spaniard then went for the lead on the Lap 80 restart, taking over first place before getting passed by eventual race winner Josef Newgarden.  

Following another full course caution, Palou was running fifth at the restart, where he remained until having to make one final pit stop for fuel on Lap 94. The Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver would go on to take the checkered flag in 13th. 

“We didn’t have a good start because I made a mistake staying in our fuel saving map, so that sent us back a few spots. It’s so difficult to overtake here so as soon as the yellow came out, we gambled a bit with our strategy. At the end of the day it didn’t work out, but it was the right thing to do, I think we needed another yellow to be able to finish in the top five with our Guaranteed Rate Honda. We did the best we could today. I’m sad that it’s the end of the season,” shared Palou. “Looking back, there were some good moments and some not so good moments. I think it was a tough season in general with the limited practice to learn the tracks and understand the car, but it was a great learning experience that will hopefully help for the future.”

Palou ended up second in the Rookie of the Year standings and 16th in the overall Championship points.

Team Owner Dale Coyne shared his thoughts on the season for both Palou and Santino Ferrucci (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan): “It’s been a good year for the team. I think both of our drivers have increased their stock. For Alex (Palou) it was tough this year coming here with no testing, not knowing any of these tracks, no extra rookie days and short weekend schedules. It was very tough for him. As for Santino (Ferrucci), he continued to impress, so we’re happy with both guys and the job they did this year.”

The Dale Coyne Racing team now looks forward to start working on the 2021 season.

Eighth Row Start for Palou in St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, FL (October 24, 2020) – Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver Alex Palou took part in his first street course qualifying aboard his #55 Guaranteed Rate Honda Indy car on Saturday, placing himself 16th on the starting grid of Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Palou who was also taking part in his first three round qualifying format, took to the track in Group 2 of Round 1.  The rookie registered a fastest lap of 1:01.1630 on his eighth lap around the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course, which initially placed him fourth.

However, a local yellow on what would be his final lap meant he was unable to improve his lap time and with a red flag also ending the session early, moving on to the next round wasn’t meant to be for the rookie who ended up eighth in his group, 16th overall.

However, there was a glimmer of hope when IndyCar initially reviewed the results of the session showing the rookie in sixth place. Despite Palou and his team being ready to go, a final review placed him back into 16th overall on the starting grid.

“Practice this morning went really well but I think our result (3rd) was maybe a bit better than the actual pace of our Guaranteed Rate Honda. Qualifying was difficult because we didn’t really get the ultimate lap because of traffic and then the red flag at the end,” said Palou. “We were missing I think a tenth from making it into the next round. I’m a bit upset about that but we should be fine for the race tomorrow. The car is better than where we are starting and hopefully, we can finish in the top 10 again. I really like the St. Petersburg street course, it’s different from what I’m most used to and with limited practice time it makes it tough to learn the track and see the limits, but it’s been fun so far.”

The final round of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season will be preceded by a 30-minute warm-up at 10:40am ET on Sunday, October 25 with the green flag for the 14th race of the year scheduled for 2:32pm ET. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast live on NBC from 2:30pm ET.

Palou Ready to Make NTT IndyCar Series Street Course Debut at Season Finale in St. Petersburg

#55: Alex Palou, Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda
Plainfield, IL (October 21, 2020) – Seven months later than initially thought, Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver Alex Palou will finally be able to turn his first laps at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, officially making his NTT IndyCar Series street course debut.

Prior to the start of his North American racing career, the rookie thought he would be making his official Series debut on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course in St. Petersburg, but, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event that was meant to kick off the 2020 season, will now be the final race on this year’s schedule. 

Palou is coming off a top ten finish at the Harvest GP a few weeks ago and is looking to end his rookie season on a high note. So far in 13 starts, the driver of the #55 Guaranteed Rate car has a best finish of third (Road America Race 1) as well as a best starting position of third (Road America Race 2).

While this will be Palou’s first NTT IndyCar Series race on a street course, the Spaniard has some experience racing on street circuits having competed at Norising (Nuremburg, Germany), Pau (Southwestern France) and Macau (China).

“I’m super excited to be heading back to St. Petersburg this weekend and to finally get to race there seven months later! It’s great that we can go back to close out the season and that we’ll be able to do it in front of fans as well,” expressed Palou. “This will be my first street course in an Indy car. It’s kind of crazy to think that it’s my last race of the season but my first street course. It’s going to be challenging, as always, with only one practice, but we’ll do our best. Hopefully we can finish the season on a high. Our results have been improving, and we’ve been more consistent, which we needed. We’re aiming for another top 10, it won’t be easy, but we’ll go for it and maybe even do better than our goal.”

With only one IndyCar race scheduled for this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Palou will get one 90-minute practice session on Saturday, October 24 at 10:55am ET, followed by the return of three round Fast Six qualifying at 3:05pm ET. Both sessions will be streamed live on the NBC Sports Gold App with qualifying also broadcast on a tape delay on NBCSN from 8pm to 9pm ET.

The final round of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season will be preceded by a 30-minute warm-up at 10:40am ET on Sunday, October 25 with the green flag for the 14th race of the year scheduled for 2:32pm ET. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast live on NBC from 2:30pm ET.

Palou in Race 2 of Harvest GP

#55: Alex Palou, Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda
Indianapolis, IN (October 3, 2020) – Rookie Alex Palou reached his target of finishing in the top 10 in Race 2 of the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR on Saturday crossing the finish line aboard his #55 Guaranteed Rate, Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda in ninth place.

Palou improved his starting position for Race 2 by qualifying fourth earlier in the day with the rookie missing out on a front row start by a mere 0.0567 seconds.

The Spaniard lost one position at the start of the 75-lap event, falling to fifth. He remained in that position for the majority of his stint and entered pit lane in sixth for his first stop on Lap 25.

By the midway point of what ended up being a fuel strategy race, Palou was running ninth. While the rookie kept Simon Pagenaud at bay with a more than 10 second gap in his final stint, he was unable to catch Championship leader Scott Dixon despite running lap times as fast and even better at times. 

“It was a good day with the #55 Guaranteed Rate Honda. Qualifying went well this morning. We improved a lot from yesterday. We did a risky strategy of doing two sets of Firestone reds and it paid off. Our target for the race was to finish in the Top 10 and we did,” said Palou. “It was the first time for me doing a fuel strategy race like this and it worked out so I’m happy. This is where I think we belong in the top 10 so hopefully we can finish out the season with another good result in a few weeks.”

Next up for the Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh squad will be the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the final race of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, on October 25.

Race 1 of Harvest GP Race Report for Alex Palou

#55: Alex Palou, Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda
Indianapolis, IN (October 2, 2020) – Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver Alex Palou’s first race of the doubleheader INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR didn’t go as he had hoped when an early penalty cost him a chance at a better finish. Palou crossed the finish line in 17th.

Starting from 17th, the rookie moved up a few positions at the start of the 85-lap event. Palou then continued to make his way up the charts having opted for a longer first stint than most of his competitors. 

The driver of the #55 Guaranteed Rate Honda entered pit lane at the end of Lap 22 having just taken over the lead thanks to his pit stop strategy. However, the Spaniard received a drive through penalty for a pit exit violation and found himself in 25th place after having served his penalty.

Despite registering the fifth fastest race lap (1:10.9775) and gaining positions throughout the remainder of the race, Palou was only able to make it as high as 17th by the time he took the checkered flag.

“I made a mistake leaving pit lane after my first stop so that set us back and pretty much cost us our race. There’s not much more to say,” expressed Palou. “It’s a shame because our #55 Guaranteed Rate car was good, quite competitive. We discovered what our issue was yesterday in qualifying so hopefully we can have a better qualifying run tomorrow and that we can start further up for Race 2 and give ourselves a better chance.”

Round 13 of 14 of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season will go green Saturday, October 3 at 2:31pm and will be broadcast live on NBC from 2:30pm ET. Qualifying for Race 2 of the Harvest GP will take place at 10:20am earlier that day.

Alex Palou to Start from Ninth Row for Race 1 of Harvest GP

#55: Alex Palou, Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda

Indianapolis, IN (October 1, 2020) – Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh rookie Alex Palou will start Race 1 of the Harvest GP presented by GMR from the ninth row after qualifying 17th in Thursday evening’s 10-minute qualifying session.

After leading practice earlier in the day, the rookie was looking forward to getting back on track for qualifying. The driver of the #55 Guaranteed Rate car spent the first part of the session in the top four of his group, however, after switching to the alternate Firestone tire, he was unable to move up the time charts and found himself ninth in his group despite registering a fastest lap of 1:10.0323.

“The #55 Guaranteed Rate Honda was really strong in practice earlier today, so I was optimistic heading into qualifying this evening. So, I’m disappointed with our qualifying result, there’s not much to say. The car felt okay but the speed wasn’t there. The engineers are looking into it. I’m confident we’ll come back strong on the race tomorrow,” shared Palou.

Round 12 of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series will go green at 4pm ET on Friday, October 2. The 85-lap race will be broadcast live on the USA network.

The penultimate round of the 2020 season, will be broadcast live on NBC from 2:30pm ET on Saturday, October 3 with qualifying scheduled for 10:20am earlier that day.

Palou Registers Fastest Race Lap in Race 2 at Gateway, Finishes 12th

Madison, IL (August 30, 2020) – Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver Alex Palou’s #55 Guaranteed Rate Honda was the quickest car on track, but in a race where passing was extremely limited, the rookie had to settle with a 12th place finish in Race 2 at World Wide Technology Raceway on Sunday.

#55: Alex Palou, Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda

Starting 14th, Palou lost a couple of positions at the start but managed to gain one spot back to move into 15th place. With passing being very difficult for everyone on track, the Spaniard held his position for the majority of his first stint. 

Once all cars on track had completed their first pit stops, Palou had moved into 14th, where once again he would remain until his second stop on Lap 92.

Shortly after completing his third and final pit stop that allowed him to gain a couple more spots, Palou registered the fastest race lap on Lap 147 with a time of 25.69 seconds around the 1.25-mile oval. Despite his speed, the rookie would take the checkered flag in 12th position.

“That was an uneventful race. It was super difficult to pass. I think the only passing that happened was at the start and with the pit strategy where we gained four or five positions. It was easy to follow other cars but just very hard to get a run on them, and that was the same for everyone on track. It ended up being about strategy and trying to make that work in our favor. It’s a shame because we had a really fast car, we had the fastest race lap and that shows how good our #55 Guaranteed Rate car is. I felt really comfortable with the car, it’s too bad we couldn’t finish any higher,” shared Palou.

Early Penalty Costly for Palou in Race 1 at Gateway

#55: Alex Palou, Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda

Madison, IL (August 29, 2020) – Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh driver Alex Palou’s race got off to a bad start at World Wide Technology Raceway after a questionable penalty sent him to the back of the field at the start. The rookie went on to cross the finish line in 15th place aboard his #55 Guaranteed Rate Honda.

Palou, who qualified 11th earlier in the day, was heading down the front stretch for the start of the race when cars in front of him slowed down as they waited for the green flag to fly. In order to avoid contact with the car in front of him, Palou jumped out of line and made it through unharmed while others spun behind him. However, the rookie would end up being penalized for getting out of formation before taking the green flag, even if it was to avoid contact.

The penalty meant that Palou had to take the Lap 14 restart from 18th. The driver of the #55 Guaranteed Rate Honda made it back up to 11th before his first pit stop on Lap 63 but continued on in 15th once stops had cycled through.

Palou climbed into the top 10 on Lap 102 a few laps before a caution for very light rain falling on the raceway. However, the rookie fell back to 13th when the race resumed on Lap 122. 

In the later part of the race, the Spaniard stayed out as long as possible before making his final stop, in the hopes a caution would play in his favor, but it wasn’t meant to be, and Palou ended the race in 15th. 

“The race didn’t start off like we wanted. I tried to avoid hitting the car in front of me as we were coming to take the green flag. They checked up in front of me and I pulled out of line to avoid contact, but I still got penalized for pulling out of line before the green. Because of that we got sent to the back and started last. From there, we just tried to make our way back up. We were a bit lucky with the yellow and made it back to the top 10. However, on the last restart I lost some places. We tried to go long before our last pit stop, hoping that a caution would come out, but it didn’t go our way. Tomorrow we have another race and the #55 Guaranteed Rate car is really strong so I’m looking forward to it,” said Palou.

Palou will be starting Race 2 at World Wide Technology Raceway from the 14th place on the grid. The second part of the doubleheader weekend  goes green at 2:45pm local time (3:45pm ET) and will be broadcast live on NBCSN.

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