2023 INDYCAR Preview: Chip Ganassi Racing

By: Spencer Neff
February 14, 2023

Although Chip Ganassi Racing was unable to end the season with one of its drivers hoisting the Astor Cup, the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES campaign saw its share of milestones within the organization.

Chief among those were Marcus Ericsson earning CGR its first Indianapolis 500 win since 2012. All five entries led during the race for a total of 165 laps, the most by one team since 2006 (also Ganassi).

2021 Series Champions Alex Palou capped off the year with a dominant win at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. With Palou and Ericsson’s wins to go along with Scott Dixon’s two victories, three drivers reached victory lane at least once during the season.

(left to right) CGR’s Alex Palou, Jimmie Johnson, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Marcus Ericsson pose for pictures after Pole Day. All five drivers started in the Top 12 and led during the Indianapolis 500 (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

It is the second consecutive year they have accomplished that and only the third season in their 33-year history (2002) they gave done so.

With 2022 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge Rookie of the Year Jimmie Johnson stepping away from a full-time ride and Tony Kanaan opting to run with Arrow McLaren for the “500”, the team will have a bit of a different look in 2023.

Scott Dixon

In his 21st season at CGR and 22nd racing IndyCar, Scott Dixon continued to rewrite the record books. In May, the Australia-born New Zealander earned a fifth career pole for the Indianapolis 500 after a pole position record average of 234.046 mph during his four-lap run.

Dixon became just the 11th driver to win consecutive poles in 106 runnings. During the race, he led 95 laps and became the all-time lap leader (665) over Al Unser and Ralph DePalma.

With less than 25 laps to go, Dixon was given a drive-thru penalty after a pit speed violation and finished 21st.

Later in the year, Dixon notched victories on the street circuits of Toronto and Nashville, moving past Mario Andretti for second all-time with 53 wins. Ultimately, Dixon ended the season third in points, his sixth Top Five points finish in as many years.

The No. 9 crew and Scott Dixon celebrate their win at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on the Nashville street circuit, moving Dixon to second all-time with 53 wins (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

The driver of the No. 9 will look for his second Indianapolis 500 victory 15 years after his first one. He could become the first driver with three consecutive pole positions.

For Dixon, the end goal will still be a record-tying seventh championship, a feat only A.J. Foyt has accomplished.

Alex Palou

Following a breakout sophomore campaign that saw his first season at Ganassi end with three race victories and a championship, Alex Palou looked to continue his spectacular rise to stardom.

During the summer, a contract dispute between he and Ganassi became public and was a major topic of conversation during the season.

Palou climbs from his car after winning the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey (Travis Hinkle/INDYCAR)

Although the Barcelona, Spain native did not earn. a second championship, he earned his fourth career victory to cap off the season. Days later, Palou and the team announced he would return for 2023. After, he is expected to move on to the McLaren team.

In the face of distractions, Palou remain composed and delivered a dominating victory to end 2022. With his departure looming, the driver of the No. 10 will look to cap off his time at CGR on a high note.

Marcus Ericsson

Among the star-powered lineup Chip Ganassi Racing employed for the 2022 Indianapolis 500, fourth-year driver Marcus Ericsson may not have been the most heralded driver.

However, the Swede put the paddock and racing world on notice as he excelled on a late-race restart and earned the biggest of his three IndyCar victories.

Ericsson led on three separate occasions for a total of 13 laps (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

By season’s end, the No. 8 had earned a second-place finish at Road America and matched his 2021 effort of sixth in the final points standings.

Ericsson and his team have proved they possess the consistency needed to be weekly contenders. If they can reach the podium and Victory Lane a few more times, a shot at the championship is within reach.

Marcus Armstrong/Takuma Sato

With Johnson moving on from the team and CGR not currently expected to field a fifth entry at the Indianapolis 500, the door opened for the fourth car.

The renumbered No. 11 will be shared by rookie Marcus Armstrong (road and street courses) and Takuma Sato (ovals).

Armstrong will make his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut at St. Petersburg on March 5 (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Armstrong was quickest of the rookie class in all four sessions during the Open Test at Thermal Club.

Despite not running the full schedule, he may have a shot at Rookie of the Year. The four-time winner in Formula 2 could be the next New Zealander to launch an IndyCar career with a successful 12-race campaign in 2023.

Sato will make his team debut in the Texas 375 on April 2.

During the April 20-21 Open Test at Indianapolis, the 2017 and 2020 race winner will renew his quest for a third victory in the event.

Sato joins his third different team in as many years and the sixth of his 14-year career in the series (James Black/INDYCAR)

His “No Attack, No Chance” style provides a stark contrast to the calm and calculated styles often employed by his three veteran teammates.

Seeing how these four mesh during the five oval events, particular the “500”, will be a major storyline.

Header Image By Walt Kuhn/INDYCAR

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