IndyCar: Championship-winning sponsor linked to new team

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing, DHL, IndyCar (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing, DHL, IndyCar (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

After leaving Andretti Autosport, DHL is rumored to make the move to Chip Ganassi Racing as the primary sponsor of reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou in 2024.

DHL recently made the long-rumored announcement that they will not return for a 14th year as a primary sponsor at Andretti Autosport for the 2024 IndyCar season.

They joined the team in 2011 when Ryan Hunter-Reay switched from the No. 37 to the No. 28, and they have remained with the organization ever since, even after Hunter-Reay was replaced by Romain Grosjean following the 2021 season.

DHL, which confirmed their departure from Michael Andretti’s newly rebranded Andretti Global team just after the 2023 season ended two weeks ago at Laguna Seca, did not confirm any future IndyCar plans.

Having said that, they mentioned the fact that they “look forward to ongoing presence in sports sponsorships within the United States for 2024 and beyond”, and they had previously been rumored to switch teams, having never confirmed a full exit from the sport.

Their new team is likely to be Chip Ganassi Racing, according to RACER’s Marshall Pruett, and they are likely to sponsor the No. 10 Honda of two-time and reigning champion Alex Palou.

For a sponsor eager to get back to their winning ways in IndyCar, the move makes sense.

Palou brought new life to a No. 10 team that had just three wins in the nine seasons before his arrival, winning three races in his championship-winning 2021 campaign as a first-year Chip Ganassi Racing driver.

Despite not winning the 2022 title in a year littered with contract-related drama, he still managed to record the most dominant victory in decades, and in 2023, he added the series’ first five-win championship season since 2016 in 2023 — and the series’ first 17-race season without a finish lower than eighth place since 1922 (yes, 101 years ago).

Now he could have the opportunity to breathe new life into a championship-winning sponsor that has not seen victory lane as a primary sponsor since 2018.

DHL have just two wins as a primary sponsor since the end of the 2015 season, both in 2018 with Hunter-Reay. This move would put them in position to get back to victory lane on a regular basis after having not reached the top step of the podium for more than five years.

During their 13 seasons as a primary sponsor at Andretti Autosport, DHL won 14 races, all with Ryan Hunter-Reay from 2011 to 2021. Their highlights were Hunter-Reay’s four-win championship-winning season in 2012 and his historic Indy 500 victory over Helio Castroneves in 2014 following one of the greatest battles the speedway has ever seen.

If DHL indeed sign with Chip Ganassi Racing as Palou’s full-time sponsor, the move would all but solidify the team’s 2024 sponsor lineup, even with the addition of a fifth car for rookie development driver Kyffin Simpson.

Next. All-time IndyCar wins list. dark

American Legion would likely move from the No. 10 Honda to the No. 8 Honda, sponsoring rookie Marcus Ericsson replacement Linus Lundqvist, PNC Bank is set to return as the sponsor of Scott Dixon’s No. 9 Honda, and Ridgeline Lubricants is set to sponsor Simpson’s entry and also Marcus Armstrong’s No. 11 Honda in most races.