Ganassi team sues Palou | RACER

Chip Ganassi Racing has filed a civil lawsuit against its reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou. While facing litigation from CGR, Palou is expected to drive this weekend at the Indianapolis Grand Prix and the four remaining races that follow.

Filed in Marion County, Indiana, the case of “Chip Ganassi Racing, LLC v. Alex Palou Montalbo, ALPA Racing, SL” is sealed and does not reveal the specific items Palou is being sued for by CGR, but attachments in the filings do point to the Tweets and/or press releases from McLaren Racing and Palou where they announced his signing to drive for McLaren Racing in 2023 on the same day CGR announced it had signed Palou and retains the exclusive rights to his services in 2023.

Reached for comment by RACER, a team spokesperson supplied the following statement:

“Alex Palou is under contract with Chip Ganassi Racing through the end of the 2023 season. He is a valued member of our team, and we will continue to support him in chasing wins, podiums, and IndyCar championships. As the result of a competing racing team improperly attempting to contract with him notwithstanding the clear terms of our contract, we are proceeding to legal process pursuant to the contract.”

As explored in a recent RACER article, the dynamic of team suing its driver during an active racing season where both parties continue to work together is all but unprecedented in professional motor racing. If Palou were to step out of the No. 10 CGR Honda prior to this weekend’s race, the team has 2012 IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay under contract as its reserve driver.

Among the motions filed this week, one asks for swift handling of the matter and cites the type of recourse being sought: “Plaintiff Chip Ganassi Racing, LLC, by counsel, respectfully requests a prompt hearing on its Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Plaintiff estimates two hours would be sufficient for the hearing, and requests that it be set before the end of August.”

The team’s lawyers filed an emergency motion for expedited discovery, which states: “In this action in which Plaintiff Chip Ganassi Racing, LLC, seeks preliminary injunctive relief against its under-contract driver, Ganassi seeks expedited discovery to prepare for a prompt preliminary injunction hearing. Discovery is necessary to prepare for the preliminary injunction hearing, and Ganassi files this motion seeking permission to formally serve interrogatories, document requests, and requests for admission upon Defendants, respectively; a deposition notice upon Palou; and non-party document requests upon McLaren Indy, LLC, and McLaren Racing.

“Ganassi has filed its Verified Complaint, with courtesy service on Defendants’ designated counsel, and Ganassi is making service upon Palou, individually, and his related entity, ALPA Racing, SL, by service on them directly and again via their designated counsel. Ganassi seeks to obtain basic written discovery from Defendants on an expedited basis, immediately take the depositions of Individual Defendant Palou and designated representatives of ALPA, take necessary third-party discovery, and proceed to a preliminary injunction hearing.

“To expedite this action, Ganassi requests that Defendants be ordered to respond to Ganassi’s discovery requests completely and without evasion within 14 days from service. Ganassi requests that third-party discovery be expedited such that the third-party discovery waiting period of Trial Rule 34(C)(2) be waived, and with responses also due within 14 days.”

With media activities set to begin at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday, the team and its drivers are not expected to comment on the lawsuit, with the closing sentence in the statement reading: “Any and all inquiries on the matter will be handled by our legal counsel.”

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