Grand Prix Of Monterey: An Excellent IndyCar Season Finale

By Peter Nelson

September 24, 2019

Photo: 33DreamsOfIndy.com

This past Sunday’s IndyCar Fireston Grand Prix of Monterey fulfilled the anticipation as being the series’ triumphant return to the iconic, beautiful WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The track’s length and layout lends itself to entertaining racing no matter what class is running, but the action is especially wild when formula cars duke it out.

Some aspects of the race that proved this point: drivers going three-wide into the Corkscrew, some excellent over-and-unders pulled off (or denied) at T2, T3, and T11 (with some wild exits at T11 as well), a lot of mild contact, drivers gaining some nice real estate through T4 and T5 if they were able to pull off T2 and T3, and much more.

While Herta and Power in P1 and P2 essentially had themselves an HPDE for the final laps, the battle between Dixon and Pagenaud for P3 was truly a nail-biter, especially after Pagenaud made his way up to the top quarter from P14.

 

Photo: Indycar.com

 

Rosenqvist drove a great race as well. Starting at P14 and finishing in 5th, he had an awesome over-and-under on Rossi near the beginning of Lap 36, among other highlights. This helped him narrowly hold onto his Rookie-of-the-Year title over Herta by just 5 points.

Herta’s victory was well-earned after leading 83 of the 90 laps, especially for a driver whose first IndyCar victory was just 6 months prior at COTA. This is one of the best rookie classes in IndyCar ever; Robin Miller makes a lot of great points about this in this article on Racer.com.

From Racer.com: “Man, these kids and new guys are tough, and they’re going to be around for a long time,” said veteran Will Power after stalking Herta through the final 15 laps in the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca series finale and winding up second. “I tried everything I could to get him, but he never made a mistake.”

 

Race winner Colton Herta. Photo: Indycar.com

 

Finally, Josef Newgarden clinched the season Championship (his 2nd in 3 years) by finishing in 8th place, and is one of only two American drivers to win multiple series crowns since 1995. While he’s got a lot to look forward to at only 28 years old, we’re betting green money that he’s on-track to becoming one of the best to ever race with Team Penske.

This was an awesome end to the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season and there could not have been a better venue to host it. Solid reasoning to ensure Laguna Seca continues as a permanent fixture of the IndyCar calendar. 15 years was way too long.

 

Check out this highlight reel on IndyCar's YouTube channel: