Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta in the No.26 Gainbridge Honda led all but two laps on his way to his second victory at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday in the penultimate race of the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.
Herta who started the race from pole took victory despite an early clash with his teammate Alexander Rossi in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda and came home just ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s championship leader or now champion elect Alex Palou in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda who will now have his three Chip Ganassi Racing teammates to back him up next weekend in the championship deciding Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach after both Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson were eliminated from the championship battle.
It was a fantastic race for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing’s Romain Grosjean who came through the field from 13th on the grid to finish the race on the podium in third place. It is expected that Andretti Autosport will confirm the Frenchman next week as Ryan Hunter Reay’s replacement in the No.28 DHL Honda for a full-time drive.
Graham Rahal in the No.15 United Rentals Honda was left frustrated with Felix Rosenqvist who he thought cost him a shot at the win today as he came home in fourth place on a great day for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing as Oliver Askew came home in ninth place in the No.45 HyVee Honda.
Pato O’Ward came home in fifth place just ahead of Marcus Ericsson and Josef Newgarden who is still mathematically in the challenge for the championship.
Simon Pagenaud came home in eighth place just ahead of Oliver Askew while Ed Jones rounded out the top ten. Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda came home in 11th just ahead of six-time champion Scott Dixon who had a disastrous day coming home in 12th as a result of the collision with Takuma Sato. Dixon was on the back foot from then on and will have to wait until 2022 to try to claim his seventh championship.
Dixon’s focus is now to help his teammate Alex Palou to win the championship. Scott McLaughlin in the No.3 PPG Chevrolet was 13th just ahead of Sebastien Bourdais and Jack Harvey of Meyer Shank Racing.
Conor Daly came home in 16th place just ahead of Jimmie Johnson and Rinus VeeKay while Felix Rosenqvist came home in 19th place. James Hinchcliffe rounded out the top twenty. Max Chilton was 21st just ahead of Callum Illott and Dalton Kellett and Helio Castroneves.
Alexander Rossi was 25th just ahead of Will Power and Takuma Sato who went out of the race.