Alex Palou

IndyCar: Palou out duels Herta to win Firestone GP of Monterey

Surviving three late caution flag restarts, Ganassi Honda driver Alex Palou held on to the lead and crossed the finish line first, to win the Firestone GP of Monterey IndyCar race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

It was Palou’s second win here. He jumped to a 23-point lead in the series standings over Will Power, who finished seventh in the No. 12 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet. Power led Palou by five points entering this race, the eighth of 17 on the 2024 schedule.

“Yeah, it was a really tough race. Lots of up and downs. It went down on the first corner when I made a mistake, played it too nice, lost the lead. Then, as well, on the first pit sequence.  At the beginning of the race, I wasn’t really executing. The car was really fast. I couldn’t overtake Kyle. That kind of put us in a bad position. ”

“Yeah, I was not really happy with myself at the beginning. The team had to do a really risky strategy, too risky, in my opinion.”

“But it worked out, so I’m really happy that it worked out. Sometimes, you need a little bit of luck. It was not luck. Honestly, we just stayed out. We were obviously putting ourselves in danger in case there was a yellow. We’re just losing all the gap we’re doing against Colton at the time.”

“Yeah, glad that it worked out. I’m glad to get the last win of this era. I am glad to get this win, DHL’s last race with the pride livery. Excited for Mid-Ohio.”

 

Colton Herta                               Photo courtesy of Penske Entertainment by James Black

Colton Herta had plenty of push to pass, but did not have the speed to pass Palou at the end and finished in second place, 1.97s behind Palou.

“Yeah, it’s a good result for us today, something to build off of. Obviously it’s frustrating not to win here I think for both of us being from California and whatnot.”

“The Gainbridge Honda was fast. We showed it saved fuel fast and it could run flat out fast. Yeah, I’m happy with the podium.”

Autoracing1 asked Herta if he was waiting to pass Palou because of his fuel situation.

“I don’t think I really could. Yeah, I wasn’t fast enough on the restarts. I wasn’t as quick as him on the restarts, so I never got a good run at it.”

“Beforehand we were limiting our push to pass because of how much fuel we were having to save. At the end I was full out, I couldn’t get around him.”

 

Alexander Rossi                 Photo courtesy of Penske Entertainment by Paul Hurley

Alexander Rossi had a good day, leading for ten laps before a yellow, but had to settle for third. 2.53s behind Palou.

“I think it was a good day for the organization. I think our pace out front, pushing, was certainly better than what we could do once it kind of switched to a fuel race.”

“Nonetheless, it was a great job by the team all around to manage a difficult race with the strategy flipping back and forth. Kind of wild there with all the restarts at the end.”

“Yeah, ultimately we’ll take a lot of positives from this weekend and build on it going into Mid-Ohio where we’re starting a whole new wild, crazy, unknown era of hybrids.”

This year, the race had fewer yellow flag laps than last year’s September race on the new surface.  There were only five cautions with 14 laps today and eight cautions for 35 laps last year.

Next Race

The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the 2025 Civic Hybrid on Sunday, July 7 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. That event marks the dawn of a new era for the series, as the hybrid power unit will make its race debut 13 years after F1 implemented hybrid engines.

Race Results

Pos St No Name Laps Behind Gap Led Engine Points Team
1 1 10 Alex Palou 95 0.000s 0.000s 48 Honda 285 Chip Ganassi Racing
2 4 26 Colton Herta 95 1.9780 1.9780 8 Honda 217 Andretti Global w/Curb Agajanian
3 5 7 Alexander Rossi 95 4.5136 2.5356 10 Chevy 198 Arrow McLaren
4 8 77 Romain Grosjean 95 4.8243 0.3107 0 Chevy 144 Juncos Hollinger Racing
5 2 27 Kyle Kirkwood 95 8.6768 3.8525 24 Honda 210 Andretti Global
6 10 9 Scott Dixon 95 9.1504 0.4736 0 Honda 253 Chip Ganassi Racing
7 15 12 Will Power 95 9.9964 0.8460 0 Chevy 262 Team Penske
8 9 5 Pato O’Ward 95 10.6214 0.6250 0 Chevy 208 Arrow McLaren
9 17 14 Santino Ferrucci 95 11.0025 0.3811 0 Chevy 154 AJ Foyt Enterprises
10 18 28 Marcus Ericsson 95 11.6398 0.6373 0 Honda 150 Andretti Global
11 3 60 Felix Rosenqvist 95 12.7088 1.0690 0 Honda 176 Meyer Shank Racing
12 23 6 Nolan Siegel 95 13.1305 0.4217 0 Chevy 25 Arrow McLaren
13 21 20 Christian Rasmussen 95 14.3770 1.2465 0 Chevy 82 Ed Carpenter Racing
14 24 30 Pietro Fittipaldi 95 14.7541 0.3771 0 Honda 97 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
15 6 45 Christian Lundgaard 95 15.0744 0.3203 0 Honda 156 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
16 12 66 David Malukas 95 18.5009 3.4265 0 Honda 14 Meyer Shank Racing
17 16 8 Linus Lundqvist 95 20.1723 1.6714 0 Honda 113 Chip Ganassi Racing
18 13 78 Agustin Canapino 95 23.5447 3.3724 0 Chevy 86 Juncos Hollinger Racing
19 14 2 Josef Newgarden 95 27.2568 3.7121 5 Chevy 181 Team Penske
20 25 41 Sting Ray Robb 94 1 LAPS 64.9089 0 Chevy 78 AJ Foyt Enterprises
21 7 3 Scott McLaughlin 93 2 LAPS 1 LAPS 0 Chevy 188 Team Penske
22 11 11 Marcus Armstrong 93 2 LAPS 16.4817 0 Honda 129 Chip Ganassi Racing
23 22 4 Kyffin Simpson 86 Contact 0.3550 0 Honda 88 Chip Ganassi Racing
24 19 15 Graham Rahal 86 Contact 0.3133 0 Honda 127 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
25 26 18 Jack Harvey 82 Mechanical 1 LAPS 0 Honda 70 Dale Coyne Racing
26 20 21 Rinus VeeKay 72 Mechanical 4 LAPS 0 Chevy 114 Ed Carpenter Racing
27 27 51 Luca Ghiotto 34 Contact 0.4717 0 Honda 27 Dale Coyne Racing

 

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 102.740 mph
Time of Race: 02:04:09.8545
Margin of victory: 1.9780 seconds
Cautions: 14
Lead changes: 7 among 5 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Kirkwood, Kyle 1 – 24
Palou, Alex 25 – 26
Rossi, Alexander 27 – 36
Palou, Alex 37 – 55
Herta, Colton 56 – 63
Palou, Alex 64 – 69
Newgarden, Josef 70 – 74
Palou, Alex 75 – 95

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Point Standings:
Palou 285, Power 262, Dixon 253, Herta 217, Kirkwood 210, O’Ward 208, Rossi 198, McLaughlin 188, Newgarden 181, Rosenqvist 176, Lundgaard 156, Ferrucci 154, Ericsson 150, Grosjean 144, Armstrong 129, Rahal 127, VeeKay 114, Lundqvist 113, Fittipaldi 97, Simpson 88, Canapino 86, Rasmussen 82, Robb 78, Pourchaire 75, Harvey 70, Blomqvist 46, Ilott 39, Siegel 35, Ghiotto 27, Castroneves 26, Daly 21, Larson 21, Sato 19, Malukas 14, Carpenter 14, Vautier 12, Braun 10, Hunter-Reay 6, Andretti 5, Legge 5, Siegel 5

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