From Indycar. Look for my preview tomorrow.
Race weekend: Friday, Sept. 17 – Sunday, Sept. 19
Track: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, a 2.258-mile permanent road course in Monterey, California
Race distance: 95 laps / 214.51 miles
Push-to-pass parameters: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation.
Firestone tire allotment: Six sets primary, four sets alternate. Teams must use one set of primary and one new set of alternate tires in the race. (Note: A seventh set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie driver.)
Event website: www.WeatherTechRaceway.com
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2019 race winner (most recent): Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda)
2019 pole winner (most recent): Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda), 1 minute, 10.1405 seconds, 114.867 mph
Qualifying record: Helio Castroneves, 1:07.722, 118.969 mph, Sept. 8, 2000
NBC television broadcast: Race, 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 19, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.
Peacock Premium Live Streaming: This weekend’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer live streaming product.
INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes will be the lead announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young are the turn announcers. Dan Rusanowsky and Alex Wolff will report from the pits. The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey will air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 205 and 211, indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying are available on SiriusXM 205, indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.
At-track schedule (all times local):
Friday, Sept. 17
2:30–3:15 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 1, Peacock Premium (live)
Saturday, Sept. 18
10:45–11:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 2, Peacock Premium (live)
2:05 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock Premium (live)
Sunday, Sept. 19
9-9:30 a.m.– NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, Peacock Premium (live)
11:50 a.m. – Driver introductions
Noon – NBC on air
12:23 p.m. – Start engines command
12:30 p.m. – Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey (95 laps/214.51 miles), NBC (live)
- Alex Palou leads the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship with two races to go for the first time in his career. Palou has led the point standings after nine of the 14 races this season.
- Palou leads Pato O’Ward by 25 points with Josef Newgarden (-34), Scott Dixon (-49) and Marcus Ericsson (-75) behind. Palou assumed the point lead following his win at Portland. The lead has changed hands six times between Palou, O’Ward and Dixon.
- There are five drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship: Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward, Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson. Any driver who trails the points leader by 54 points or more following the race will be eliminated from contention.
- Since the first INDYCAR SERIES race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the winning driver has won the INDYCAR SERIES championship six times: Bobby Rahal (1986 and 1987), Danny Sullivan (1988), Michael Andretti (1991), Alex Zanardi (1998) and Cristiano da Matta (2002).
Key championship point statistic: Since 2008, the driver who has led the championship with two races to go has failed to win the championship five times. Scott Dixon in 2008, 2018 and 2020, Dario Franchitti in 2011, Will Power in 2014, Simon Pagenaud in 2016 and Josef Newgarden in 2017 and 2019 are the exceptions who have won the title after leading with two races remaining.
Don’t call it a comeback: No point lead is ever safe in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Five times since 2008, a driver has made up a deficit with two races to go to win the championship – Dario Franchitti, who trailed Ryan Briscoe by four points in 2009 and Will Power by 23 points in 2010; Ryan Hunter-Reay, who trailed Will Power by five points with two races remaining in 2012, Scott Dixon, who was in third place, 48 points behind Juan Pablo Montoya in 2015 and Power who overcame a four-point deficit to Helio Castroneves in 2014.
CHAMPIONSHIP WITH TWO TO GO (2008-2021)
|2008||Scott Dixon||Helio Castroneves||78||Scott Dixon|
|2009||Ryan Briscoe||Dario Franchitti||4||Dario Franchitti|
|2010||Will Power||Dario Franchitti||23||Dario Franchitti|
|2011||Dario Franchitti||Will Power||26||Dario Franchitti|
|2012||Will Power||Ryan Hunter-Reay||5||Ryan Hunter-Reay|
|2013||Helio Castroneves||Scott Dixon||49||Scott Dixon|
|2014||Will Power||Helio Castroneves||4||Will Power|
|2015||Juan Pablo Montoya||Graham Rahal||42||Scott Dixon (-48)|
|2016||Simon Pagenaud||Will Power||27||Simon Pagenaud|
|2017||Josef Newgarden||Scott Dixon||18||Josef Newgarden|
|2018||Scott Dixon||Alexander Rossi||29||Scott Dixon|
|2019||Josef Newgarden||Alexander Rossi||35||Josef Newgarden|
|2020||Scott Dixon||Josef Newgarden||72||Scott Dixon|
|2021||Alex Palou||Pato O’Ward||25||?|
- There have been nine different winners in 14 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races this season. Alex Palou (Barber Motorsports Park, Road America, Portland International Raceway), Colton Herta (Streets of St. Petersburg), Scott Dixon (Texas Motor Speedway-1), Pato O’Ward (Texas Motor Speedway-2, Raceway at Belle Isle Park-2), Rinus VeeKay (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-1), Helio Castroneves (Indianapolis 500), Marcus Ericsson (Raceway at Belle Isle Park-1, Streets of Nashville), Josef Newgarden (Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, World Wide Technology Raceway) and Will Power (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-2) have all won in 2021. The modern record (1946-present) for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.
- There have been seven different winners in the last 10 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races (Rinus VeeKay, Helio Castroneves, Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson, Pato O’Ward, Josef Newgarden and Will Power) The only repeat winners in that stretch are, Ericsson (Raceway at Belle Isle Park-1 and Streets of Nashville), Newgarden (Mid-Ohio and WWT Raceway) and Palou (Road America and Portland).
- The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey will be the 24th INDYCAR SERIES race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, but just the second since 2004. Teo Fabi won the first INDYCAR SERIES race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in 1983. Colton Herta – who won the most recent race at the track in 2019 – and Helio Castroneves -who won at the track in 2000 – are the only former winners entered in this year’s race.
- Thirteen drivers have won at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca from the pole – Teo Fabi (1983), Bobby Rahal (1985), Danny Sullivan (1988), Rick Mears (1989), Danny Sullivan (1990), Michael Andretti (1991 and 1992), Paul Tracy (1994), Alex Zanardi (1996), Bryan Herta (1998 and 1999), Helio Castroneves (2000), Cristiano da Matta (2002), Patrick Carpentier (2003) and Colton Herta (2019).
- Team Penske has won six times at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Penske’s winning drivers are Danny Sullivan (1988 and 1990), Rick Mears (1989), Paul Tracy (1993 and 1994) and Helio Castroneves (2000). Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has three wins with Bryan Herta (1998-99) and Max Papis (2001). Chip Ganassi Racing has two wins with Alex Zanardi in 1996 and Jimmy Vasser in 1997.
- Eighteen drivers entered in the event have competed in past INDYCAR SERIES races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Helio Castroneves has four starts, most among the entered drivers, but hasn’t raced at the track since 2001. Five entered drivers have led laps at the track (Colton Herta 83, Will Power 6, Scott Dixon 2, Sebastien Bourdais 1 and Simon Pagenaud 1).
- Four rookies – Romain Grosjean, Callum Ilott, Jimmie Johnson and Scott McLaughlin – are expected to compete. The four rookies, along with veteran drivers Oliver Askew, Dalton Kellett, Pato O’Ward, Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay, will all be making their first INDYCAR SERIES at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.