The passing weekend saw the final race in the Indy Car Series calendar fittingly taking place at WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca. A course that fans have long awaited for Indy Car to return to. After all, it is the site of legendary “pass” that Alex Zanardi made on Bryan Herta on the infamous “corkscrew” turn.
With Laguna Seca being such a technical and hallowed course, the fact that it was the last race of the season, and that there were several drivers in the hunt for the championship, it was almost a guarantee that the racing would be exciting and aggressive.
Scott Dixon, Alex Rossi, Josef Newgarden, and Simon Pagenaud were all mathematically alive for the series title going into the weekend but Newgarden had a significant advantage. For example, in order for Scott Dixon to win the championship, he had to win the race and Newgarden had to finish in 22nd place or lower. Obviously not a likely scenario but the mere possibility just added to the tension of the race.
In addition to the championship implications, the other major story was rookie driver Colton Herta (son of Bryan Herta) who has been having an incredibly first season in Indy Car. Back in March, when he was 18 he made history for being the youngest driver to win an Indy Car race with a victory at Circuit Of The Americas. In June after his 19th birthday, he became the youngest pole sitter at Road America.
He became a pole sitter again at Laguna Seca by dominating qualifying on Saturday. With Dixon, Rossi, and Pagenaud all needing to win to keep their championship hopes alive, Colton Herta became a major factor for the weekend.
Once the race was underway Newgarden actually struggled with his car and pit strategy. There were moments when it looked like Newgarden would not be able to seal the deal. Fortunately for him, he was able to keep his car in the top 10 and Colton Herta kept the other championship contenders at bay. The end result was a second career title for Newgarden and a second race win this season for Colton Herta.
It really was one heck of a race so if you haven’t seen it already, check out the race highlights below. As far as the future goes, I say keep an eye on Colton, he may just be in the fight for the title in 2020.
Firestone Grand Prix race highlights:
[Photo: Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing]