Laguna Seca IndyCar: Newgarden seals 2019 title as Herta wins again

Colton Herta fended off Will Power to win the IndyCar season finale at Laguna Seca as Josef Newgarden secured his second series title.

Newgarden went into the first top-line US single-seater race at the California circuit since 2004 with a comfortable 41-point advantage in the championship table, and his eighth place finish was enough to clinch his second title in three seasons with a 25-point buffer over Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud.

Pagenaud began the race as something of an outside bet behind Newgarden and Alexander Rossi in the standings, but passed Newgarden on lap 16 of the 90 and spent much of the race pressuring Scott Dixon, another championship outsider, for a podium spot.

Pagenaud ran Dixon close in the final few laps, but couldn’t find a way past the outgoing champion for third – and in any case needed a win to stand any chance of claiming a second title.

Race winner Herta led much of the distance, and beat Power, who played his pit strategy well to move into contention for the win, by just over half a second – adding to his family’s achievements at the track where his father Bryan won twice in CART Champ Car.

Power emerged from his final pitstop on lap 67 just behind Herta, and remained on his tail until the end of lap 86 when he ran wide at the final corner – all but ending his hopes of winning for the third time in four races.

Felix Rosenqvist bounced back from a controversial penalty in qualifying to carve his way through the field from 14th to fifth ahead of championship contender Rossi and wrap up rookie of the year honours.

Rossi was expected to mount the strongest challenge to Newgarden, but the Andretti Autosport driver struggled with rear tyre degradation for much of the race and struggled to keep the pace with the leaders. His struggles dropped him to third in the final series standings, behind Pagenaud.

Outside of the battle for championship honours, Sebastien Bourdais finished seventh, ahead of the cautious Newgarden, while James Hinchcliffe battled through neck pain to finish ninth, with Ryan Hunter-Reay completing the top 10.

There was only one caution period during the race, on lap 45, after Conor Daly became stranded on a kerb after spinning at the Turn 2 hairpin when battling with Marco Andretti.

Santino Ferrucci and Ed Jones were the only retirements from the race. Both were involved in an incident with Takuma Sato at Turn 2 on lap 49, during the restart from the caution period, but a second yellow flag was avoided.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Colton Herta Harding Racing Dallara/Honda 90 1h53m56.9845s
2 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 90 0.5878s
3 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 90 6.2404s
4 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 90 6.3545s
5 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 90 9.5206s
6 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 90 10.3637s
7 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 90 10.6831s
8 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 90 19.0447s
9 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 90 22.8186s
10 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 90 24.7944s
11 Marcus Ericsson Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 90 25.7806s
12 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 90 26.6517s
13 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 90 27.0743s
14 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 90 54.4314s
15 Charlie Kimball Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 90 56.5862s
16 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 90 1m05.8739s
17 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 90 1m06.5640s
18 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 90 1m07.9267s
19 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Dallara/Honda 90 1m10.7956s
20 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 89 1 Lap
21 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 89 1 Lap
22 Conor Daly Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 89 1 Lap
23 Ed Jones Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 51 Mechanical
24 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 48 Contact

Drivers’ standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Josef Newgarden 641
2 Simon Pagenaud 616
3 Alexander Rossi 608
4 Scott Dixon 578
5 Will Power 550
6 Felix Rosenqvist 425
7 Colton Herta 420
8 Ryan Hunter-Reay 420
9 Takuma Sato 415
10 Graham Rahal 389
11 Sebastien Bourdais 387
12 James Hinchcliffe 370
13 Santino Ferrucci 351
14 Spencer Pigot 335
15 Tony Kanaan 304
16 Marco Andretti 303
17 Marcus Ericsson 290
18 Zach Veach 271
19 Matheus Leist 261
20 Ed Jones 217
21 Jack Harvey 186
22 Max Chilton 184
23 Ed Carpenter 161
24 Conor Daly 149
25 Charlie Kimball 117
26 Patricio O’Ward 115
27 Sage Karam 39
28 James Davison 36
29 Helio Castroneves 33
30 Ben Hanley 31
31 Pippa Mann 28
32 Kyle Kaiser 22
33 J.R. Hildebrand 20
34 Oriol Servia 16
35 R.C. Enerson 13
36 Jordan King 12

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