INDYCAR heads west for Firestone Grand Prix

INDYCAR heads west for Firestone Grand Prix

After a two-week break, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES heads to the West Coast this weekend for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

It’s an opportunity for Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Linus Lundqvist – the driver of the No. 8 American Legion Honda featuring Be the One branding – to build on one of his best weekends of the season.

Lundqvist earned his first-ever INDYCAR pole during qualifications for the XPEL Grand Prix at Road America in Wisconsin. But on the race’s opening lap, Lundqvist was pushed into a spin by CGR teammate Marcus Armstrong, who had qualified third.

The contact, which resulted in a penalty for Armstrong, happened in Turn 1 and allowed the field to pass Lundqvist. But he was able to battle back, running in the top 10 at times before settling into a 12th-place finish, his second-best finish in a points race this season.

The finish helped Lundqvist move to 18th in the overall INDYCAR points race and maintain his lead over CGR teammate Kyffin Simpson by 19 points in the Rookie of the Year standings.

Also featuring American Legion branding this weekend will be CGR’s Alex Palou in the No. 10 DHL Honda. Palou, the defending NTT INDYCAR SERIES champ, currently sits just five points behind first-place Will Power in the current points race. He’s coming off a fourth-place finish in Wisconsin and won the Firestone Grand Prix in 2022.

The 95-lap, 212.61-mile Firestone Grand Prix will utilize a paved road racing track used for both auto racing and motorcycle racing. The track is 2.238 miles long and features a 300-foot elevation change. The course includes 11 turns, including the famous "Corkscrew" at Turns 8 and 8A. 

Race Notes (via INDYCAR):

·       There have been six winners in seven NTT INDYCAR SERIES races in the 2024 season. Pato O’Ward (Streets of St. Petersburg), Scott Dixon (Streets of Long Beach, Streets of Detroit), Scott McLaughlin (Barber Motorsports Park), Alex Palou (Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course), Josef Newgarden (Indianapolis 500) and Will Power (Road America) have all won in this season. The record for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.

·       There have been six winners in the last 10 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races: Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Alex Palou, Scott McLaughlin, Pato O’Ward and Will Power. Dixon (World Wide Technology Raceway 2023, Laguna Seca 2023, Long Beach 2024 and Detroit 2024) and Palou (Portland 2023 and Indianapolis GP 2024) are the only drivers to have won multiple races over that stretch.

·       The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey will be the 27th INDYCAR SERIES race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, but just the fifth since 2004. Teo Fabi won the first INDYCAR SERIES race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in 1983. Scott Dixon won the race in 2023.

·       Scott Dixon, Alex Palou and Colton Herta are the only former winners entered in this year's race.

·       Thirteen INDYCAR SERIES 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, 1992), Paul Tracy (1994), Alex Zanardi (1996), Bryan Herta (1998, 1999), Helio Castroneves (2000), Cristiano da Matta (2002), Patrick Carpentier (2003) and Colton Herta (2019, 2021). Team Penske has won six times at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Penske's winning drivers are Danny Sullivan (1988, 1990), Rick Mears (1989), Paul Tracy (1993, 1994) and Helio Castroneves (2000). Chip Ganassi Racing has four wins with Scott Dixon (2023), Alex Palou (2022), Alex Zanardi (1996) and Jimmy Vasser (1997). Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has three wins with Bryan Herta (1998, 1999) and Max Papis (2001).

·       Twenty-one drivers entered in the event have competed in past INDYCAR SERIES races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Scott Dixon has six starts, most among the entered drivers. Eight entered drivers have led laps at the track – Colton Herta 175, Alex Palou 118, Will Power 23, Dixon 22, Pato O’Ward 15, Felix Rosenqvist 11, Romain Grosjean 6 and Josef Newgarden 5.

·       Rookies Luca Ghiotto, Linus Lundqvist, Christian Rasmussen, Nolan Siegel and Kyffin Simpson along with veteran driver Pietro Fittipaldi will race an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the first time this weekend. Rasmussen won at Laguna Seca in INDY NXT by Firestone in 2022 and 2023.

·       Milestones: Scott Dixon will attempt to make his 330th consecutive start, extending his record streak … Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will make its 1,000th INDYCAR SERIES start at this event.

This weekend’s broadcast schedule (all times ET):

Friday, June 21 – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 1, 5-6:15 p.m. (Peacock)

Saturday, June 22 – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 2, 1-2 p.m.; 5:15-6:45 p.m., NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifications (both Peacock).

Sunday, June 23 – NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, 3-3:30 p.m.; Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, 6-9 p.m., (USA and Peacock).

To learn more about The American Legion’s Be the One veteran suicide prevention program, click here.