IndyCar at Laguna Seca: How to watch, start times, TV info, schedules and streaming

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IndyCar Laguna Seca start times: There are five drivers still in contention, but the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series championship seems like Alex Palou’s to lose with two races remaining.

The second-year Chip Ganassi Racing driver will take a 25-point lead over Pato O’Ward into Sunday’s race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Josef Newgarden (34 points behind), Scott Dixon (49) and Marcus Ericsson (75) also are in the hunt, but the field will winnow quickly if Palou excels at Laguna Seca.

O’Ward, Newgarden, Dixon and Ericsson need to finish ahead of Palou to have a shot at the title in the Sept. 26 season finale at Long Beach. Only once since 2008 has a driver lost a title lead as large as Palou’s (Dixon made up 48 points on Juan Pablo Montoya over the final two races in 2015).

Any driver 54 points outside of the leader after Laguna Seca will be eliminated, and Palou (who has led the standings after nine of 14 races this season) could knock out some of the competition with a podium finish.

But Laguna Seca will be unfamiliar territory for Palou, who will be making his first IndyCar start on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course.

Romain Grosjean, Callum Ilott, Jimmie Johnson, Scott McLaughlin Oliver Askew, Dalton Kellett, O’Ward and Rinus VeeKay also will be in their IndyCar debuts on the Monterey Peninsula.

But the rest of the field also is relatively inexperienced as this will mark only the second IndyCar race at Laguna Seca since 2004 (last year was canceled because of the pandemic). After a 15-year absence, Colton Herta won from the pole position in 2019 at the same track where his father, Bryan (now his strategist), was involved in Alex Zanardi’s famous winning pass in the Corkscrew turn on the last lap of the 1996 race.

Here are the details and IndyCar start times for the weekend at Laguna Seca (all times are ET):

Grand Prix of Monterey

TV: 3 p.m. ET, Sunday, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Kevin Lee and Kelli Stavast are the pit reporters.

COMMAND TO START ENGINES: 3:23 p.m. ET

GREEN FLAG: 3:30 p.m. ET

DISTANCE: The race is 95 laps (212.61 miles) on an 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course in Monterey, California.

PRACTICE (all on Peacock Premium): Friday, 5:30-6:15 p.m. ET; Saturday, 1:45-2:30 p.m. ET; Sunday, noon-12:30 p.m. ET (warmup)

QUALIFYING: Saturday, 5:05 p.m. ET (Peacock Premium)

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.)

PUSH TO PASS: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation. The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower.

FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 65 degrees with a 6% chance of rain at the green flag.

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the 27 cars entered at Laguna Seca Raceway

Weekend schedule for the Grand Prix of Monterey

(All times ET)

FRIDAY

12:05-12:25 p.m.: U.S. Touring Car practice

1:10-1:55 p.m.: Indy Lights practice

2:10-2:35 p.m.: U.S. Touring Car practice

3:45-4:15 p.m.: U.S. Touring Car qualifying, Race 1

4:30-5 p.m.: Indy Lights qualifying, Race 1

5:30-6:15 p.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock Premium

SATURDAY

Noon-12:30 p.m.: U.S. Touring Car warmup

12:45-1:15 p.m.: Indy Lights qualifying, Race 2

1:45-2:30 p.m.: IndyCar practice, Peacock Premium

3-3:30 p.m.: U.S. Touring Car qualifying, Race 2

3:45-4:45 p.m.: Indy Lights, Race 1, Peacock Premium

5:05-6:20 p.m.: IndyCar qualifying (three rounds), Peacock Premium

6:45-7:30 p.m.: U.S. Touring Car, Race 1

SUNDAY

Noon-12:30 p.m.: IndyCar warmup, Peacock Premium

12:45-1 p.m.: U.S. Touring Car warmup

1:15-2:15 p.m.: Indy Lights, Race 2, Peacock Premium

2:45 p.m.: IndyCar driver introductions

3:23 p.m.: Command to start engines

3:30 p.m.: Grand Prix of Monterey (95 laps/212.61 miles), NBC

6:15-7 p.m.: U.S. Touring Car, Race 2

COVERAGE ON NBCSPORTS.COM:

ROUND 1: Alex Palou breaks through with first victory in season opener

ROUND 2: Colton Herta puts on a sublime showing in St. Pete

ROUND 3: Scott Dixon maintains Texas dominance

ROUND 4: Pato O’Ward scores first IndyCar victory

ROUND 5: Rinus VeeKay dazzles to break through for first IndyCar triumph

ROUND 6: Helio Castroneves becomes fourth four-time Indy 500 winner

ROUND 7: Marcus Ericsson scores first IndyCar victory

ROUND 8: Pato O’Ward wins, takes points lead

ROUND 9: Alex Palou takes advantage of Josef Newgarden’s misfortune

ROUND 10: Josef Newgarden ends run of disappointments

ROUND 11: Marcus Ericsson flies from last to first in Nashville

ROUND 12: Will Power dominant in first victory of the season

ROUND 13: Josef Newgarden wins on last oval of the season

ROUND 14: Alex Palou reclaims points lead with comeback victory from pole

JIMMIE INDYCAR WATCH, RACE 1: A 19th at Barber Motorsports Park

JIMMIE INDYCAR WATCH, RACE 2: Tough day for the No. 48

JIMMIE INDYCAR WATCH, RACE 3: Making progress in a 24th-place finish

JIMMIE INDYCAR WATCH, RACE 4-5: Challenging weekend in Detroit

JIMMIE INDYCAR WATCH, RACE 6: One mistake at Road America

JIMMIE INDYCAR WATCH, RACE 7: A fun day at Mid-Ohio

JIMMIE INDYCAR WATCH, RACE 8: A bump but still having a blast at Nashville

JIMMIE INDYCAR WATCH, RACE 9: Best race of the season at Indy

JIMMIE INDYCAR WATCH, RACE 10: Solid run, winning assist at Portland

“He’s going to get there”: An inside look at Johnson’s rookie season in IndyCar

Jimmie Johnson takes a break from IndyCar but not from racing one of his daughters

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IndyCar at Laguna Seca: How to watch, start times, TV info, schedules and streaming originally appeared on NBCSports.com