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

Dominik Wilde
Newgarden seals title as Herta wins at Laguna
Newgarden seals title as Herta wins at Laguna

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.

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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.

Newgarden seals title as Herta wins at Laguna
Newgarden seals title as Herta wins at Laguna

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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