Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta fended off Josef Newgarden to win the Acura Grand Prix at Long Beach as Alex Palou claimed his first NTT IndyCar Series title.
Three drivers entered the final, but they quickly became two after Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP was hit by Ed Jones in the first lap and sent the Mexican spinning to the back of the field, not before to withdraw on lap 18 with damage.
Despite several warnings littering the first half of the race, Herta quickly recovered from her modest qualifying position to move up from 14th place on the grid and compete for the win.
Newgarden had appeared to be in charge of the race early on as he chased an outside title shot, however, he couldn’t hold Herta’s pace and would have to settle for second place.
Scott Dixon made sure to fill Newgarden’s mirrors throughout the 85 laps of the No. 9 Bank-Honda PNC race to complete the last place on the podium.
Palou had a tricky first stint and lost places as he tried to protect his car, but that didn’t stop the Spaniard from developing a solid strategy to end the season with fourth place and his first IndyCar title. .
In what could have been his last race for Team Penske, Simon Pagenaud put in an impressive performance to finish fifth ahead of Alexander Rossi who failed to secure three wins in a row around Long Beach.
Jack Harvey has also recovered well from a poor qualifying session, the Briton would finish seventh after gaining 18 places as he leaves Meyer Shank Racing for a team that has yet to be announced.
Quadruple series champion SÃ©bastien Bourdais stopped in the first lap but had a solid race with the AJ Foyt team to return to eighth place after starting 22nd.
Takuma Sato finished ninth ahead of Will Power to complete the top 10.
As Palou celebrates his first title, the Rookie of the Year award went to Scott McLaughlin after Romain Grosjean suffered mechanical issues halfway through the race before retiring with six laps to go.
The NTT IndyCar Series will return to action on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. On February 27.
|#||Driver||Time / Interval||Tours led||Points|
|1||Colton Herta||01: 49: 10.3764||43||53|
|21||Conor Daly||-1 turn||–||9|
|22||Oliver askew||-2 turns||3||9|
|23||Ryan hunter-reay||-2 turns||–||7|
|24||Romain Grosjean||-10 rounds||–||6|
|25||Rinus VeeKay||-37 rounds||–||5|
|26||Callum ilott||-38 laps||–||5|
|27||Pato O’Ward||-42 turns||–||5|
|28||Marcus Ericsson||-60 rounds||–||5|