IndyCar results and points standings after Laguna Seca

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IndyCar Laguna Seca results and points standings: The top two finishers in the Grand Prix of Monterey exerted their dominance Sunday in the NTT IndyCar Series.

Colton Herta led 91 of 95 laps in winning his second consecutive race from the pole position at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

And in finishing second, Alex Palou expanded his championship lead to 35 points over Pato O’Ward.

In his second season in IndyCar and first with Chip Ganassi Racing, Palou can become a first-time champion by finishing 11th or better in the Sept. 26 season finale at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Josef Newgarden (who trails by 48 points) is the only other driver eligible to win the title.

Romain Grosjean might have delivered the most inspired drive in Sunday’s race at Laguna Seca, charging from 13th to third on the 11-turn, 2.38-mile road course with several memorable passes (including contact with Jimmie Johnson in the Corkscrew).

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings Sunday after the Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway:


RESULTS

Click here for the box score from the 95-lap race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Click here for the lap leader chart.

Here is the finishing order in the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out:

1. (1) Colton Herta, Honda, 95, Running
2. (4) Alex Palou, Honda, 95, Running
3. (13) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 95, Running
4. (12) Graham Rahal, Honda, 95, Running
5. (6) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 95, Running
6. (7) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 95, Running
7. (17) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 95, Running
8. (9) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 95, Running
9. (5) Oliver Askew, Honda, 95, Running
10. (14) Ed Jones, Honda, 95, Running
11. (19) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 95, Running
12. (16) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 95, Running
13. (8) Scott Dixon, Honda, 95, Running
14. (21) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 94, Running
15. (20) Jack Harvey, Honda, 94, Running
16. (18) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 94, Running
17. (25) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 94, Running
18. (24) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 94, Running
19. (15) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 94, Running
20. (11) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 94, Running
21. (10) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 94, Running
22. (26) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 94, Running
23. (27) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 94, Running
24. (22) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 94, Running
25. (2) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 93, Running
26. (3) Will Power, Chevrolet, 93, Running
27. (23) Takuma Sato, Honda, 83, Mechanical

Winner’s average speed: 104.114 mph; Time of race: 2:02:31.5444; Margin of victory: 1.9747 seconds; Cautions: 1 for 2 laps; Lead changes: 4 among 2 drivers; Lap leaders: Herta 1-18; Grosjean 19; Herta 20-68;  Grosjean 69-71; Herta 72-95.


POINTS

Click here for the points tally in Sunday’s race.

Through 15 races, here are the full points standings for:

Drivers

Engine manufacturers

Entrants

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in the standings: Palou 517, O’Ward 482, Newgarden 469, Dixon 445, Ericsson 430, Herta 402, Rahal 374, Pagenaud 353, Power 337, Rossi 304


NEXT: The NTT IndyCar Series will end its 2021 season with its 16th and final round Sunday, Sept. 26 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) on the streets of Long Beach, California. It’s the first time the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (which returns after being canceled for the COVID-19 pandemic last year) will conclude the schedule (click here for the full broadcast schedule this year).

New Chip Ganassi driver Marcus Armstrong will team with boyhood idol Scott Dixon

Marcus Armstrong Scott Dixon
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images
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Marcus Armstrong was a Scott Dixon fan his entire life, and when he was 8, the aspiring young racer asked his fellow New Zealander to autograph a helmet visor that he hung on his bedroom wall.

Next year, Armstrong will be Dixon’s teammate.

Armstrong was named Friday as the fourth IndyCar driver in the Chip Ganassi Racing lineup and will pilot the No. 11 next season on road and street courses.

A driver for the five oval races on the 17-race schedule will be named later.

The No. 11 is essentially the No. 48 that seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson drove the last two seasons, with Chip Ganassi making the change to run four cars numbered in sequential order. Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson drives the No. 8, six-time champion Dixon drives the No. 9, and 2020 IndyCar champion Alex Palou drives the No. 10.

So just who is the second Kiwi in the Ganassi lineup?

A 22-year-old who spent the past three seasons in Formula One feeder series F2, a Ferrari development driver in 2021, and former roommate of Callum Illot and former teammate of Christian Lundgaard – both of whom just completed their rookie IndyCar seasons.

“I’ve always been attracted to the IndyCar championship because it’s one of those championships that’s been really well televised in New Zealand since I was young, mainly because of Scott and his success,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “As time progressed, as I got closer to F1 and single-seaters, the attraction to IndyCar grew just because of how competitive the championship is – I like to challenge myself and the level of competition in IndyCar is remarkably high.”

Armstrong, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was set to travel from his current home in London to Indianapolis this weekend to meet his new team. He won’t need an introduction to Dixon, the 42-year-old considered the best IndyCar driver of his generation and Armstrong’s unequivocal childhood hero.

Last season, Dixon earned his 53rd career victory to pass Mario Andretti for second on the all-time list. Dixon has driven for Ganassi in all but 23 of his 345 career starts.

“For a long time I’ve been a Scott Dixon fan. I don’t want to make him cringe with our age difference,” Armstrong told the AP.

Despite the two-decade age difference, Armstrong never considered someday racing with Dixon a fantasy.

He convinced his father after winning five national karting championships to allow him to leave New Zealand for Italy at age 14, where he moved by himself to pursue a racing career. Armstrong said as soon as he’d received parental permission, he’d never look back.

Armstrong was in Formula 4 two years after his move to Italy and won that title in his first season. He won four races and four poles in F3 in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, then collected four wins and eight podiums in three seasons of F2.

“Maybe it’s a strength, or maybe it’s a weakness, but I always thought I was capable of doing great in the sport,” Armstrong told the AP. “I think you probably have to succeed in the sport, you need to believe in yourself. I always pictured myself being in IndyCar.

“As Scott’s teammate? I can’t specifically say I saw that. It’s an extraordinary chain of events.”

Armstrong becomes just the latest driver to leave Europe, where F1 is the pinnacle but has only 20 seats each year. Alexander Rossi began the trend in 2016 when the American left F1 and won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. He’s been followed by Ericsson, last season’s Indy 500 winner, Romain Grosjean, Illot, Lundgaard, and on Thursday three-time W Series champion and Williams F1 reserve driver Jamie Chadwick was announced as driver for Andretti Autosport in IndyCar’s second-tier development series.

Armstrong said he could have remained in F2 for a fourth season, but he’d been watching IndyCar for so long, and after conversations with Illot and Lundgaard, he decided to make the move to what he believes is the most balanced racing series in the world. He tested for Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring in October.

He doesn’t know if European racing is done for good, just that he wants to be in IndyCar right now.

“I don’t want to think too far into the future, I’m just grateful for this opportunity that is standing right in front of me,” Armstrong said. “I want to perform as well as I can in the near future and just consolidate myself in the fantastic chance that is IndyCar and just do my best.

“I’m not looking at F1 as a landing spot – I am looking at IndyCar, and that’s exactly why I am here.”