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

IndyCar Laguna Seca start times
Chris Owens/IndyCar
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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 11Marcus 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 8A 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

Ryan Hunter-Reay credits aeroscreen with saving life

Five Things To Watch during the 2021 IndyCar season

Heather Lyne, Dennis Erb Jr. make history in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series

Lyne Erb Outlaws Late
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws
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More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.

Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.

After a career-best season with the World of Outlaws, Erb and Lyne secured the points championship at US 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo. with three races remaining in the season. The consistency and success of their season came down to pinpoint focus. Lyne and Erb are a team of two living out a David vs. Goliath tale. In order to be as successful as possible this year the duo knew they had to do as much as possible with the resources they had.

“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.

“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”

Dennis Erb clinched his 2022 championship before the World of Outlaws World Finals. Jacy Norgaard – World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Taming Time

This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.

“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.

“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”

This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.

“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”

At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.

“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”

Heather Lyne became the first female crew chief to secure a national touring late model championship in 2022. Paul Arch / World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Breaking Through

Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.

“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”

Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.

“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.

“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”