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Race report
IndyCar Long Beach

Long Beach IndyCar: Newgarden beats Grosjean to win, Herta shunts

Josef Newgarden claimed his second straight triumph after staving off challenges from Romain Grosjean and Alex Palou, while polesitter and favorite Colton Herta crashed out.

Herta made a perfect start, leaving Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Newgarden to fend off Chip Ganassi Racing’s highest starter, Palou, which he succeeded in doing. Behind them, Felix Rosenqvist of Arrow McLaren SP-Chevy and Alexander Rossi (Andretti) fell in line in fourth and fifth, while the big mover at the front of the field was another Ganassi car, that of Marcus Ericsson, who muscled past Will Power’s Penske and Grosjean’s Andretti entry to take sixth.

Herta had pulled a 2.3sec lead on Newgarden by the start of Lap 6, when Dalton Kellett’s AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet struck the Turn 1 tirewall, bringing out the first yellow.

The Lap 10 restart was uneventful, and while Herta wanted to stay out of reach of Newgarden, he was saving fuel and happy to leave his lead at 1.6sec. Behind Newgarden, Palou was just 0.8sec adrift and by Lap 20, the reigning series champion was pulling well clear of Rosenqvist who had Rossi filling his mirrors, with Ericsson right behind the two time Long Beach winner.

Into Turn 1 on Lap 20, Rossi lunged down the inside, and when Rosenqvist attempted to turn in, he bounced off the Andretti car, allowing Ericsson and Grosjean to also slip through. Power, McLaughlin and Pagenaud would also demote the #7 Arrow McLaren SP car. Rosenqvist pitted at the end of Lap 23 to change to primaries.

One Swede’s decline triggered the other’s rejuvenation, as Ericsson went past him at Turn 6 and Grosjean passed him into Turn 1. Rossi pitted at the end of Lap 26 for primaries.

Scott Dixon, who had started 16th and ran 15th, had stopped as early as Lap 21 and was running very quick on the harder compound, albeit in 21st, and his teammate Palou was the first of the front runners to stop, pulling in from third place on Lap 28. Herta stopped next time by, as did Grosjean.

McLaughlin and Rahal, the top drivers who had started on primaries, temporarily ran fifth and sixth.

Newgarden, Ericsson and McLaughlin pitted on Lap 30, and the Penske driver emerged still in second but with Palou ahead and Herta behind him.

Power and Rahal went one lap longer before pitting.

On Lap 35, with 50 to go, Palou was running 2.8sec ahead of the Newgarden vs Herta battle, while Ericsson was nine seconds further back ahead of the slightly off-strategy Dixon, Grosjean, Power, Rossi, O’Ward and Rahal. Championship leader McLaughlin had emerged ahead of Grosjean, but dropped to 20th after tagging the wall at the hairpin and spinning. Meanwhile Pagenaud had lost time and places with a long stop and then a trip into a runoff.

Just past half distance, Herta appeared to redouble his efforts to get around Newgarden, who was now only 1.5sec behind Palou. Some 17sec from the lead, Grosjean was haunting Dixon, who would need to save fuel after his early first stop. Sure enough, Grosjean successfully made the move to claim fifth on Lap 47.

By Lap 53, the top three was stretching out, Palou leading by 2.7sec over Newgarden who had 1.5sec over Herta.

Dixon made his second stop at the end of Lap 54, the team opting for a fresh set of primaries, and teammate Palou left it only one more lap before ducking in for blacks. Power and Rossi also stopped that lap but the latter had a slow stop. Power, meanwhile, managed to emerge ahead of Dixon.

Herta was pushing hard on his in-lap, when he locked up heading into Turn 9 over the bump, and crashed hard into the outside wall. IndyCar delayed the yellow to clear Herta’s debris to allow others to stop before pitlane was closed. Newgarden ducked into the pitlane, and came out just ahead of Palou who took a look around the outside of the Penske into Turn 5, but there wasn’t a hope of that working. Over the next half a lap, Palou tried to find a way past Newgarden but couldn’t find an opening.

Then out came the caution, as Pagenaud failed to make a pass on the inside of Takuma Sato’s Dale Coyne Racing with RWR-Honda and instead mounted the roundabout at the fountain turn and landed himself in the flowers there.

The ensuing chaos caused McLaughlin and Rinus VeeKay to come together, too, but apparently without significant damage.

At the restart with 19 to go, Newgarden held off Palou, but behind them, Ericsson lost the rear of his car out of Turn 4, tagging the wall with his left rear. Grosjean and Power ducked through, but as Ericsson pulled over to the right to park it on the inside of Turn 5, Dixon ran into the back of him, which allowed O’Ward to slip past the six-time champion.

Grosjean, on alternates then tried to pass Palou for second into Turn 1 on Lap 69, but Grosjean forced him to the outside. The Andretti driver repeated the effort on Lap 70, and this time he was further ahead into the brake zone, and was able to carve across and claim second.

Grosjean immediately started applying the pressure on Newgarden, who was looking scrappy in defense, but the Frenchman ran out of push-to-pass boost. However, he would get another chance at tackling Newgarden (who had 4sec P2P left) as Jimmie Johnson’s torrid weekend finished slightly early after sliding into the Turn 8 tires, and being collected by David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD.

The restart with four laps to go saw Grosjean try to make the pass into Turn 1, but Newgarden’s defense on the inside line was enough to rebuff him. A lap later, Newgarden used his last spurt of P2P to launch off the hairpin, and he was effectively safe for another lap.

He also remained ahead without an apparent threat from Grosjean on the penultimate lap, and then the yellow had to come out when Sato slid into the tires in Turn 8 and couldn’t restart.

And so Newgarden claimed his first Long Beach win, his second straight win, Penske-Chevrolet’s third straight, and Newgarden now grabs the lead of the championship from McLaughlin, while Palou and Power are the other two drivers over the 100-point barrier.

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Pits Retirement
1 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 85 1:46'48.010   2  
2 France Romain Grosjean United States Andretti Autosport 85 1:46'49.297 1.286 2  
3 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 85 1:46'49.769 1.759 2  
4 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 85 1:46'50.975 2.965 2  
5 Mexico Patricio O'Ward United States Arrow McLaren SP 85 1:46'51.722 3.712 2  
6 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 85 1:46'53.070 5.060 2  
7 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 85 1:46'53.403 5.393 2  
8 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 85 1:46'55.318 7.308 2  
9 Brazil Helio Castroneves United States Meyer Shank Racing 85 1:46'56.962 8.952 2  
10 United States Kyle Kirkwood United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 85 1:47'00.873 12.863 2  
11 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist United States Arrow McLaren SP 85 1:47'02.303 14.293 2  
12 United States Conor Daly United States Ed Carpenter Racing 85 1:47'03.227 15.217 2  
13 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 85 1:47'04.256 16.246 3  
14 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 85 1:47'05.939 17.929 3  
15 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 85 1:47'06.790 18.780 2  
16 Colombia Tatiana Calderon United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 84 1:47'13.075 1 Lap 3  
17 Japan Takuma Sato United States Dale Coyne Racing 83 1:44'30.953 2 Laps 2  
18 Denmark Christian Lundgaard United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 83 1:47'07.351 2 Laps 3  
19 France Simon Pagenaud United States Meyer Shank Racing 81 1:47'08.738 4 Laps 3  
20 United States Jimmie Johnson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 73 1:31'54.614 12 Laps 3 Accident
21 United States David Malukas Dale Coyne Racing with HMD 72 1:31'55.184 13 Laps 4 Accident
22 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 66 1:22'22.403 19 Laps 2 Accident
23 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 55 1:04'59.385 30 Laps 1 Accident
24 United Kingdom Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Racing 55 1:09'33.312 30 Laps 4 Accident
25 Canada Devlin DeFrancesco United States Andretti Autosport 35 45'31.175 50 Laps 4 Accident
26 Canada Dalton Kellett United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 5 5'58.114 80 Laps   Accident
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