MONTEREY, Calif. – Harding Steinbrenner Racing rookie Colton Herta won Sunday’s season-closing Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey while Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden secured his second NTT IndyCar Series crown in the last three years at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda), who started on the pole, led 83 of the 90 laps to easily hold off Team Penske’s Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) by 0.5878 of a second on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile permanent road course. It was the second win of the season for the 19-year-old sensation, who won earlier this season at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas to become the youngest race winner in series history.
Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet), who came into the double-points race with a 41-point lead over Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) and 42 over teammate Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet), was able to clinch the series championship with an eighth-place finish. Newgarden joined Sam Hornish Jr. as the only Americans to win multiple series titles since 1995 while giving team owner Roger Penske his 16th series crown.
Pagenaud finished fourth in the race and second in the series championship, 25 back of Newgarden. Rossi took sixth to finish third in the championship, 33 back of the champion. Five-time series champion Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Honda) rounded out the podium with a third-place finish and fourth in the title race.
Despite Herta collecting the win as well as bonus points for the pole, leading a lap and leading the most laps, it was not enough for him to overtake Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist (No. 10 NTT DATA Honda) for the NTT IndyCar Series Rookie-of-the-Year honors. Rosenqvist, a 28-year-old Swede, made a strong run after starting 14th to finish fifth and hold off Herta for the rookie award.
The win for Honda was its eighth of the year while clinching its second consecutive Engine Manufacturer’s championship.