2021 IndyCar Grand Prix of Monterey Preview

After the Grand Prix of Portland, the NTT IndyCar series heads to Laguna Seca for the penultimate round of the 2021 season.

Alex Palou will start the weekend as the championship leader, having regained the lead after claiming his third victory of the season at Portland last weekend. The Spaniard is 25 points ahead of second placed Pato O’Ward who finished down in fourteenth last weekend.

Completing the top three in the standings is Josef Newgarden, the Penske driver is nine points behind O’Ward, therefore 34 adrift of Palou, and 15 points ahead of fourth placed, and reigning champion, Scott Dixon. Newgarden finished fifth in Portland while Dixon claimed third.

Completing the top three last weekend was Alexander Rossi. It was the American’s first top three finish of the season and sees him enter this weekend tenth in the driver standings 30 points behind ninth placed Simon Pagenaud, and two ahead of eleventh placed Takuma Sato.

IMG_2046” by Nick Mischo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This weekend is a road course and will therefore see Romain Grosjean and Jimmie Johnson compete alongside fellow 2021 rookie Scott McLaughlin. The latter of the three is the highest placed of the 2021 rookies, McLaughlin is thirteenth in the championship heading to Laguna Seca having finished ninth in Portland.

The New Zealander has a 38 point gap to Grosjean who is joint fifteenth in the driver standings with Ryan Hunter-Reay. This is after Grosjean finished down in twenty second last time out while Hunter-Reay finished fifteenth.

A quick note on Jack Harvey who is in between McLaughlin and Grosjean in the standings. The Briton finished fourth in Portland, his joint best classified finish of the season, and is only two points behind McLaughlin heading into this weekend’s Grand Prix.

Jimmie Johnson meanwhile is down in twenty eighth in the standings and is 28 points behind twenty fifth placed Max Chilton. It was a strong race result for Johnson in Portland where the NASCAR legend was classified twentieth, his second best classified finish of the 2021 season.

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