Summaries of 2021 IndyCar Races
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Barber repaved the track since last time IndyCar was here.
Josef Newgarden spun on first lap and caused big accident involving 4 other cars, knocking himself and
Ryan Hunter-Reay out of the race.
Pato O’Ward was on pole and led first 17 laps.  O’Ward had three pit stops to Top 3’s two.  He finished
in 4th.
Alex Palou took the lead in his Ganassi Honda and led most of the remaining laps, winning his first race!
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion
Jimmie Johnson started 21st and finished 19th, three laps
down, in his IndyCar debut.
Sebastien Bourdais improved most places, starting in 16th and finished 5th.

MAY 1  Genesys 300         TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY        FORT WORTH TX - 212 LAPS
APRIL 25       Grand Prix of  ST PETERSBURG FLA -  100 LAPS
Colton Herta dominated the weekend, setting fast times all week, getting the pole and winning the race
for Andretti, leading all but 3 laps when he made his first pit stop.
There were two cautions late in the race, giving Josef Newgarden a chance, but Herta held him off.
2nd place
Josef Newgarden’s Chevy just didn’t have enough for the Andretti Honda car.
This was Colton's 4th IndyCar victory, tying him with his father
Bryan Herta.
Alex Rossi got a flat fighting for a corner with Graham Rahal.
Will Power improved the most places, starting 20th and finished 8th.

A track surface coating that was layed down for Nascar provided no traction for IndyCar, and they were
forced to avoid the top half of the track in places, reducing passing and action that has traditionally taken
place at Texas.
Qualifying was cancelled due to rain and
Alex Palou started on pole.
Scott Dixon took the lead on Lap 3 and held on to it until the end.
Kiwi Dixon had to fight off fellow countryman and rookie,
Scott McLaughlin.
McLaughlin improved the most places, starting 15 and finished 2nd.

There was a big crash as the cars began to start the race.  7 cars were involved.  Connor Daly skidded
across the track upside down, before hitting the grass and flipping right side up.  The crash eliminated
Dalton Kellett, Ed Jones, Pietro Fittipaldi, Alex Rossi and Sebastien Bourdais from the race.
Scott Dixon led from pole until lap 185, except for Graham Rahal who led for laps 140-152.
Josef Newgarden and Takuma Sato fought each other for the lead from laps 188-224.
Pato O’Ward took the lead on lap 225 and held on for his first IndyCar win!
Ryan Hunter-Reay improved the most places, starting 21st and finishing 10th.

Max Chilton had flown back to England, and then was unable to get back to the U.S.  in time to race.
Juan Montoya showed up, started last and finished in the back, a lap down.  He had not raced an IndyCar
since the 2017 Indy 500.
Romain Grosjean captured his first IndyCar pole.  He came to IndyCar after a 10-year career in F1,
where his last race ended in a fiery crash that burned his hands and nearly killed him.
Grosjean easily led the first half of the race, but finished 2nd.
Rinus VeeKay then took control and won his first IndyCar race!
Alex Rossi improved the most places, starting from 14th and finishing 7th.

IndyCar Will Have To Get Used To New Faces!
Rookie Romain Grosjean Won Pole & Finished 2nd.  Rinus VeeKay Won his first IndyCar Race
and Alex Palou finished 3rd in the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis.
MAY 30    Indy 500          INDY MOTOR SPEEDWAY        INDIANAPOLIS IN -  200 LAPS
There was an overwhelming favorite entering race day, at least as much as there could be in the Indy 500.  
Scott Dixon, six-time reigning IndyCar champion, had proven himself fastest in practices and carried on to
capture pole.  But when the race started, he did not lead a lap until the first round of pitstops and after they
were over, he was in last place!  He would work his way up to lead some laps late in the race, but fell back
to finish 17th.

Some young drivers often led the race -
Rinus VeeKay, Colton Herta, Conor Daly, Alex Palou and Pato

But the last six laps came down to a battle between Palou and
Helio Castroneves, with the veteran leading
the final two laps.

This was a historic race in various ways.  

1. After qualifying, the starting field was the closest and fastest in history with an average speed of 230.294
mph.  The slowest qualifier had a 4-Lap average of 228.353 and the fastest was 231.685 mph.

2. It was Castroneves' fourth Indy 500 win.  Only three men have accomplished this feat, the last time in
1991.  Castroneves had competed in every Indy 500 since 2000 with Team Penske, until this year.  Penske
had cut him loose a few years ago and he went sports car racing, but would return to race the Indy 500 for
Team Penske.  This year, he raced for Meyer Shank Racing, a team that had just joined IndyCar a couple of
years ago.  This was Castroneves first IndyCar race of 2021.

3. This race was over the soonest and had the fastest average speed of any Indy 500 in history.  With only
two caution periods for a total of 18 Laps, the race finished in 2 hours and 37 minutes with an average speed
of 190.690 mph.

4. With the nation making it's way back to normalcy from the pandemic, the speedway limited ticket sales to
40% of capacity.  Tickets sold out, so IMS lifted the local television black-out of the race.  This is only the
third time they have done this since 1951.

Sage Karam improved the most places, moving from 31st and finishing in 7th.

Helio Castroneves Put his Name in the Record Books
... and his Likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy, Again!
JUNE 12    Detroit GP          BELLE ISLE  - RACE 1            DETROIT, MI -  70 LAPS
A hot race on the bumpy track saw action and heartbreak.  Lap 27 and Felix Rosenqvist ended up with
his car pointed skyward atop a tire barrier after a harsh crash in Turn 6 after a stuck throttle.  A red flag
to extract him and fix the barrier took over an hour and 15 minutes to get the race restarted.  Needing to
refuel, Scott Dixon relinquished the lead at that point to Will Power.  

With 5 laps to go,
Will Power was on his way to win his (and Penske's) first race of the season, when
Romain Grosjean hit the wall and the race was red flagged.  Power's car would not fire up due to heat
frying his ECU!  Power was livid as he watched the other cars pass him as they pulled out of the pit lane
for the restart.  This left
Marcus Ericsson in his Chip Ganassi entry to start in first place.   During the last
couple of hectic laps,
Rinus VeeKay and Pato O'Ward got around Takuma Sato to finish 2nd and 3rd.  
This was Ericsson's first race victory in ten years - since his GP2 days.

A different driver has won each of the seven races so far this year, and four of the winners were first-time
Graham Rahal started in 20th and finished in 5th.

Marcus Ericsson's First IndyCar Victory
- compliments of Will Power's misfortune
Felix Rosenqvist Crash
JUNE 13     Detroit GP         BELLE ISLE - RACE 2             DETROIT, MI -  70 LAPS
The second race of the weekend was also a nailbiter.  Josef Newgarden led this race from pole.  

Pato O’Ward’s charge to the front was breathtaking from the 16th starting position. He passed six cars and
jumped to 10th in the opening five laps while racing on the Firestone alternate “red” tires.

After three full-course cautions in the race. The last restart, on Lap 63, saw O’Ward in fifth behind Newgarden,
Colton Herta, Alex Palou and Graham Rahal.

O’Ward dove under Rahal in Turn 1 for fourth and then devoured Palou and Herta for second place with
defiant, but clean, maneuvers on the same lap.

Then O’Ward set sail for Newgarden while keeping his eye on his mirrors for Herta’s pressure from behind.
Herta locked up trying to pass O’Ward for second with three laps to go, effectively ending his chances for

Newgarden, on worn tires, couldn't keep O'Ward behind him and was passed in Turn 7 on Lap 68.  O'Ward
then ran the last two laps to his second victory of the season.  Newgarden led 67 of the first 70 laps.  This
was Newgarden's third runner-up of the season.

Sam Schmidt proud of Pato O'Ward - pole on Saturday, win on Sunday.
JUNE 20     REV Group GP          ROAD AMERICA            ELKHART LAKE, WI  -  55 LAPS
There were four full-course yellows during this race.

Pole sitter
Josef Newgarden led a race-high 32 laps and looked to be poised for his and Team Penske’s
first victory of the season on a restart with two laps to go.  But Newgarden’s car suffered a mechanical
problem when the green flag flew, and Alex Palou blew past him on the outside before Turn 1 for a lead he
wouldn’t surrender.  Newgarden fell back through the field, finishing last of the cars on the lead lap.

Palou led 5 laps in the race.  This was his second win of the season.

Josef Newgarden Leading Alex Palou
Josef Newgarden drove to the first victory of 2021 for himself and Team Penske, leading 73 of 80 laps
and holding off a charging
Marcus Ericsson to win The Honda Indy 200.

On Lap 1,
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Felix Rosenqvist ended up spinning after contact from cars behind
them in Turn 4 due to first-lap traffic.
James Hinchcliffe hit the rear of Hunter-Reay, punting him into the
tire barrier, and contact from
Romain Grosjean turned around Rosenqvist.  

Then, on Lap 4,
Scott Dixon bumped Will Power, spinning him.  Stranded in the middle of the track, he
was then nailed by
Ed Jones inflicting heavy damage to both cars. Both drivers were ok.

Those two incidents triggered the only two full-course cautions of the race

Colton Herta, who started second, appeared to be the only driver who could keep pace with Newgarden.
But Herta’s chance to compete at the end for a win was eliminated by two troublesome pit stops.

JULY 4   Honda Indy 200                 MID-OHIO                  LEXINGTON, IL  -  80 LAPS
Josef Newgarden won 2021 Mid-Ohio Indycar race
1st Lap Incident
Will Power / Ed Jones Wreck
Josef Newgarden
Points Leader - Alex Palou - 384 pts
Points Leader - Alex Palou - 349
Points Leader - Alex Palou - 53 pts
Points Leader - Alex Palou - 67 pts
Colton Herta
Points Leader - Scott Dixon - 118 pts
Points Leader - Scott Dixon - 153 pts
Points Leader - Scott Dixon - 176 pts
Points Leader - Alex Palou - 248 pts
Points Leader - Pato O'Ward - 299 pts
Points Leader - Alex Palou - 263 pts
Alex Palou
Scott Dixon
Pato O'Ward
Alex Palou
August 8                 Music City Grand Prix               Streets of NASHVILLE, TN  -  80 LAPS
Points Leader - Alex Palou - 410 pts
Nearly 100 degree temperatures greeted drivers to the first race on the bumpy streets of Nashville that
featured numerous tight turns and racing across a bridge. Between the lanes and the bridge, the aerial
shots showed this street race
really looked like a street race.  As expected, there were many mishaps
on the tight course over the weekend, with race day experiencing two red flags among a total of 9
cautions during the 80-lap event.
Colton Herta was the favorite as he was the fastest all weekend and
started from pole.  He looked golden during the first half of the race.  While a poor pit timing decision
forced him backward in the pack, it ended up not too bad as the pace car was so slow, he only dropped
back to 4th, and he wasted not time moving into 2nd, behind
Marcus Ericsson.  Herta's next pit stop
dropped him back to 9th, but he was soon behind Ericsson, the leader, once again.  

Ericsson had misjudged the first restart early in the race, ran into the back of
Sebastien Bourdais,
popped a wheelie that was almost completely vertical.  His car crashed to the ground, but was ok, other
than a broken wing.  Bourdais was not as fortunate and his race was over. Even though Ericsson served
a stop and go penalty and started from the back of the field, with good pit strategy and a fast car, he
took the lead of the race and led the last half.  With fading red tires and fuel mileage concerns, Herta
nipped at his heels for the lead.

With 4 laps to go, Herta came in to turn 9 too hard and crashed into the barrier!  It was heartbreaking!  

Another red flag allowed the race to restart with 2 laps to go.  Ericsson held on to capture his 2nd win
of the season, while his teammate
Scott Dixon finished behind him.

Ed Jones was the most improved driver of the day, starting 26th and finishing 6th.

Marcus Ericsson Won Caution-filled Race
August 14        Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix          IMS Road Course -  85 LAPS
Points Leader - Alex Palou - 415 pts
Pato O’Ward started from pole and led the first 15 laps until his first pit stop, then fell back to 4th and
finished in 5th.  
Will Power, having started 2nd, took the lead on lap 21 and led to the end.  This was
Power’s 40th IndyCar victory, but first victory of 2021.

Power had a comfortable 10-second lead over 2nd-place
Colton Herta until he got stuck behind James
for 20 laps, his lead decreasing to 4-seconds.

The race had ran without interruption and then points leader
Alex Palou’s engine let go on lap 67 of 85.
Though he only earned 5 points, he retains the lead with 21 points over
Pato O’Ward.  Meanwhile, his
Scott Dixon, finished down in 17th.  Dixon is 3rd in points.

On the restart, Romain Grosjean took over 2nd place from Herta.

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sebastien Bourdais tangled, knocking Hunter-Reay back from 14th to 23rd.
Rinus Veekay was hit from behind by Scott McLaughlin which brought out the 2nd and last
caution of the day on lap 76.

Herta got around Grosjean with two laps to go, finishing 2nd.

Rounding out the top 6 were
Alex Rossi, Graham Rahal and Jack Harvey.

The weekend was not going well for championship contender
Josef Newgarden.  A pre-race penalty
didn’t help his poor qualifying effort, forcing him to start back in 19th.  Then, an off track excursion with
Max Chilton lost him a place.  He kept working through out the race though and ended up 8th - the
most improved driver of the day.  He is 4th in points.

Will Power won his 5th grand prix on the IMS road course.
August 21                          Bommarito Auto Group 500                     WWT Raceway  -  260 LAPS
Points Leader - Pato O'Ward - 435 pts
A good day for Team Penske - Will Power earned his first pole of the year today, extending his pole-winning
run for a consecutive 13 seasons.  It was the 63rd pole of his career.  While Power went on to finish 3rd,
Penske teammate
Josef Newgarden clinched his second win of the year while teammate Scott McLaughlin
finished 4th.

McLaren driver
Pato O'Ward, finished in 2nd, snaggng his 5th podium of the year.  

Andretti driver
Colton Herta snatched the lead on the second lap and held it until the first pit stop on Lap 58.
Power and Newgarden beat him out of the pits, but the leader became
Sebastien Bourdais - the only driver
that did not pit.  It was a smart strategy from AJ Foyt Racing as Bourdais would be the only driver to finish
the race who made only one green-flag pit stop.  Bourdais went on to finish in 5th, having led a total of 18
laps.  He was the most improved driver of the race, moving up 13 positions from where he started.

Herta took the lead again on lap 139, but a broken drive shaft ended his day on lap 184.

Several top drivers fell from the race due to accidents:
Alex Palou, Scott Dixon, Alex Rossi, Graham
and Rinus VeeKay.  Only 15 of the starting 24 drivers completed the race.  Palou dropped back to
second in the points behind 2nd-place finisher O'Ward, while Newgarden jumped from 5th to 3rd.

Romain Grosjean has had some excellent results this year on road and street courses, but the
Frenchman was not racing the oval circuits.  He changed his mind recently and entered this race.  After the
first pit stop, he suddenly caught fire (pardon the pun) and went on a tear passing car after car, working his
way from 19th to 8th.  For me, this unexpected development was also the most exciting element of the entire
race.  Unfortunately, Grosjean finished a lap down, only ahead of
James Hinchcliffe who was 17 laps down.

St. Louis Race has a 3-wide Parade Lap
2nd-place Pato O'Ward took over points lead while
Josef Newgarden & Will Power brought it home for Team Penske
Sebastien Bourdais finished in
5th place, equaling his best finish
from the first race of the season.
September 12                  Grand Prix of Portland                 Portland Int'l Raceway  -  110 LAPS
Points Leader - Alex Palou - 477 pts
At the start, Scott Dixon got tapped from behind by Felix Rosenqvist as he and his teammate, Alex
, led the field into the first turn.  Dixon could then not make the turn and went off course, forcing
Palou, who was on the outside of him, off as well.  All three cars took the alternate set up turns.  

Romain Grosjean and Oliver Askew both came into the turn too fast, hitting other cars and causing a
melee that resulted in cars missing the turn, getting damaged or getting stalled.

The cars that made it through were led by
Pato O'Ward, the series points leader; followed by Graham

James Hinchcliffe and Helio Castroneves suffered the worst damage and required extensive
repairs. Hinchcliffe was unable to ever return to the race.

Reordering the race order after the incident, IndyCar moved every car that missed the turn behind the
15 cars who made it through.  This looked disastrous for the front runners which also included
, Colton Herta and Alex Rossi in addition to Dixon and Palou.

O'Ward led the first 18 laps under green, but possible mechanical issues may have contributed to him
finishing back in 14th.  
Graham Rahal took over and led to the half-way mark, but he ended the race in
10th - a big disappointment for the veteran driver who has not won in 4 years.

The two Ganassi drivers worked their way back to the front and Palou, who had been fastest in practice
and won the pole, went on to win his 3rd race of the year, moving him back into the points lead.  Rossi
stayed on their tail and finished 2nd while Dixon finished 3rd.

First Lap Chaos in Turn 1
Alex Palou
September 19            Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey        WeatherTech Raceway  -  95 LAPS
Points Leader - Alex Palou - 517 pts
Colton Herta controlled the race from pole, capturing his 2nd win in a row at Laguna Seca.  His father
Bryan Herta
also won twice in a row at the track (1998 &1999.)

Alex Palou, the points leader, finished 2nd.  Only Pato O'Ward now has a decent chance of catching
him for the championship with one race left to go.

Romain Grosjean came out of the pits on the softer red tires in 7th position and drove like the devil!  
Within a few laps, he passed
Simon Pagenaud, Marcus Eriksson, Pato O'Ward and Graham Rahal
for position, plus various backmarkers.  Along the way, he made a daring and dangerous pass on Jimmie
as they headed into the corkscrew.  Grosjean plowed right into him, went airborn and sent
Johnson off track, but luckily they both kept going and no penalty was given. Grosjean finished 3rd and
was the most improved having started the race in 13th.

Look out!  Grosjean coming through!
Colton Herta celebrated the win with his dad.
The Title Fight Between the Top Drivers
September 26          Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach         Streets of Long Beach  -  85 LAPS
Points Leader - Alex Palou - 549 pts
Heading into the last race, only Josef Newgarden and Pato O'Ward had a mathmatical chance of
taking the championship away from
Alex Palou.  Newgarden was energized as he captured pole, while
O'Ward and Palou missed the Fast 6, starting the race from 8th and 10th respectively.  Meanwhile,
Colton Herta who was fastest during practice, qualified back in 14th after hitting the wall.

Part of the track had heavy rubber from previous races, while the other half was much slicker. Combined
with some tight turns, many cars rubbed the wall or hit the tire barriers over the weekend.

O'Ward got hit and spun by
Ed Jones on the first lap which sent O'Ward to the back of the field. His
car was soon out of the race with a broken half-shaft.

Newgarden led the first 18 laps.  
Helio Castroneves led the next 15 laps.  Herta worked his way
through the field and took over the lead on lap 34 and remained in control to the end, winning his 3rd
race of the year.  Palou finished 4th and won the IndyCar championship in only his 2nd season.

Colton Herta with the most
measly trophy in IndyCar
Pato O'Ward's race and title hopes were effectively over on the first lap,
when he got hit and spun by Ed Jones (in the yellow and black car).