(Team Penske on Twitter)
In St. Petersburg, Scott McLaughlin put on an absolute clinic to open up the season. A few weeks later, McLaughlin almost pulled off another dominating win at Texas Motor Speedway until Josef Newgarden passed him coming off Turn Four for the final time to beat him back to the line. On Sunday, Newgarden and Team Penske made it three-for-three to open up the NTT IndyCar Season with an exciting race at the Grad Prix of Long Beach...but it wasn't easy.
With Colton Herta taking the P1 Award on Saturday, he led the field to green with Newgarden close behind to join him on the front row. Herta jumped out to a massive lead by lap five by nearly two seconds over Newgarden. AJ Foyt Racing's Dalton Kellett brought out the first caution of the day by overdriving Turn One and getting into the saftey barrier. Effectively, ending his day.
After the first pit cycle of the day, Alex Palou overtook Newgarden and Herta to take the lead during green flag stops. On the battle out of pit road, Herta took second and Newgarden dropped to third.
A few laps later in a incident similar to what happened at the Nashville Grand Prix, Colton Herta, who was on his in-lap to pit road, had a severe lock-up going into turn nine and hit the outside retaining wall. He limped his way to an access road and ended his day. During this time, Newgarden was able to get out ahead of Palou on the second pit cycle of the day.
On Lap 60, the second caution of the day occurred when Simon Pagenaud and Takuma Sato made contact in the fountain carousel and got mid-pointed on the fountain itself. While that was happening, Romain Grosjean pitted for the soft Firestone tires to make a run to the end in hopes of catching Palou and Newgarden at the front. During the battle between Grosjean and Newgarden, both used the remaining amount of push-to-pass and Newgarden retained the lead.
This battle did not last long as a caution once again descended over the streets of Long Beach, California as Jimmie Johnson lost control and spun, collecting David Malukas. Ending both of their days.
With only five laps to go the race restarted and Grosjean was able to get to the outside of Newgarden as the entered Turn One, but Newgarden was able to hold on until the final caution of the day in which Takuma Sato hit the wall in Turn 8. The race finished under caution as Newgarden picked up his second win of the season.