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Race Report: Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey

MONTEREY, Calif. (June 23, 2024) -- Despite being at one of the prettiest race tracks in the NTT INDYCAR Series, the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey was anything but pretty. Five cautions and nine penalties were issued over the course of the 95-lap race Sunday afternoon.


Facing several challenges in the race, Santino Ferrucci scored another top-10 finish in the No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet and Sting Ray Robb came back from an off-track excursion to finish 20th.


Ferrucci, who started 17th, jumped to 14th within a couple of laps, and moved into 13th after his first pit stop. He cycled up to sixth on lap 37 when seven of the leaders took advantage of a full course caution for Luca Ghiotto's contact in Turn 4.

When he pitted again on lap 52, he was back in twelfth (having been passed by the leaders before he made it to his pitbox) and he emerged in 17th due to a slight problem on the stop. In six laps he was back to 13th. However, the next lap he was penalized for blocking rookie Christian Rasmussen and told to give up six positions putting him behind rookie Kyffin Simpson. Ferrucci objected saying Rasmussen had blocked him the corner before but he complied. It didn't take him long to get back to 13th.


A scramble through the Corkscrew on lap 79 saw Ferrucci gain three positions to move into 10th. When Josef Newgarden spun off track with two laps remaining, Ferrucci moved into ninth which is where he finished. It is his fifth top-10 of the season and he remains 12th in the standings.

Ferrucci chats with race engineer James Schnable after the race.

“Another top-10," said Ferrucci afterwards. "Honestly, we’re kind of on a streak right now. If it wasn’t, obviously, for the hiccup at Road America. Pretty bummed in myself though because I feel like I let the guys down with the blocking penalty. I think we missed out on a chance to get a little closer to the top-five. The good thing is, we’re on a roll right now. We’ve got solid momentum. We’ll work on getting qualifying up, and it’ll be there.”


The 41 crew hard at work to repair the car after it hit the wall in the race day warmup.

For Robb's crew, it was a race just to make it to the starting grid with the No. 41 Chevrolet due to an accident in the Sunday afternoon warmup. Robb was not hurt but the car sustained substantial damage -- enough to make some observers wonder if it could be repaired in the just over two hours the crew had to fix it. The heroic effort paid off as Robb made it to the grid on time although some of the over-wall-crew were changing into their firesuits during the start of the pre-race ceremonies.

In the race, Robb lost radio communication early where he could not talk to the pitstand nor hear his spotter and could only hear his race strategist on the frontstretch. His troubles continued because he spun off course but managed to keep his engine running and rejoin the field thus avoid causing a full course caution. He placed 20th and remains 23rd in the standings.


“Well, that was a terrible day, but considering all things, I think that we came out decent," summed up the 22-year-old Idahoan. "This morning really set us back. My mistake there in warm-up, putting it in the wall, that was impressive for the team to put the car back together that quick. I definitely owe them a dinner and a few drinks. Super proud of them, super thankful for them. They work so hard, and I’m happy that we were able to get back out there for the race. The race didn’t really go as we wanted but considering the scramble ahead of the race to get the car back together, I think that it was pretty good. The Goodheart Chevy felt pretty good.


"Huge thank you to the Goodheart and partners. We had a few of those guys here with us this weekend. Litho Press was here with us as well. It's great to have the support of friends, family and our partners."


Alex Palou swept the card winning the race from the pole position. Second through fifth were: Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, Romain Grosjean and Kyle Kirkwood.


The team heads to Iowa Speedway this week to test the hybrid engine on the short oval on Thursday. The next round for the NTT INDYCAR Series is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio which will be televised on NBC Sunday, July 7th starting at 1:30 p.m. ET. 






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