Colton Herta wins at Monterey; Alex Palou keeps points lead

9/19/2021 8:28:07 PM EST

Colton Herta reached victory lane for the second time this season, beating out IndyCar Series points leader Alex Palou of Spain to win the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Sunday in California.

The driver of the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda for Andretti Autosport, Herta started in the pole position, led 91 of 95 laps and finished 1.9747 seconds ahead of Palou at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Herta, a Californian himself, also won this event in 2019. His father, Bryan Herta, won the race in 1998 and 1999.

"I enjoy racing here so much," Herta said. "It's an amazing track for me and my family. It's been so good to us. To go two-for-two so far (at Laguna Seca) is great. We were fast all weekend, and I'm glad we could pull it off in the race."

Palou will be happy with his runner-up finish, as he grew his points lead over second-place Pato O'Ward of Mexico to 35 entering next week's season finale in Long Beach, Calif. Palou has 517 points to O'Ward's 482.

According to IndyCar, Palou, O'Ward and Josef Newgarden are the only three racers mathematically in contention to win the Astor Challenge Cup next week. Newgarden is 48 points behind Palou for third place at 469.

Romain Grosjean of France led the four laps that Herta did not at Laguna Seca and grabbed third place.

Graham Rahal and O'Ward rounded out the top five.

--Field Level Media

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