Colton Herta fended off Josef Newgarden to win the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach as Alex Palou claimed his maiden NTT IndyCar Series title.
Three drivers went into the finale, but it swiftly became two after Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward was tagged by Ed Jones on the opening lap and sent the Mexican spinning to the back of the field, eventually retiring.
Despite several cautions littering the opening half of the race, Herta swiftly recovered from his lowly qualifying position to move up from 14th on the grid to put himself in contention for the win.
Newgarden had looked to be in command of the race in the early stages as he chased down an outside shot of the title, however, he couldn’t hold back the pace of Herta and would have to settle for second place.
Scott Dixon ensured he filled Newgarden’s mirrors throughout the 85-lap race in the No.9 PNC Bank-Honda to round out the final spot on the podium.
Palou had a tricky opening stint to the race and dropped places as he tried to protect his car, but this did not stop the Spaniard from working a solid strategy to round out the season with fourth place and his claiming first IndyCar title.
In what could have been his final race for Team Penske, Simon Pagenaud put in an impressive performance to finish in fifth ahead of Alexander Rossi, who was unable to score three wins in a row around Long Beach.
Jack Harvey also had a strong recovery from a poor qualifying session; the Briton would finish in seventh after coming up 18 places as he departs Meyer Shank Racing for a team yet to be announced.
Four-time series champion Sebastien Bourdais came to a stop on the opening lap but would put together a strong race with the A.J Foyt team to come back to eighth after starting 22nd.
Takuma Sato finished ninth ahead of Will Power to round out the top 10.
As Palou celebrates his maiden title, the Rookie Of The Year award has gone to Scott McLaughlin after Romain Grosjean suffered mechanical issues mid-race before retiring with six laps remaining.
The NTT IndyCar Series will return to racing action on the streets of St.Petersburg, Florida on February 27.