Colton Herta wins Grand Prix of Long Beach, Alex Palou claims IndyCar Series title

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herta-20210814-getty-ftr (Getty Images)

Fresh off his victory at Laguna Seca last week, Colton Herta once again found himself atop the podium.

The second-generation driver was first across the line at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, taking the checkered flag after starting the race in 14th place. Herta crossed the line 0.5883 seconds ahead of Josef Newgarden after making 13 passes throughout the race.

Born in nearby Santa Clarita, Herta said winning at Long Beach was "on the bucket list."

"I'm super happy," Herta told NBC Sports Network. "What a way to cap off the year."

Meanwhile, Alex Palou had even more reason to celebrate as his fourth-place finish on Sunday was more than enough to clinch the IndyCar Series championship.

Palou entered the race with a 35-point lead on Pato O'Ward, who was forced off the track on the 18th lap with a broken drive shaft. O'Ward would later return to the track but his championship hopes were already over, leaving Newgarden (48 points back to start the race) as the only other challenger to Palou's title aspirations.

While Newgarden's second-place finish did eat into Palou's lead, it wasn't enough to keep the 24-year-old Spaniard from claiming the Astor Cup.

"What a race, what a year, what a season," Palou told NBC Sports Network moments after becoming the first Spaniard to win the IndyCar series championship. "I'm super proud to be a champion."

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