For the first time since 2004, Indy cars will roam the winding WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca when the Verizon IndyCar Series returns in 2019. The Monterey, California track will host next season’s championship finale, placing doubt in the status of Sonoma Raceway’s relationship with INDYCAR.
The 2.238-mile road course hosted CART and IndyCar races from 1983 through the final event in 2004. Laguna Seca was even the site of the championship finale for 14 years, from 1989 to 1996.
A tight, narrow and challenging course with elevation changes and picturesque sightlines, a return to Laguna Seca will be a new challenge for many of IndyCar’s current stars.
Mark Miles, Hulman & Company’s president and CEO, was one of the facilitators in bringing IndyCar action back to Monterey. The racing executive is excited to shift the open-wheel finale’s focus from Sonoma to Laguna, creating new opportunities as the Verizon IndyCar Series strives for more growth.
“I can’t imagine a more attractive destination location for INDYCAR’s season finale,” Miles said. “Monterey is a place people want to be, and we will bring all of our guests. I think it’s a great choice for us.”
As the current CEO of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Timothy McGrane understands the importance of bringing another major sporting event to Laguna Seca to supplement their IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship date.
“The return of INDYCAR to its spiritual road racing home of Laguna Seca is a tremendous honor and testament to the appeal of Monterey, and through the support of the County of Monterey will provide a significant economic benefit to our area businesses,” said McGrane.
“We are looking forward to creating more memories in race fans’ minds like Bobby Rahal’s four consecutive Indy car wins from 1984-1987, Mario Andretti’s farewell race in 1994 and Alex Zanardi’s last-lap overtaking of Bryan Herta in the Corkscrew in 1996 that simply became known as ‘The Pass.'”
Another important point to mention is that next year’s race at Laguna Seca will be the final telecast in NBC’s full IndyCar slate. The NBC Sports brand will broadcast each IndyCar event in 2019 and they would surely like to see another daring move such as Zanardi’s pass in 1996.
“We commend INDYCAR for returning to Laguna Seca, a historic track and an inspired place for the 2019 season finale,” Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports said.
“The 2019 season will be our first as the exclusive media rights partner of INDYCAR, and we could not be more pleased to broadcast the championship from beautiful Monterrey.”
The final race in what is expected to be a 17-round championship, the Verizon IndyCar Series will visit WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca from Friday, September 20 to Sunday, September 22, 2019.