Dre’s Race Review: IndyCar’s 2024 Grand Prix of Monterrey

Just in case you forgot – Alex Palou is HIM. That’s it, that’s the preview.

Never miss a post

Sign up for our monthly newsletter so you don’t miss any posts or updates!

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us. By subscribing, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with our privacy policy.

Dre Harrison Reviews



Read time: 6 mins

“Hello again, Palou”

Oh, IndyCar. You can never have a quiet one in the state of California can you? It was time for the series to head to Monterrey and Laguna Seca Raceway in its newly adjusted mid-season slot as Nashville takes over as the finale. And in case y’all forget – IndyCar, even at its most chaotic, is still Alex Palou’s house. Even if the Racing Gods were desperate to send him a repossession letter. Let’s get into the carnage that was the 2024 GP of Monterrey.

Palou qualified on pole for just the seventh time in his career, but immediately had to play second fiddle in the opening stint as Kyle Kirkwood passed him around the outside of the Andretti hairpin on the opening lap, then tried to play a game of fuel-saving by backing the wagon up. He was trying to take advantage of the track’s nature of it being so difficult to pass, and it nearly worked, until an undercut from Alex Rossi’s fourth-placed McLaren gave him the edge after the first round of stops.

They put Palou back out on the harder, black compound tire, and immediately, the vibes felt off. The early threat in the midfield was Scott McLaughlin on the softer, red-rimmed alternate tire, with rubber in general lasting longer than expected due to the track being cooler than usual despite the Cali climate. The red tyre felt like the right one to be on, and after Dixon botched Road America in similar fashion and Palou had his own dodgy stint on the wrong tire in Detroit, I thought the Ganassi strategy department had got it wrong. 

But after an early caution landed via a Luca Ghiotto crash, Palou stayed out while everyone else came in for a top-up and fresh tyres. Palou was given clean air to stretch out as large a lead as he could. And he obliterated the field while the other leaders were now in a conga line dealing with those who stayed out. In the 16 laps between the end of the Caution period and Palou’s second stop, he pulled out a 22-second lead on net leader Colton Herta and single-handedly drove himself back into contention, slotting in behind Herta, Rossi and back ahead of Kirkwood. From there, his pace on two red tyre stints was sublime, easily closing in on Rossi and Herta, taking the lead on Lap 64 at the Corkscrew and never losing it again, even as the race descended into chaos down the stretch.

Now spoiler alert – Palou goes onto win this one, but there were threats behind with three late cautions forcing the Spaniard to take risky restarts to defend his position. First on Lap 78 after Christian Lundgaard took Marcus Armstrong out at Turn 3, with Josef Newgarden running off-sequence hitting the jackpot via the series tendencies with throwing cautions (More on that later). Newgarden ran wide before the Rahal straight and fell back, but not before another caution for Jack Harvey’s car catching fire on pit exit. Palou nearly lost that lead after a twitch on the final corner of the restart zone. He didn’t make that mistake the third time after a final caution for a two car-wreck initiated by the far too-online Agustin Canapino, hitting Kyffin Simpson into a spin that collected Graham Rahal. 

None of it mattered. Palou was almost unflappable, and virtually unstoppable. In his four visits to Laguna Seca, this was his second victory in Monterrey and he still has a 100% podium finishing rate. After a title campaign that looked consistent but maybe not as spectacular, Palou stuffed the entire IndyCar field into a locker and made them look silly. An astounding performance that rightly gave him the Championship lead back after nearly everyone around him tripped over each other. 

After his brilliant Le Mans debut last week, there’s only one driver on the planet that I think is as good as him. And I’m not even sure about that one. Astonishing. 

For the love of christ IndyCar, please stop this bullshit of delaying cautions until the leader pits. It’s bollocks. You have the best safety team in all of Motorsport and you undermine their brilliance with your insistence that you have to be “fair” to the car leading. It’s bollocks on so many levels. For one, Motorsport isn’t “fair”. Part of the intrigue of running an alternate strategy is the risk of a caution dropping at a bad time due to the very nature of the series rules that close the pits when the caution drops. And more importantly, leaving a car stranded without anyone being able to approach it for seconds, sometimes over a minute while cars can come past at still dangerous speeds is horrible and wrong. 

There are so many easy ways to fix this problem by just borrowing from other series. You could borrow from the boogeyman in Formula 1 and just keep the pits open during a Caution. You could easily borrow their “Virtual Safety Car” system and have a full course yellow protocol. Or even take from the WEC or other Endurance Racing series like the Nurburgring and have a Code 60 or “Slow Zone” system in certain microsectors if you really don’t think you have to throw a yellow for the whole track. They’re ALL better systems than what IndyCar has right now. 

But everyone to their credit in the Top 5, drove really well for their results and deserved their flowers. Colton Herta copped some flack for his bottle under pressure, but that was an excellent performance to finish second, he just didn’t have Palou’s pace. Alex Rossi’s pace when pushing was outstanding, he wins on a different day strategy wise, great podium. Romain Grosjean had Juncos’ best ever finish in fourth, bringing himself into play following Palou’s lead. Good for Brad. 

And Kyle Kirkwood’s making this a habit, his third-straight Top 5 finish in fifth, and now is in the Top 5 of the overall standings. Quietly, a driver of the year candidate is blossoming over there at Andretti, and it’s not Colton.

I love that this was the weekend that everyone we all collectively got fed up with Santino Ferrucci’s shit after he got a 5-minute stop & hold in warm-ups for brake-checking Grosjean for no good reason, and then got a “Drop 6 Positions” penalty for blocking Christian Rasmussen. When James Hinchcliife is saying: “Just fight in the parking lot already” when his co-commentator has a …”vested interest” in the American, it kinda says it all. And you know what the funniest part of it is? Ferrucci’s taking eyes away from his genuine breakout season. Laguna Seca was Ferrucci’s fifth Top 10 finish in the first eight races. Just a thought…

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but BOTH knowingly cheating in a racing series and releasing a shitty statement about it, AND treating drivers like dirt on their contracts are both bad, and Motorsport is better without both of these nasty traits. It’s not a race to the bottom here, folks. 

I do love that Penske went from dominating Road America with a 1-2-3 to Josef Newgarden blowing an easy second via two silly mistakes down the stretch, Scott McLaughlin took himself out of the race via a mistimed divebomb on teammate Will Power, with the Aussie coming back from last to shithouse seventh. Wild. 

The #FreeLundgaard campaign has been suspended until further notice. No further questions at this difficult time. The campaign though would like to endorse Louis Foster for his double win in Indy NXT and taking control of the Championship. For all the hype that Jamie Chadwick has gotten back home for being the traveling star, it’s easy to forget that Foster has been better in the series from Day 1 and it feels far less likely he’ll be promoted into the top flight. Someone hire that man. 

I hope you enjoyed the final IndyCar race ran purely on an Internal Combustion Engine. At Mid-Ohio, the hybrid era begins. Big fan of mid-season regulation changes, me… 

And finally, delighted to see that NBC acknowledged Pride Month and the DHL Pride livery on Alex Palou’s winning car yesterday. A reminder that Motorsport should be for everyone and if you don’t believe in that, you’re not welcome on my page. Thank you.

About the Author:

Dre Harrison

Somehow can now call himself a Production Coordinator at the Motorsport Network, coming off the back of being part of the awkward Johto Era at WTF1. All off a University Project that went massively out of hand. Weird huh?

Motorsport101 uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Click here to read more.


What are you looking for?