The result of a vote Tuesday by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors will bring the IndyCar Series back to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in 2019.
The first event within the three-year agreement will take place Sept. 20–22. As the final round of the 2019 season, that weekend will mark the return of Indy car racing to the 2.238-mile permanent road course near Monterey, California after it hosted top-level open-wheel events from 1983 to 2004.
A streak that lasted from 1989 to 1996 of Laguna Seca hosting the season finale will begin again next year as Sonoma Raceway steps aside as the host of the final race and any IndyCar race at all.
More than two decades of Indy car history at Laguna Seca include four consecutive victories for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing co-owner Bobby Rahal along with multiple wins for Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy, Bryan Herta and Patrick Carpentier.
Alex Zanardi’s storied pass on Herta through the Corkscrew turn to win the 1996 race is lauded as a highlight of IndyCar’s past. Two years earlier, Mario Andretti’s farewell drive marks another instance of generational history that will continue at Laguna Seca in September 2019 and beyond.
“I can’t imagine a more attractive destination location for INDYCAR’s season finale,” Hulman & Company President and CEO Mark 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.”
With the Laguna Seca event situated one week later than the current Sonoma finale, there could be a long wait of three weeks between the final two races of 2019, should Portland International Raceway retain its position on the first weekend of September.
As INDYCAR’s exclusive television and digital media rights partner starting next year, the NBC Sports Group will carry live television coverage of the INDYCAR Monterey Grand Prix in just over 430 days.