Race Report: 2021 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

2021 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama logo

Barber Motorsports Park
April 18, 2021

Top Five

RankDriverCar No.Laps LedPoints
1Alex Palou105653
2Will Power12441
3Scott Dixon9-35
4Pato O'Ward52534
5Sebastien Bourdais14431

Post-Race

Box ScoreView PDF
Event SummaryView PDF
Lap ChartView PDF
Leader Lap SummaryView PDF
Pit Stop SummaryView PDF
Top Section TimesView PDF
Section ResultsView PDF

Preview

The NTT IndyCar Series' 11th visit to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama serves as the season opener for the 2021 season, featuring a diverse lineup of 24 drivers across 10 teams. The 2.3-mile road course will play host to the debuts of three IndyCar rookies: seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, former Formula One driver Romain Grosjean and Supercars Championship veteran Scott McLaughlin.

Barber winners Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Takuma Sato will join the rookies on track alongside perennial title contenders Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi. Despite no longer being first-year drivers, Dalton Kellett, Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay will make their first starts at the Alabama circuit due to its event's cancellation in 2020.

Unlike previous years, the race weekend will span two days rather than three with two practices and qualifying on Saturday followed by a morning warm-up and the 90-lap race on Sunday. The event marks the beginning of a hectic stretch for the series, with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg following one week later on April 25 and the Texas Motor Speedway doubleheader two weeks out on May 1 and 2.

Use the tabs or menu above to view session results, schedule, entrant facts, weather forecast, track facts and history.

Sessions

Results

Race

RankDriverCar No.StartLapsTotal TimeLaps LedStatusPointsAvg. SpeedPit Stops
1Alex Palou1039001:52:53.036156Running53110.0252
2Will Power1249001:52:53.43774Running41110.0182
3Scott Dixon959001:52:56.0242-Running35109.9762
4Pato O'Ward519001:52:57.010225Running34109.9603
5Sebastien Bourdais14169001:53:03.73284Running31109.8513
6Rinus VeeKay21149001:53:06.91111Running29109.8004
7Graham Rahal15189001:53:11.7748-Running26109.7213
8Marcus Ericsson869001:53:13.1061-Running24109.6992
9Alexander Rossi2729001:53:13.5962-Running22109.6923
10Romain Grosjean5179001:53:38.1166-Running20109.2972
11Jack Harvey60119001:53:43.1149-Running19109.2173
12Simon Pagenaud22159001:53:52.0883-Running18109.0743
13Takuma Sato30199001:53:58.6248-Running17108.9693
14Scott McLaughlin3129001:53:59.0923-Running16108.9623
15Ed Jones18139001:54:01.4454-Running15108.9243
16Conor Daly20109001:54:02.1437-Running14108.9133
17James Hinchcliffe29248901:53:17.6795-Running13108.4083
18Dalton Kellett4238901:53:55.7998-Running12107.8034
19Jimmie Johnson48218701:53:29.3036-Running11105.7913
20Max Chilton59208601:53:15.9785-Running10104.7805
21Felix Rosenqvist7226201:38:14.8727-Contact987.0864
22Colton Herta2692501:24:02.4621-Contact841.0512
23Josef Newgarden28000:00:00.5585-Contact70.0000
24Ryan Hunter-Reay2817000:00:01.4886-Contact60.0000
— Race: Results (PDF) | Back to the session list

Session Notes:

  • Just prior to the start of the race, the ambient temperature at Barber Motorsports Park was 68 degrees under partly sunny skies. The track temperature was 115 degrees according to Firestone engineers.
  • All cars started and were rolling on the grid after the command was issued at 2:38 p.m. CDT.
  • O'Ward held the lead on the start, but a multi-car incident in Turn 5 on Lap 1 brought out the first full-course caution. Involved in the incident were Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Max Chilton, Felix Rosenqvist and Colton Herta.
  • The race's second full-course caution came out on Lap 9 with Jimmie Johnson spun the No. 48 Honda in Turn 13.
  • Alex Palou's victory was his first of 2021 and the first of his NTT IndyCar Series career in his debut race for Chip Ganassi Racing.
  • Palou's effort marked the 114th Indy car victory for cars owned by Chip Ganassi. It was also CGR's first victory at Barber. The team had previously amassed six second-place finishes with Scott Dixon.
  • Palou became the 14th driver to score an Indy car victory for CGR.
  • Will Power's second finish marked his best finish at Barber since his victory in 2012.
  • Dixon's third-place finish is his ninth podium at Barber in 11 starts.

Warm-Up

RankDriverCar No.Best TimeOn LapBest SpeedTotal LapsDifferenceGap
1Graham Rahal1501:06.731919124.07923--.------.----
2Romain Grosjean5101:06.861620123.838240.12970.1297
3Sebastien Bourdais1401:06.864218123.833210.13230.0026
4Alex Palou1001:06.86549123.831220.13350.0012
5Conor Daly2001:06.91869123.732240.18670.0532
6Scott Dixon901:06.92099123.728200.18900.0023
7Colton Herta2601:06.937117123.698200.20520.0162
8Rinus VeeKay2101:06.963221123.650250.23130.0261
9Ryan Hunter-Reay2801:06.963515123.649210.23160.0003
10Pato O'Ward501:06.990419123.600240.25850.0269
11Josef Newgarden201:07.016610123.551240.28470.0262
12Alexander Rossi2701:07.088312123.419180.35640.0717
13Scott McLaughlin301:07.283120123.062240.55120.1948
14Felix Rosenqvist701:07.340711122.957240.60880.0576
15Dalton Kellett401:07.372014122.900210.64010.0313
16Will Power1201:07.394021122.860240.66210.0220
17Simon Pagenaud2201:07.450319122.757220.71840.0563
18Jack Harvey6001:07.526216122.619200.79430.0759
19Takuma Sato3001:07.528618122.615210.79670.0024
20Marcus Ericsson801:07.673415122.352220.94150.1448
21James Hinchcliffe2901:07.704212122.297200.97230.0308
22Max Chilton5901:07.921710121.905231.18980.2175
23Ed Jones1801:07.940612121.871231.20870.0189
24Jimmie Johnson4801:08.159714121.479241.42780.2191
— Warm-up: Results | Back to the session list

Session Notes:

  • Morning warm-up for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was free of incidents.
  • All 24 drivers participated and turned a total of 534 laps, led by a session-high 25 laps by Rinus VeeKay.
  • The three rookies in the field — Romain Grosjean, Scott McLaughlin and Jimmie Johnson — found themselves spread throughout the final order, with Grosjean second fastest, McLaughlin in 13th and Johnson last.

Qualifying

Firestone Fast Six
RankDriverCar No.Best TimeBest SpeedBest LapTotal LapsDifferenceGap
1Pato O'Ward501:05.8479125.74412--.------.----
2Alexander Rossi2701:05.9177125.611340.06980.0698
3Alex Palou1001:06.0538125.352120.20590.1361
4Will Power1201:06.1186125.23440.27070.0648
5Scott Dixon901:06.3976124.703220.54970.2790
6Marcus Ericsson801:06.4102124.68220.56230.0126
— Firestone Fast Six: Results (PDF) | Overall Results (PDF) | Back to session list

Session Notes:

  • Pato O'ward's pole position was his first of 2021 and the second of his NTT IndyCar Series career. He previously won pole at Race 2 at Road America in 2020.
  • The achievement marked the ninth pole for Arrow McLaren SP.
  • Both Alexander Rossi and Alex Palou had their best qualifying performance at Barber Motorsports Park. Rossi's previous best was eighth in 2018 and 2019, while Palou is enjoying his first race at Barber. Palou's third place starting position matches his previous best, when he started third at the second Road America race in July 2020.

Round 2
RankDriverCar No.Best TimeBest SpeedBest LapTotal LapsDifferenceGap
1Pato O'Ward501:05.5019126.40967--.------.----
2Will Power1201:05.5226126.369770.02070.0207
3Alex Palou1001:05.6328126.156770.13090.1102
4Marcus Ericsson801:05.6614126.101770.15950.0286
5Scott Dixon901:05.6863126.054770.18440.0249
6Alexander Rossi2701:05.6953126.036660.19340.0090
7Romain Grosjean5101:05.7643125.904670.26240.0690
8Josef Newgarden201:05.7902125.855660.28830.0259
9Colton Herta2601:05.7957125.844660.29380.0055
10Conor Daly2001:05.9118125.622660.40990.1161
11Jack Harvey6001:05.9634125.524560.46150.0516
12Scott McLaughlin301:06.7226124.096661.22070.7592
— Round 2: Results (PDF) | Back to session list

Session Notes:

  • At the conclusion of Round 2 qualifying, Pato O'Ward's 1:05.5019 established a new Barber Motorsports Park event qualifying record.
  • The six cars that advanced to the Firestone Fast Six were separated by 0.19 second. Romain Grosjean missed advancing to Round 3 by 0.0690 seconds.
  • Four teams advanced to the Firestone Fast Six comprised of four Hondas and two Chevrolets.

Round 1 Group 2
RankDriverCar No.Best TimeBest SpeedBest LapTotal LapsDifferenceGap
1Pato O'Ward501:06.0696125.32245--.------.----
2Romain Grosjean5101:06.0709125.32460.00130.0013
3Conor Daly2001:06.1033125.258450.03370.0324
4Alexander Rossi2701:06.2344125.011550.16480.1311
5Scott Dixon901:06.3775124.741460.30790.1431
6Colton Herta2601:06.4282124.646560.35860.0507
7Rinus VeeKay2101:06.4770124.554460.40740.0488
8Sebastien Bourdais1401:06.5035124.505450.43390.0265
9Graham Rahal1501:06.8489123.861560.77930.3454
10Max Chilton5901:07.0021123.578550.93250.1532
11Felix Rosenqvist701:07.0254123.535350.95580.0233
12James Hinchcliffe29No Time0010.00000.0000
— Round 1 Group 2: Results (PDF) | Back to session list

Session Notes:

  • Two minutes into the session, James Hinchcliffe made contact with the barrier in Turn 5, bringing out a red flag for three minutes. Hinchcliffe lost his two fastest laps and was unable to advance for causing a red flag.
  • Near the end of the session, Felix Rosenqvist went off track at Turn 17, bringing out a local yellow that cost him his fastest lap. Fifth at the time, the incident dropped him out of the top six.

Round 1 Group 1
RankDriverCar No.Best TimeBest SpeedBest LapTotal LapsDifferenceGap
1Alex Palou1001:05.9032125.63967--.------.----
2Will Power1201:05.9191125.609770.01590.0159
3Josef Newgarden201:06.3881124.721670.48490.4690
4Scott McLaughlin301:06.4552124.595550.55200.0671
5Marcus Ericsson801:06.4992124.513670.59600.0440
6Jack Harvey6001:06.5234124.467560.62020.0242
7Ed Jones1801:06.5578124.403670.65460.0344
8Simon Pagenaud2201:06.6480124.235770.74480.0902
9Ryan Hunter-Reay2801:06.8512123.857670.94800.2032
10Takuma Sato3001:07.1026123.393671.19940.2514
11Jimmie Johnson4801:07.7092122.288671.80600.6066
12Dalton Kellett401:07.8100122.106671.90680.1008
— Round 1 Group 1: Results (PDF) | Back to session list

Session Notes:

  • At the start of qualifying, the ambient temperature was 73 degrees and the track temperature was 102 degrees according to Firestone engineers. Skies were partly cloudy.
  • At the checkered flag, Alex Palou was the fastest of the group. His 1:05.9032 represented an event qualifying record at Barber Motorsports Park.

Practice 2

RankDriverCar No.Best TimeOn LapBest SpeedTotal LapsDifferenceGap
1Alexander Rossi2701:06.079718125.30318--.------.----
2Marcus Ericsson801:06.219018125.040180.13930.1393
3Scott Dixon901:06.301817124.883170.22210.0828
4Alex Palou1001:06.320417124.848180.24070.0186
5Felix Rosenqvist701:06.394812124.709140.31510.0744
6Ed Jones1801:06.474715124.559160.39500.0799
7Pato O'Ward501:06.515015124.483150.43530.0403
8Will Power1201:06.523017124.468200.44330.0080
9Conor Daly2001:06.559311124.400140.47960.0363
10Jack Harvey6001:06.589414124.344170.50970.0301
11Sebastien Bourdais1401:06.622218124.283190.54250.0328
12Scott McLaughlin301:06.664315124.204180.58460.0421
13James Hinchcliffe2901:06.679312124.176130.59960.0150
14Josef Newgarden201:06.716116124.108170.63640.0368
15Colton Herta2601:06.75519124.035110.67540.0390
16Ryan Hunter-Reay2801:06.788513123.973150.70880.0334
17Romain Grosjean5101:06.856117123.848170.77640.0676
18Simon Pagenaud2201:07.097018123.403211.01730.2409
19Rinus VeeKay2101:07.09956123.399141.01980.0025
20Takuma Sato3001:07.276419123.074191.19670.1769
21Max Chilton5901:07.304717123.023171.22500.0283
22Dalton Kellett401:07.464514122.731171.38480.1598
23Graham Rahal1501:07.468117122.725201.38840.0036
24Jimmie Johnson4801:07.88217121.976171.80240.4140
— Practice 2: Results | Back to the session list

Session Notes:

  • The second session of the weekend and the final practice before qualifying was 45 minutes in duration.
  • The session was slowed by three red flags:
    • Sixteen minutes into the session, Dalton Kellett spun at the exit of Turn 5.
    • At the 24-minute mark, Colton Herta ran wide and mad contact with the barrier in Turn 2.
    • For minutes before the scheduled end of the session, Josef Newgarden stopped on course on the frontstretch.
  • Due to the final red flag occurring so late int he session, INDYCAR extended the session to give all drivers one additional timed lap.
  • The top 10 drivers at the session's conclusion were faster than the established qualifying record, a 1:06:6001 set in 2016 by Sebastien Bourdais in a KVSH Racing Chevrolet.

Practice 1

RankDriverCar No.Best TimeOn LapBest SpeedTotal LapsDifferenceGap
1Alex Palou1001:06.472110124.56418--.------.----
2Colton Herta2601:06.48976124.531160.01760.0176
3Josef Newgarden201:06.49576124.519140.02360.0060
4Scott Dixon901:06.55246124.413120.08030.0567
5Pato O'Ward501:06.62816124.272110.15600.0757
6Alexander Rossi2701:06.630710124.267140.15860.0026
7Will Power1201:06.73416124.074160.26200.1034
8Scott McLaughlin301:06.749911124.045170.27780.0158
9Marcus Ericsson801:06.79998123.952180.32780.0500
10Felix Rosenqvist701:06.843510123.871100.37140.0436
11Conor Daly2001:06.86995123.823170.39780.0264
12Ryan Hunter-Reay2801:06.877710123.808140.40560.0078
13Ed Jones1801:07.057511123.476160.58540.1798
14James Hinchcliffe2901:07.10729123.385150.63510.0497
15Sebastien Bourdais1401:07.23109123.157120.75890.1238
16Simon Pagenaud2201:07.23249123.155180.76030.0014
17Jack Harvey6001:07.248511123.125170.77640.0161
18Graham Rahal1501:07.310011123.013220.83790.0615
19Rinus VeeKay2101:07.31577123.003170.84360.0057
20Takuma Sato3001:07.53496122.603181.06280.2192
21Romain Grosjean5101:07.55347122.570191.08130.0185
22Dalton Kellett401:07.727610122.254171.25550.1742
23Max Chilton5901:07.76546122.186161.29330.0378
24Jimmie Johnson4801:07.950916121.853221.47880.1855
— Practice 1: Results | Back to the session list

Session Notes:

  • The first session of the two-day Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama weekend was 45 minutes in duration.
  • Mostly free of on-track incidents, practice stopped once for Felix Rosenqvist, whose car stopped near the entrance to the pits after making contact with the outside pit wall barrier.
  • The top four drivers at the session's conclusion were faster than the established track qualifying record, a 1:06:6001 set in 2016 by Sebastien Bourdais in a KVSH Racing Chevrolet.

Green Flag2:42 p.m. CDT *
Drivers Start Your Engines2:35 p.m.
Race Broadcast3 p.m. EDT on NBC
Qualifying4:45 p.m. Saturday on Peacock Premium
Qualifying Broadcast10 p.m. EDT Saturday on NBCSN (tape delayed)
Practice Sessions10–10:45 a.m. Saturday
1:40–2:25 p.m. Saturday
10:30–11 a.m. Sunday (warm-up)
Full Weekend ScheduleView PDF
Live Timing and ScoringINDYCAR Race Control and INDYCAR Mobile app (iOS, Android).
Radio BroadcastINDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 211, XM 205, IndyCar.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app (iOS, Android).
Video StreamingAll NTT IndyCar Series practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.
* All times are in Central Daylight Time unless otherwise noted. View the green-flag time in all time zones.

Starting LineupView Table
Qualifications GroupsView PDF
Entry ListView Table
Spotter GuideView
Pit AssignmentsView PDF
Push-to-Pass Parameters200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.
Tires Available per EntrySix sets primary, four sets alternate, one additional set available for rookies for use in first practice.

Starting Lineup

SPCar No.DriverEngineTire
15Pato O'WardChevroletAlternate
227Alexander RossiHondaAlternate
310Alex PalouHondaAlternate
412Will PowerChevroletAlternate
59Scott DixonHondaAlternate
68Marcus EricssonHondaAlternate
751Romain Grosjean (R)HondaAlternate
82Josef NewgardenChevroletPrimary
926Colton HertaHondaPrimary
1020Conor DalyChevroletAlternate
1160Jack HarveyHondaAlternate
123Scott McLaughlin (R)ChevroletAlternate
1318Ed JonesHondaAlternate
1421Rinus VeeKayChevroletAlternate
1522Simon PagenaudChevroletAlternate
1614Sebastien BourdaisChevroletAlternate
1728Ryan Hunter-ReayHondaAlternate
1815Graham RahalHondaAlternate
1930Takuma SatoHondaAlternate
2059Max ChiltonChevroletPrimary
2148Jimmie Johnson (R)HondaPrimary
227Felix RosenqvistChevroletAlternate
234Dalton KellettChevroletAlternate
2429James HinchcliffeHondaAlternate
(R) Rookie
— Starting Lineup: PDF

Entry List

Car No.DriverHometownSponsorTeamEngine
2Josef NewgardenNashville, Tennessee, USAHitachiTeam PenskeChevrolet
3Scott McLaughlin (R)Christchurch, New ZealandPPGTeam PenskeChevrolet
4Dalton KellettStouffville, CanadaAJ Foyt RacingAJ Foyt RacingChevrolet
5Pato O'WardMonterrey, MexicoArrow McLaren SPArrow McLaren SPChevrolet
7Felix RosenqvistVärnamo, SwedenArrow McLaren SPArrow McLaren SPChevrolet
8Marcus EricssonKumla, SwedenHuski ChocolateChip Ganassi RacingHonda
9Scott DixonAuckland, New ZealandPNC BankChip Ganassi RacingHonda
10Alex PalouBarcelona, SpainChip Ganassi RacingChip Ganassi RacingHonda
12Will PowerToowoomba, AustraliaVerizon 5GTeam PenskeChevrolet
14Sebastien BourdaisLe Mans, FranceAJ Foyt RacingAJ Foyt RacingChevrolet
15Graham RahalNew Albany, Ohio, USACode 3 AssociatesRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda
18Ed JonesDubai, United Arab EmiratesSealMasterDale Coyne Racing with Vasser SullivanHonda
20Conor DalyNoblesville, Indiana, USAU.S. Air ForceEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet
21Rinus VeeKayHoofddorp, NetherlandsSonax / AutogeekEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet
22Simon PagenaudMontmorillon, FranceMenardsTeam PenskeChevrolet
26Colton HertaValencia, California, USAGainbridgeAndretti AutosportHonda
27Alexander RossiNevada City, California, USANAPA Auto Parts / AutoNationAndretti AutosportHonda
28Ryan Hunter-ReayFort Lauderdale, Florida, USADHLAndretti AutosportHonda
29James HinchcliffeToronto, CanadaGenesysAndretti AutosportHonda
30Takuma SatoTokyo, JapanPanasonic / Shield CleansersRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda
48Jimmie Johnson (R)El Cajon, California, USACarvanaChip Ganassi RacingHonda
51Romain Grosjean (R)Geneva, SwitzerlandNurtec ODTDale Coyne Racing with RWRHonda
59Max ChiltonReigate, EnglandCarlinCarlinChevrolet
60Jack HarveyBassingham, EnglandAutoNation / SiriusXMMeyer Shank RacingHonda
(R) — Denotes NTT IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year candidate
— Entry List: PDF

BIRMINGHAM WEATHER

Track TypePermanent road course
Length2.3 miles
Race Distance90 laps (207 miles)
Number of Turns17
DirectionClockwise
Track Map
2021 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama track map
Credit: INDYCAR
Event Twitter Account & Hashtag@BarberMotorPark‬, #HIGPA

Past Driver Performance IndexView PDF
Last Five Wins— 2019: Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
— 2018: Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
— 2017: Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
— 2016: Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske
— 2015: Josef Newgarden, CFH Racing
Last Five Poles— 2019: Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (1:08.5934)
— 2018: Josef Newgarden, Team Penske (1:07.4413)
— 2017: Will Power, Team Penske (1:06.9614)
— 2016: Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske (1:06.7262)
— 2015: Helio Castroneves, Team Penske (1:07.1925
Qualifying Lap Record1:06.6001 (Sebastien Bourdais of KVSH Racing on April 23, 2016)

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