Track Talk: Laguna Seca is the Corkscrew and more

Updated: 

WEATHERTECH RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA

Monterey, California

Event dates: September 18-20, 2020

Ticket information: The ticket renewal process is underway, and tickets will be on sale Feb. 12. Click here for more information.

The circuit: A 11-turn, 2.258-mile permanent road course in the hills east of Monterey. Gorgeous with its scenery, dramatic with its elevation changes. Next to Turn 1 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Corkscrew might be the most famous corner in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

History: Indy cars first raced at Laguna Seca in 1983, and only Indianapolis Motor Speedway (1911), Road America (1982) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (1980) held such races earlier. Team Penske is the winningest team in Laguna Seca's Indy car history, but in part because of the long period between races it hasn't won since Helio Castroneves' win in 2000.

Of Rahals and Hertas: Bobby Rahal set the record with four consecutive race wins at Laguna Seca (1984-87). Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy, Bryan Herta and Patrick Carpentier are the drivers to have won there twice. Herta's son, Colton, won in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES return last September, giving the family three wins at the circuit. Bryan Herta also holds the Indy car record for most poles at the track with three. Mario Andretti also won three poles.

Laguna SecaWinning from the back: Among Indy car fans, Alex Zanardi's pass of Bryan Herta in the famed Corkscrew to win the 1996 race is the track's signature moment, and it should be. Another moment that no one who was present will forget occurred in 2001. Max Papis, who had started 25th, used fuel strategy to deliver Team Rahal a surprising victory. Papis led the race's final 16 laps for the last of his three series victories. That's the fewest laps led for a Laguna Seca Indy car winner in the 23 races.

The finale: Laguna Seca will be the series finale for the second year in succession, and it has been the final race of the year eight times (1989-96). The track wasn't the finale in 1988 -- Miami's street race was -- but Danny Sullivan's race win that day secured his only series championship. Watch that race here (with color commentary from Johnny Rutherford, which is always cool!)

Last year: Colton Herta of Harding Steinbrenner Racing dominated by leading 83 of the 90 laps, but Felix Rosenqvist of Chip Ganassi Racing earned the season's top rookie award by driving from 14th place to finish fifth. Team Penske's Josef Newgarden wrapped up his second championship in three years by finishing eighth.

Plenty to see: If exploring the many exceptional track vantage points isn't enough to merit the trip, the rest of the Monterey Peninsula is. From Carmel to Pebble Beach to Big Sur to … well, you get the idea.

PAST WINNERS:

1983 (CART): Teo Fabi

1984 (CART): Bobby Rahal

1985 (CART): Bobby Rahal

1986 (CART): Bobby Rahal

1987 (CART): Bobby Rahal

1988 (CART): Danny Sullivan

1989 (CART): Rick Mears

1990 (CART): Danny Sullivan

1991 (CART): Michael Andretti

1992 (CART): Michael Andretti

1993 (CART): Paul Tracy

1994 (CART): Paul Tracy

1995 (CART): Gil de Ferran

1996 (CART): Alex Zanardi

1997 (CART): Jimmy Vasser

1998 (CART): Bryan Herta

1999 (CART): Bryan Herta

2000 (CART): Helio Castroneves

2001 (CART): Max Papis

2002 (CART): Cristiano da Matta

2003 (CART): Patrick Carpentier

2004 (CART): Patrick Carpentier

2019 (INDYCAR): Colton Herta

Corkscrew at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

From the fans