Scott Dixon survived chaos and eight full course yellows in the Grand Prix of Monterey to score his third win in the 2023 IndyCar Series in the season finale at Laguna Seca.
The #9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda led 20 of 95 laps around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile natural terrain road course to win over Scott McLaughlin and Alex Palou on the podium. Will Power finished fourth ahead of Callum Ilott in fifth.
Almost as soon as the race began there was a full course yellow after a multi-car incident in the Turns 2 hairpin.
Christian Lundgaard climbed the apex kerb at the hairpin and slid into Josef Newgarden and McLaughlin, knocking both Team Penske cars into the gravel outside the corner. Rinus VeeKay slowed to avoid contact with Newgarden, causing a traffic jam behind him.
In that traffic jam behind VeeKay, Marcus Armstrong hit Graham Rahal who was to his outside. That contact sent Rahal into his teammate Juri Vips, shooting Vips's accelerating car into the left front corner of Newgarden's car, putting Vips and Newgarden into the gravel and eliminating Rahal from the race.
Meanwhile, Ilott hit the rear of Kyle Kirkwood's car when Kirkwood slowed to avoid Armstrong's car. The contact put Kirkwood's car behind the wall for a large portion of the race as the Andretti Autosport crew repaired the #27 Honda.
The race restarted on Lap 6 with Rosenqvist in front of Palou, Pato O'Ward and Dixon. However, Palou would get the lead from Rosenqvist after the pair had light contact in Turn 11. Power took advantage of Rosenqvist's hesitation off track and grabbed second place.
Moments later, Newgarden spun exiting Turn 4, hitting the tyre barrier with the nose of the #2 Team Penske Chevrolet and bringing out the race's second full course yellow.
The race restarted on Lap 12 and Palou remained up front until his pit stop on Lap 30. Palou's crew called the 2023 IndyCar champion to pit road because of contact between Marcus Ericsson and Felix Rosenqvist at Turn 2. Ericsson went inside of Rosenqvist and both drivers spun, with Ericsson stalling his car in the hairpin.
Shortly after Ericsson stalled his car, Rosenqvist spun in Turn 3 thanks to a flat tyre. The combination of stopped cars necessitated another full course yellow. Palou made it to pit road mere seconds before the full course yellow came out.
At the Lap 36 restart, Palou led O'Ward, Lundgaard, Romain Grosjean and Agustin Canapino, but the green lasted all of 15 seconds as Power hit Benjamin Pedersen in Turn 11, spinning the rookie who then stalled the #55 A. J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet. Ilott had light contact with the rear of Pedersen's spinning car, causing the #77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet to also spin at Turn 11.
Further up the track, Santino Ferrucci checked up behind Armstrong, causing McLaughlin to hit Ferrucci as the pair approached Turn 1. The #14 A. J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet slid off track, but the Connecticut native kept the car off of the barriers and remained under power.
Race control ordered Power and McLaughlin to the rear of the field for avoidable contact and the race resumed on Lap 42. As O'Ward made his next scheduled stop on Lap 57 from second place, Devlin DeFrancesco had contact with David Malukas as the pair approached Turn 3. DeFrancesco lost control of the #29 Andretti Autosport Honda under braking for the corner, hitting the Chicago native and causing both cars to go off track.
Palou hadn't made his pit stop yet so the #10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda had to stop under yellow, dropping Palou back to 15th place.
The green flag came out on Lap 62 but the race went back to full course yellow when Tom Blomqvist's #60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda stopped after contact with Sting Ray Robb while Ferrucci hit Palou at the final corner, removing Ferrucci's front wing from the car and causing Ferrucci to stop in the Turn 11 gravel trap.
As the race restarted on Lap 67, Armstrong spun at Turn 11 after contact with Pedersen, bringing out another full course yellow as the #11 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda was stalled facing the wrong way on track.
The race resumed again on Lap 72 as Grosjean took the lead from O'Ward going to Turn 2. Three laps later, Castroneves lost control of the #06 Meyer Shank Racing Honda going to Turn 3, hitting Herta and causing the #26 Andretti Autosport Honda to spin and coming to a stop near the tyre barrier outside the corner. Race control called another full course yellow for Herta's stopped car who apparently had gearbox damage from earlier contact.
The green flag flew again on Lap 78 with Dixon leading McLaughlin and Ilott. Dixon led the rest of the way to secure his first win at Laguna Seca.