Indycar Series 2024 Thermal

THE MILLION DOLLAR RECAP

March 29, 2024

motorsport journalist

Janis Adams

Motorsport Journalist

After nine hours of practice over two days, the drivers were ready to roll out under the perfect California sunshine on Sunday morning.

The Thursday prior to the race, following a random draw, the field of 27 was divided into two groups which separately ran an 8-minute qualifying session. Their pole positions were also determined by the draw.

A Field Divided Draws Twice the Excitement

Two heats, the first with 13 drivers the second with 12, would vie for the 12 coveted spots in the race for the purse. Although randomly chosen and completely by chance it must be admitted that Heat 1 was heavily weighted with some of IndyCar’s highest ranked drivers.

Results for Heat 1 were as follows Felix Rosenqvist, Scott McLaughlin, Josef Newgarden, Christian Lundgaard, Agustin Canapino, Nolan Siegel, Santino Ferrucci, Will Power, Kyle Kirkwood, Sting Ray Robb. Scott Dixon, with Rinus VeeKay and Romain Grosjean not finishing the race after being sidelined by a crash.

While Heat 2 saw drivers, in the following order, placing 1 through 12  Alex Palou, Marcus Armstrong, Graham Rahal, Linus Lundqvist, Pietro Fittipaldi, Alexander Rossi, Pato O'Ward, Callum Ilott, Christian Rasmussen, Kyffin Simpson, Marcus Ericsson and Colin Braun,.

The Money Run

The 20 lap race, run in 10-lap stints and a 10 minute pit break, saw the 12 drivers who advanced to the purse race running in the following order: Alex Palou, Felix Rosenqvist, Marcus Armstrong, Scott McLaughlin, Graham Rahal, Josef Newgarden, Linus Lundqvist, Pietro Fittipaldi, Agustin Canapino, Alexander Rossi, Christian Lundgaard, and Colton Herta.

Not all of the twelve starting line-up completed the race however. With a stuck throttle Graham Rahal run was sidelined, while Pietro Fittipaldi was disqualified because his car had not been fully fueled for the first stint.

Effortlessly Palou Dominates Race

With remaining 10, the order through the laps was Alex Palou, Scott McLaughlin (+2), Felix Rosenqvist (-1), Marcus Armstrong (-1), Josef Newgarden (+1), Linus Lundqvist (+1), Christian Lundgaard (+4), Alexander Rossi (+2), Agustin Canapino, Colton Herta (+2), Pietro Fittipaldi (-3), Graham Rahal (-7).

With multiple strategies being run, the field moved and grooved and saw Alex Palou never losing ground.

The Purse Divided

The IndyCar All-Star Race at Thermal winner proved unsurprisingly to be Alex Palou running  5+ seconds ahead of Scott McLaughlin. With a cool half a million pay day for Paluo and $350,000 for the runner-up Scott McLaughlin but left that track in high spirits and a nice bank roll.

Felix Rosenqvist took  3rd place earning him $250,000, followed by Colton Herta who netted $100,000 and Marcus Armstrong grabbed the last large money purse at $50,000. Drivers who placed 6-27 earned $23,000 each.

motorsports illustrated

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