The 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season finale could be described as a race of survival for the field of 27 drivers, with eight long cautions during the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey this weekend. Despite being caught up in multiple incidents during the 95-lap race, 35 laps which ran under caution, rookie Benjamin Pedersen made it to the end to finish 16th.
The final day of the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season began with a shortened warm-up session, due to heavy fog and lightning in the area. Conditions continued to improve over the next couple of hours and the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey went green under sunny skies just after 12:30PM PST.
Once the field took the green flag, the action began with multiple cars involved in an incident during the first lap. Pedersen driving the No. 55 Sexton Properties car, who started 23rd, made it through unscathed. The team decided to work with a different pit strategy from that moment, which moved Pedersen through the field.
Unfortunately, Pedersen would be caught up in multiple incidents, causing him to pit for a new front nose, and later a punctured tire. The rookie went on to finish 16th, his second-best finish overall this season.
“Definitely one of the craziest races of the whole year,” said Pedersen. “Happy to have finished it. Finished p16 so one of our better road course results for the year. I think we had quite a bit in the bank still but unfortunately got hit on one of the restarts and cycled to the back. I think if that wouldn’t have happened, we were on track to be P-7 or right around there. With such a crazy race happening, to have finished p16, which is one of our better results, I’m pretty pleased to finish the year that way–and also helping Chevrolet get the manufacturer’s championship. Looking forward to next year.”