Team Penske NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Recap
Track: Portland International Raceway
Race: Grand Prix of Portland
Date: September 4, 2022
No. 2 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings: 2nd (-20 pts)
Race Rundown: Josef Newgarden and the No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet team finished eighth on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Portland International Raceway. Newgarden qualified second but rolled off from the eighth position after a six-position grid penalty for an engine change entering the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race weekend. Starting the race on Firestone black primary tires, Newgarden fell out of the top 10 in the early laps. Working the undercut with a fast early pit stop, Newgarden slotted into the sixth position on Lap 32 after all first pit stops were completed. Newgarden cracked the top five on Lap 42 as he passed reigning series champion Alex Palou. At the halfway mark of the race, Newgarden worked his way to fourth place with one pit stop remaining on the day. The last pit stop of day came on Lap 79 with race strategist Tim Cindric calling for four tires and fuel. A late-race caution on Lap 85 bunched the field up for a sprint to the finish. On the ensuing restart, Newgarden lost a handful of positions as the Hitachi Chevrolet’s black sidewall tires struggled for grip coming to the finish. Newgarden and the No. 2 team will advance to the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca next weekend tied with Scott Dixon, 20 points behind teammate Will Power in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship standings.
Newgarden’s Thoughts: ” I think the obvious (thing) was that we didn’t predict the caution. There’s always the risk that a caution comes out in that final stint. I wasn’t thinking about that; we went green the entire race. I thought the primary tires would probably have better durability at the end. That argument holds up a little better with no caution. We just got hosed when we had to restart with all reds (around him). I was blown away at how much better everyone was on them, especially in the caution situations. That just did not play into our favor, unfortunately. It’s a hard day where we really gained nothing after a tough starting spot. We’ll regroup and take our Team Chevy car with Hitachi to Laguna and try to be fast.”
No. 3 Freightliner Dallara/Chevrolet – Scott McLaughlin
Start: 1st – Third career NTT P1 Award, 62nd career Team Penske pole position (most all time)
Finish: 1st – Third career NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory
Laps Led: 104
Point Standings: 5th (-41 pts)
Race Rundown: Scott McLaughlin and the No. 3 Freightliner Chevrolet team cruised to their third win of the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season in the Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway on Sunday afternoon. The New Zealander started from the pole position and was never seriously challenged throughout most of the race until the first caution flag of the day at Lap 85 bunched the field back together. Over the final 20 laps of the 110-lap event, McLaughlin could see teammate Will Power and third-place finisher Scott Dixon in his rear view mirror, but he was able to keep both former series champions at bay. McLaughlin will enter the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca next weekend with a shot at the 2022 championship in just his second, full season competing in the INDYCAR SERIES. McLaughlin will enter the race ranked fifth in the standings, 41 points behind teammate and series leader, Will Power.
McLaughlin’s Thoughts: “I don’t think the car really felt good in that first stint but as the race went on, it got a little bit worse. I just had to really concentrate on where I wanted the strengths of the car to be and work with those and make the best of the weaknesses. The Freightliner Chevy all weekend has been fast. It’s been right there where we needed. This team – the Thirsty Threes – got the job done in the pits, and I’m really proud of them. We did exactly what we needed to do this weekend, which was win and get max points to keep ourselves in the championship fight. Yeah we’re a longshot. I don’t care because we have a shot so I’m looking forward to it.”
No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Laps Led: 2
Point Standings: 1st (+20 pts)
Race Rundown: Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet team more than held serve in the push for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship by finishing second in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway. The 2014 series champion increased his lead to 20 markers over teammate Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon entering the season finale next weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Power, along with the rest of the field, made it through the treacherous first corner at Portland without incident as the race ran caution-free for the first 85 laps. When the lone yellow flag flew, it gave Power his best shot of the day to get around teammate Scott McLaughlin on the ensuing race restart. Once the green flag flew to resume the race with 22 laps to go, McLaughlin was able to pull away from Power and the rest of the field. After collecting his eighth podium finish of the season, Power and the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevy team put themselves in a good position to win their second series title with a good performance next weekend.
Power’s Thoughts: “The red (tires) were a lot better for us. The black tires just never really came on and we never really had a good balance with it. It was a tough decision because those reds had a lot of laps on them, but I still feel like we would have been quicker over the stint. It was the right move and a good move. It would have been tough on the restart without it, so it was a good call by the guys. We had good strategy all day. If (Christian) Lundgaard hadn’t gotten us at the start, we could have had a shot at Scott (Dixon). It’s another day where we did everything we could. We had a little get-together with Pato (O’Ward) so luckily that came out alright. I just want to win this championship for the guys who have been with me for more than a decade, like my engineer Dave (Faustino) and my data acquisition guy Robbie (Atkinson) and the group. It’s a lot less selfish for me this time around because they deserve it. I feel their pain over the years of losing so many. I’d love to win it for them.”