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2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Title and Race Reports; Laguna Seca

Power Wins 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Title; Palou Dominates in Laguna Victory

MONTEREY, Calif. (Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022) – It wasn’t easy for differing reasons, but Will Power and Alex Palou both ended up winners Sunday after the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Power survived varying tire strategies and challenges from rivals to finish third in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and clinch his second NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship, adding to his 2014 title. The championship came just one day after Power set the INDYCAR SERIES career record with his 68th pole, breaking a tie with fellow legend Mario Andretti.

SEE: Race Results

“Man, I had to drive the thing today,” Power said. “It was on the edge, very loose. Man, what a relief. What a relief to get that done.”

Power, 41, from Australia, won just one race this season, but this was his series-leading 12th top-five finish in 17 races – three more than any other driver. Power and Scott Dixon also were the only drivers to finish every lap this season.

That consistency was part of a mental shift this season by Power to take what the car offered each race and not overdrive into mistakes. The newfound, Zen-like focus proved pivotal.

“From the beginning (of the season), it was just playing the long game, not necessarily going for the big wins and all that,” Power said.

This was the 17th INDYCAR SERIES championship by a Team Penske driver, extending the team’s record. Power beat teammate Josef Newgarden to the crown by just 16 points.

Palou ended his reign as series champion with his first victory of the season in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, dominating the race and beating Newgarden to the checkered flag by 30.3812 seconds, the largest margin of victory this season by more than 24 seconds. Palou delivered a victory after a fraught summer marked by a still-unresolved contractual dispute for his driving services next season between Chip Ganassi Racing and McLaren Racing.

The win came despite a six-spot grid penalty for an unapproved engine change after qualifying Saturday, dropping Palou from fifth to 11th on the starting grid.

“We struggled a bit (at) some races, especially the last couple of races,” Palou said. “But today was awesome. Strategy was on point. It’s good to finish a season with a win. We had some power there and good fuel mileage.”

Palou first took the lead on Lap 16 and proved to be the dominant driver almost immediately. He led 67 of the 95 laps in a race slowed by just three caution periods.

Spaniard Palou’s gap over second-place Power was 8.6287 seconds on Lap 50, but Palou rocketed away during the second half of the race as rivals managed varying tire and pit strategies. Palou used the Firestone alternate tires only from Laps 20 to 38 and then blitzed the field for the rest of the way on Firestone primary tires on the slick, highly abrasive surface of the 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit.

By Lap 62, Palou’s gap over Power was 20 seconds. It was checkout time.

“We struggled a bit during the whole weekend, and I don’t know what happened today,” said Palou, who won three races last year en route to the title. “But everything clicked. Super happy to win a race this year.”

Newgarden started the day second in the standings, 21 points behind Power, who earned a bonus point for the NTT P1 Award Saturday. He faced long odds for capturing his third championship due to starting 25th in the 26-car field after spinning off track in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet during the first round of qualifying.

But Newgarden never relented in his tenacious long shot bid to overhaul teammate Power. He started the race on Firestone primary tires – the opposite approach of title rivals Power, Dixon and Marcus Ericsson – and also made one more pit stop than Power in an attempt to use fresher tires and a full-bore fuel mixture to gain track position.

The gambit nearly worked. Newgarden exited the pits on Lap 36 on new Firestone primary tires and started inhaling rivals, especially with frightening closing speed entering the daunting “Corkscrew” turn complex.

Newgarden passed the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet of Pato O’Ward for fourth on Lap 43 in the Corkscrew and then repeated that move one lap later for third place, passing the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet of Felix Rosenqvist.

Power was next on the hit list. Newgarden sailed past his teammate on Lap 46 at the top of the Corkscrew for second place. But Power didn’t panic, again focusing on the long view while doing title arithmetic in his brain at 175 mph.

“I just knew I had to absolutely get the most out of those stints and not lose any more positions,” Power said.

Newgarden had no chance to catch Palou, who already was in a different stratosphere, up by seven seconds just four laps after a Lap 41 restart. The top three cars held station for the rest of the race, sealing the title for Power.

“Even yesterday, with the heartache there, we came back, we fought, and we nearly got there,” Newgarden said. “I’m proud of the effort. We’re going to come back stronger next year.

“But I’m proud of this team. Huge congrats to Will and the entire team.”

Six-time series champion Dixon placed third in the standings, 39 points behind Power, after his 12th-place finish in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Scott McLaughlin ended up fourth in points in just his second season of open-wheel racing after his sixth-place finish in the No. 3 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet.

2021 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Ericsson finished his best NTT INDYCAR SERIES season fifth in points after placing ninth in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Christian Lundgaard earned series Rookie of the Year honors with his fifth-place finish in the No. 30 PeopleReady Honda. Lundgaard ended with an 18-point gap over David Malukas, who finished 13th today in the No. 18 HMD Honda.

Palou will split $10,000 with his Chip Ganassi Racing team and his chosen charity for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.

Power Sets Career Pole Record on Eve of Laguna Title Showdown

MONTEREY, Calif. (Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022) – Will Power wrote a new chapter of INDYCAR SERIES history one day before he could enter his name in the sport’s annals as a series champion for the second time.

Power broke Mario Andretti’s all-time record with his 68th career pole Saturday during NTT P1 Award qualifying for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.

Power, 41, from Toowomba, Australia, drove to his series-leading fifth pole this season in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, burnishing his legend and starting from the perfect position as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship leader entering the season finale Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

SEE: Qualifying Results | Qualifying Highlights

“It’s such a big day tomorrow that I can’t celebrate much because I’ve got to be so focused on tomorrow,” Power said. “Tremendous milestone. To be out there with an iconic guy like Mario is amazing. When I think about the era he raced in, how dangerous it was and how much more of a risk it was, it just blows my mind I’m there with Mario.”

Said Andretti: “Awesome. I know how much I loved qualifying, and I can see he’s the same. Trying to reach and trying to do the lap you know you cannot repeat. That’s what puts you on pole. It (losing record) was coming. It’s beautiful. It’s great for the series and the sport. Records are made to be broken, and it’s with a good man.”

Power’s best lap in the Firestone Fast Six was 1 minute, 11.6127 seconds. Rookie Callum Ilott will join him in the front row of the 95-lap race Sunday (2:40 p.m. ET, NBC; 3 p.m. ET, Telemundo Deportes on Universo and INDYCAR Radio Network) after qualifying a career-best second at 1:11.6320 in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet.

The pole gave Power more than just a big piece of history. He also will be awarded one bonus point when the race starts tomorrow, which could be pivotal as he looks to preserve his 20-point lead over Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing and win a second season championship to accompany his 2014 title. Marcus Ericsson (-39) of CGR and Scott McLaughlin (-41) of Team Penske also are eligible to win the championship Sunday.

Power was the only member of the title-contending quintet to advance to the Firestone Fast Six, creating an even clearer path for his championship hopes on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile track where passing is difficult due to the challenging layout and low-grip, highly abrasive surface.

McLaughlin was the best of the rest among the title contenders, qualifying eighth at 1:11.6916 in the No. 3 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet after going off track in Turn 4 during the second round of qualifying. Ericsson qualified 10th after spinning in the famous “Corkscrew” turn during the second round, ending up with a best lap of 1:12.1359 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Dixon and Newgarden will have plenty of work to do to win the Astor Challenge Cup on Sunday after neither driver advanced from the first round.

Six-time series champion Dixon will start 13th after his best lap of 1:12.1722 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Dixon and every other driver besides Newgarden in the first qualifying group of the first round were forced into a one-lap showdown for position when Newgarden triggered a red flag, lost his two quickest laps and chance to advance by clouting a curb in the “Corkscrew” and spinning off the course.

Two-time series champion Newgarden will start 25th in the 26-car field in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.

Among the other four drivers in the Firestone Fast Six, Alexander Rossi qualified third at 1:11.7698 in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda, with Andretti Autosport teammate Romain Grosjean fourth at 1:11.7858 in the No. 28 DHL Honda.

Alex Palou, whose reign as series champion has one more day, qualified fifth at 1:12.1625 in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Pato O’Ward rounded out the Firestone Fast Six at 1:12.4542 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.

Ilott was the top rookie qualifier but already is eliminated from Rookie of the Year contention. The two drivers competing for that honor, David Malukas and Christian Lundgaard, qualified seventh and 16th, respectively. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Lundgaard leads Dale Coyne Racing with HMD driver Malukas by five points in the standings.

A 30-minute warmup session at noon ET Sunday will precede the race, with live coverage on Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network. Spanish-language telecast will be on Telemundo Deportes on Universo.

Newgarden Leads Slippery Practice as Title Showdown Looms

Josef Newgarden

MONTEREY, Calif. (Friday, Sept. 9, 2022) – Josef Newgarden was the first driver among the contenders for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship to move chips toward the center of the table in this high-stakes confrontation, leading practice Friday for the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.

Two-time series champion Newgarden, who is second in points, 20 behind teammate Will Power, was quickest with a lap of 1 minute, 11.4103 seconds in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. Scott Dixon (-20 points), Marcus Ericsson (-39) and Scott McLaughlin (-41) are the other drivers eligible for the title this weekend.

Power must finish third or better in the 95-lap race Sunday (live, 2:40 p.m. ET, NBC and 3 p.m. ET, INDYCAR Radio Network) to win the Astor Challenge Cup for the second time.

SEE: Practice Results

“I’m always confident,” Newgarden said. “I feel really good about this team. I’m never discouraged showing up to the track. The team really has done an excellent job this year. We’ve got to be good this weekend.”

Among the five title contenders, Power was second quickest and seventh overall at 1:11.9858 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Ericsson was next, 10th overall at 1:12.0803 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Next was McLaughlin in 11th at 1:12.0877 in the No. 3 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet. Dixon was the slowest of the title contenders, 17th at 1:12.3911 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

NTT P1 Award qualifying will start at 5:05 p.m. ET Saturday, live on Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network. A 45-minute practice session will precede qualifying at 1:15 p.m. ET.

“You’ve definitely got to go get the pole because you can guarantee Newgarden is going for it,” Power said of his teammate. “Absolutely. And he’s going to be there to win the race.”

Following Newgarden in the overall top five was reigning Laguna Seca race winner Colton Herta at 1:11.8266 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda as the leader of three Andretti Autosport drivers in the top five. Romain Grosjean was third at 1:11.8697 in the No. 28 DHL Honda fielded by Andretti, followed by Alexander Rossi in Andretti’s No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda.

Rookie Callum Ilott rounded out the top five at 1:11.9490 in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet. Ilott is not a contender for Rookie of the Year honors this weekend, but the two drivers vying for that crown, David Malukas and Christian Lundgaard, ended up ninth and 15th, respectively, in the 75-minute session.

All 26 drivers in the field struggled with the low-grip, very abrasive asphalt on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile Laguna Seca circuit, which also features the famous “Corkscrew” turn complex. Most drivers had at least one off-track excursion during the session, especially on the Firestone alternate tires.

“Tough track, man,” Power said. “Very low grip. You get one lap on tires, and they’re gone. It’s hard to get a read because the car changes so much over a run.”

Said Dixon, “It’s going to be a pretty high-deg (tire degradation) race, man.”

There was one red flag, 47 minutes into the session. Jimmie Johnson went off track and hit the tire barrier in Turn 6 with the rear of his No. 48 Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. He was unhurt.

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Title Contenders Gather at Iconic Pebble Beach

MONTEREY, Calif. (Friday, Sept. 9, 2022) – The five NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers still in contention to lift the Astor Challenge Cup made an early-morning pit stop Thursday at one of golf’s most iconic locations – the 17th green at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California.

Team Penske drivers Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin were joined by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson for a fitting photo at Pebble’s “Turn for the Championship.” They were flanked by the Astor Challenge Cup and scenic Stillwater Cove.

Pebble Beach, the No. 1-rated public golf course in America and home to some of golf’s greatest championships and champions, sits down the road from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the location of the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES (live, 2:40 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC).

Power leads the championship standings by 20 points over Newgarden and Dixon, with Ericsson 39 points back in fourth and McLaughlin 41 points back in fifth. Power can clinch his second series crown with a finish of third or better Sunday. With just 41 points separating five drivers, this is INDYCAR’s closest championship race in 19 years.

FAST FACTS: Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey

Race weekend: Friday, Sept. 9 – Sunday, Sept. 11

Track: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, a 2.238-mile permanent road course in Monterey, California

Race distance: NTT INDYCAR SERIES: 95 laps / 212.61 miles | Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires: 35 laps / 78.33 miles / 55 minutes

Media Links: NTT INDYCAR SERIES Entry List (PDF) | Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Entry List (PDF) | Driver Video Quotes (individual driver quotes posted to content.indycar.com) | Trackside Media Guide (Interactive PDF)

Push-to-pass parameters: NTT INDYCAR SERIES: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation. | Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation

Firestone tire allotment: Six sets primary, four sets alternate. Teams must use one set of primary and one new set of alternate tires in the race. (Note: A seventh set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie driver.)

Twitter:@WeatherTechRcwy, @IndyCar, @IndyLights, #FirestoneGP, #INDYCAR

Instagram: @weathertechraceway, @IndyCar, #FirestoneGP, #INDYCAR

Facebook: @WeatherTechRaceway, @IndyCar, @IndyLightsOfficial, #FirestoneGP, #INDYCAR

TikTok: @IndyCar, #FirestoneGP, #INDYCAR

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

Indy Lights website: www.IndyLights.com

2021 race winners:

NTT INDYCAR SERIES

Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda)

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires

Race 1: Kyle Kirkwood (No. 28 Andretti Autosport)

Race 2: Kyle Kirkwood (No. 28 Andretti Autosport)

2021 NTT P1 Award winner: Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda), 1:10.7994, 113.798 mph

Qualifying records:

NTT INDYCAR SERIES

Helio Castroneves, 1:07.722, 118.969 mph, Sept. 8, 2000

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires

Max Chilton, 1:14.2329, 108.534 mph, Sept. 12, 2015

NBC Sports race telecast: Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 11, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe.

Peacock Premium Live Streaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product, while NBC’s race telecast of the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey will be simulcast on the streaming service. Peacock Premium’s exclusive post-race show – featuring driver interviews, podium ceremonies and post-race analysis – will be streamed following the race. The Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey doubleheader (3:15 p.m. ET Saturday and 12:50 p.m. ET Sunday) will be streamed on Peacock Premium with practice and qualifying being shown on INDYCAR Live!

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the anchor alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young are the turn announcers. Georgia Henneberry, Ryan Myrehn and Dan Rusanowsky are the pit reporters. Charlie Kimball will provide additional commentary. The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey race (3 p.m. ET Sunday), Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey doubleheader (3:15 p.m. ET Saturday and 12:50 p.m. ET Sunday) and all NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires practices and qualifying sessions air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 160, racecontrol.indycar.com and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, Sept. 9 (All Times Local)

1:15-2:05 p.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires practice 1, INDYCAR Live!

2:30-3:45 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 1, Peacock Premium

Saturday, Sept. 10

9:30-10 a.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Qualifying (Two 12-minute sessions / Session 1 determines the lineup for Race 1, Session 2 determines the lineup for Race 2), INDYCAR Live!

10:15-11:15 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 2 (45 minutes limited guarantee), Peacock Premium

12:20 p.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey Race 1 “Drivers Start Your Engines”

12:25 p.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey Race 1 (35 laps / 78.33 miles / 55 minutes)

2:05 p.m. –  Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey NTT P1 Award qualifying (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock Premium

Sunday, Sept. 11

9 – 9:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES final practice, Peacock Premium

9:55 a.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey Race 2 “Drivers Start Your Engines”

10 a.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey Race 2 (35 laps / 78.33 miles / 55 minutes)

Noon – NBC on air

12:23 p.m. – Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey “Drivers, start your engines”

12:30 p.m. – Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey (95 laps/212.61 miles), NBC (Live)

Championship facts:

  • Will Power leads the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship with one race to go for the fifth time in his career. Power previously led the championship with one race to in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. He won the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship in 2014.
  • There are five drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship: Power leads Josef Newgarden by 20 points with Scott Dixon (-20), Marcus Ericsson (-39) and Scott McLaughlin (-41) behind.
  • Power assumed the point lead following the Gallagher Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30. The lead has changed hands seven times between McLaughlin, Newgarden, Alex Palou, Power and Ericsson.
  • Since the first INDYCAR SERIES race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the winning driver has won the INDYCAR SERIES championship six times: Bobby Rahal (1986 and 1987), Danny Sullivan (1988), Michael Andretti (1991), Alex Zanardi (1998) and Cristiano da Matta (2002).

Point differential: The 20 points that separate Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon is the sixth closest margin with one race remaining since 2008. The 41 points separating the top five drivers in the championship is the tightest title race since 2003, when 30 points separated the top five. The average deficit with one race to go since 2008 is 25.86 points.

Key championship point statistic: This is the 17th consecutive year that the NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion will be determined at the final race of the season.

CHAMPIONSHIP WITH 1 TO GO (2008-2022)

YEARLEADERSECOND LEADCHAMPION
2008Scott DixonHelio Castroneves30Scott Dixon
2009Scott DixonDario Franchitti5Dario Franchitti
2010Will PowerDario Franchitti12Dario Franchitti
2011Will PowerDario Franchitti11Dario Franchitti
2012Will PowerRyan Hunter-Reay17Ryan Hunter-Reay
2013Scott DixonHelio Castroneves25Scott Dixon
2014Will PowerHelio Castroneves51Will Power
2015Juan Pablo MontoyaGraham Rahal34Scott Dixon (-47)
2016Simon PagenaudWill Power43Simon Pagenaud
2017Josef NewgardenScott Dixon3Josef Newgarden
2018Scott DixonAlexander Rossi29Scott Dixon
2019Josef NewgardenAlexander Rossi41Josef Newgarden
2020Scott DixonJosef Newgarden32Scott Dixon
2021Alex PalouPato O’Ward35Alex Palou
2022Will PowerJosef Newgarden20?

Race notes:

  • There have been eight different winners in 16 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races in the 2022 season. Scott McLaughlin (Streets of St. Petersburg, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Portland International Raceway), Josef Newgarden (Texas Motor Speedway, Streets of Long Beach, Road America, Iowa Speedway-1, World Wide Technology Raceway), Pato O’Ward (Barber Motorsports Park, Iowa Speedway-2), Colton Herta (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-1), Marcus Ericsson (Indianapolis 500), Will Power (Raceway at Belle Isle Park), Scott Dixon (Streets of Toronto and Streets of Nashville) and Alexander Rossi (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-2) have all won in 2022. The record for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.
  • The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey will be the 25th INDYCAR SERIES race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, but just the third since 2004. Teo Fabi won the first INDYCAR SERIES race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in 1983. Colton Herta, who won the two most recent races at the track in 2019 and 2021, and Helio Castroneves, who won at the track in 2000, are the only former winners entered in this year’s race.
  • Thirteen INDYCAR SERIES drivers have won at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca from the pole – Teo Fabi (1983), Bobby Rahal (1985), Danny Sullivan (1988), Rick Mears (1989), Danny Sullivan (1990), Michael Andretti (1991 and 1992), Paul Tracy (1994), Alex Zanardi (1996), Bryan Herta (1998 and 1999), Helio Castroneves (2000), Cristiano da Matta (2002), Patrick Carpentier (2003) and Colton Herta (2019 and 2021).
  • Team Penske has won six times at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Penske’s winning drivers are Danny Sullivan (1988 and 1990), Rick Mears (1989), Paul Tracy (1993 and 1994) and Helio Castroneves (2000). Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has three wins, with Bryan Herta (1998-99) and Max Papis (2001). Chip Ganassi Racing has two wins, with Alex Zanardi in 1996 and Jimmy Vasser in 1997.
  • Twenty-one drivers entered in the event have competed in past INDYCAR SERIES races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Helio Castroneves has five starts, most among the entered drivers. Six entered drivers have led laps at the track (Colton Herta 174, Helio Castroneves 92, Will Power 6, Romain Grosjean 4, Scott Dixon 2 and Simon Pagenaud 1).

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires notes:

  • The Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey doubleheader will be the series’ 25th and 26th races at WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca. Previous Indy Lights winners at Laguna Seca include Bryan HertaAndre RibeiroGreg MooreTony KanaanCristiano da MattaScott DixonTownsend BellSpencer Pigot and Rinus VeeKay. Current NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Kyle Kirkwood swept the Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey doubleheader in 2021.
  • Linus Lundqvist of HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing is enjoying a dominant season, leading the series in wins (five), poles (six) and top-five finishes (12) through 12 races. Lundqvist, a native of Sweden, owns a commanding 103-point lead over second-place Matthew Brabham of Andretti Autosport. Lundqvist will clinch the season championship by scoring points in Race 1.
  • Benjamin Pedersen joined Danial Frost, Christian RasmussenHunter McElrea as first-time Indy Lights race winners in 2022. Can another talented prospect such as Sting Ray RobbKyffin SimpsonErnie Francis Jr. or series newcomers Flinn Lazier or Nolan Siegel score a first series win at Laguna Seca?
  • Push-to-pass could play a key strategic role at Portland as Indy Lights drivers will have a bank of 150 seconds to use an added 50 horsepower to assist in overtaking, similar to the drivers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The maximum amount of time for each press of the overtake system is 15 seconds.

NTT P1 Award Qualifying in Portland

McLaughlin Wins NTT P1 Award; Penske Rules Portland Qualifying

PORTLAND, Ore. (Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022) – Scott McLaughlin led a Team Penske power play during qualifying for the Grand Prix of Portland, capturing the NTT P1 Award to lead a 1-2-3 performance by the team.

McLaughlin drove to his third career NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole – all this season – with a top lap of 58.2349 seconds in the No. 3 Freightliner Team Penske Chevrolet.

SEE: Qualifying Results

New Zealand native McLaughlin is one of seven drivers eligible for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship with two races remaining, 54 points behind teammate and leader Will Power. A driver must be within 54 points of the leader after this event to stay eligible for the title Sunday, Sept. 11 at the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

“When the team wins, we all win,” McLaughlin said. “For me, I’ve just got to focus on what I’m doing. If I can be at the front and take points off others and win the race, that’s exactly what we want to do. Until I’m mathematically out of it, I want to keep going hard and keep trying to win races.”

McLaughlin earned his first career victory from pole at the season opener in late February on the streets of St. Petersburg and finished second after claiming his second career pole in August on the streets of Nashville. Live coverage of the 110-lap race at PIR starts at 3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Two-time series champion Josef Newgarden qualified second at 58.3129 in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, but he will start eighth in the race Sunday due to a six-spot grid penalty for an unapproved engine change after the race Aug. 20 at World Wide Technology Raceway. Newgarden is second in the championship, trailing Power by three points.

Power qualified third at 58.4254 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet but will start on the front row next to teammate McLaughlin.

The dominance by Team Penske may have been paved by a private, multiteam test session Friday, Aug. 26 at the 12-turn, 1.964-mile PIR road course during which Power was quickest, Newgarden third and McLaughlin fifth overall. Last year at this race, Power qualified 14th, McLaughlin 15th and Newgarden 18th.

“Credit to everyone at Team Penske,” McLaughlin said. “We weren’t great here last year, but we’ve come back here this year with three hot rods. We’re all pushing each other.”

Rookie of the Year points leader Christian Lundgaard was the quickest non-Penske driver, qualifying fourth at 58.4482 in the No. 30 Mi-Jack Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Lundgaard earned a third consecutive spot in the Firestone Fast Six this season as RLL continued its second-half resurgence.

Reigning series champion and 2021 Portland race winner Alex Palou qualified fifth at 58.5075 in the No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda. Palou is fifth in the standings, 43 points behind Power.

Fellow title contender Pato O’Ward rounded out the Firestone Fast Six with a top lap of 58.6090 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. O’Ward is seventh in the championship, 58 points behind Power.

Five of the seven drivers in contention for the Astor Challenge Cup advanced to the Firestone Fast Six. Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson were the exceptions, halting after the first round.

Six-time series champion Dixon, 14 points behind Power in third, qualified 16th at 58.2628 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Ericsson, 17 points behind Power in fourth, ended up 18th at 58.3064 in the No. 8 PNC Bank Honda.

Portland Grand Prix Qualifying Groups

Group 12 Newgarden, Josef26 Herta, Colton15 Rahal, Graham27 Rossi, Alexander5 O’Ward, Pato28 Grosjean, Romain14 Kirkwood, Kyle60 Pagenaud, Simon45 Harvey, Jack21 VeeKay, Rinus06 Castroneves, Helio48 Johnson, Jimmie Group 212 Power, Will3 McLaughlin, Scott30 Lundgaard, Christian9 Dixon, Scott77 Ilott, Callum18 Malukas, David10 Palou, Alex8 Ericsson, Marcus29 DeFrancesco, Devlin20 Daly, Conor7 Rosenqvist, Felix51 Sato, Takuma4 Kellett, Dalton…

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Newgarden Continues To Apply Pressure by Leading Portland Practice

PORTLAND, Ore. (Friday, Sept. 2, 2022) – Josef Newgarden made yet another statement of intent about winning his third Astor Challenge Cup as he led practice for the Grand Prix of Portland on Friday at Portland International Raceway.

2017 and 2019 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Newgarden was quickest with a lap of 58.5769 seconds in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. The top lap continued a recent resurgence for Newgarden, who pulled to second in the championship standings – within three points of leader and teammate Will Power – after winning the last event Aug. 20 at World Wide Technology Raceway.

SEE: Practice Results

The 75-minute practice took nearly three hours to complete due to three red flags for minor on-track incidents and another one lasting one hour, 21 minutes for a hydraulic issue on a large video screen adjacent to the front straightaway.

“Strange day,” Newgarden said. “Odd red today. But we all waited it out and got on track and felt really positive to start the weekend. I was really happy with our car and our start point.

“The test (last Friday at Portland) was very productive for us. We learned a lot about the track here specifically in different temperatures, and that paid dividends today. Feeling confident tomorrow and think we can have a good run in qualifying.”

NTT P1 Award qualifying is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET Saturday. A 45-minute practice will precede qualifying at noon ET, and a 30-minute final practice will conclude a hectic Saturday for drivers and teams at 7:15 p.m. ET. Qualifying and both practice sessions will be broadcast live on Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Another American driver continued a recent upswing during practice Friday, as rookie David Malukas was second at 58.7024 in the No. 18 HMD Honda on the 12-turn, 1.964-mile road course. Malukas finished a career-best second behind Newgarden at WWTR.

Scott McLaughlin helped Team Penske take two of the top three spots as he ended up third at 58.7156 in the No. 3 Freightliner Team Penske Chevrolet. McLaughlin is sixth in the standings, 54 behind leader Power, and one of seven drivers still eligible to win the championship with two races remaining.

Alexander Rossi was fourth at 58.7639 in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda, as the top four drivers in practice each were quicker than Alex Palou’s pole-winning lap of 58.7701 from last year.

Colton Herta helped Andretti Autosport land two drivers in the top five as he was fifth at 58.8246 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda.

Newgarden and McLaughlin were the only two among the seven drivers still in contention for the Astor Challenge Cup to end up in the top five of the time sheet today.

Points leader Power was 10th at 59.0287 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, while third-place Scott Dixon (-14 points from lead) was 11th at 59.0325 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Fourth place Marcus Ericsson (-17) was 16th at 59.2860 in the No. 8 PNC Bank Honda, with fifth place and reigning series champion Palou (-43) ninth at 58.9988 in the No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda. Seventh place Pato O’Ward (-58) was 22nd at 59.6261 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.

INDYCAR Announces Portland Grid Penalties

INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, Sept. 2, 2022) – INDYCAR officials have announced a six-position starting grid penalty for the entries of No. 2 Team Penske and No. 4 A.J. Foyt Enterprises for unapproved engine changes following the Saturday, Aug. 20 race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

The teams were in violation of:

Rule 16.2.3.2 A fifth (5th) Engine is eligible to earn Engine Manufacturer points if a Full Season Entrant has completed the Full Season Entrant Engine Mileage with its first four (4) Engines. Otherwise, a fifth (5th) or more Engine does not earn Engine Manufacturer points and will be considered an Unapproved Engine change-out.

According to Rule 16.6.1.2, the penalty is a six-position starting grid penalty on road and street course events and nine positions at oval events and will be served at the series’ next event, which is the Grand Prix of Portland Sunday, Sept. 4 at Portland International Raceway.

Grand Prix of Portland Fast Facts

Race weekend: Friday, Sept. 2 – Sunday, Sept. 4

Track: Portland International Raceway, a 12-turn, 1.964-mile road course in Portland, Oregon

Race distance: 110 laps / 216.04 miles | Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires: 35 laps / 68.74 miles / 55 minutes

Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation. | Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation.

Firestone tire allotment: Six sets primary, four sets alternate. Teams must use one set of primary and one new set of alternate tires in the race. (Note: A seventh set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie driver.)

Twitter: @Portland_GP, @IndyCar, #PortlandGP, #INDYCAR

Event website: www.portlandgp.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2021 race winners:

NTT INDYCAR SERIES

Alex Palou (No. 10 PNC Bank Honda)

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires

Race 1: David Malukas (No. 79 HMD Motorsports)

Race 2: Kyle Kirkwood (No. 28 Andretti Autosport)

2021 NTT P1 Award winner: Alex Palou (No. 10 PNC Bank Honda), 58.7701, 120.306 mph

Qualifying records:

NTT INDYCAR SERIES

Will Power, 57.2143 seconds, 123.577 mph, Sept. 1, 2018 (Set in Round 1 of knockout qualifying)

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires

Pato O’Ward, 1:02.8074, 112.573 mph, Aug. 31, 2018

NBC Sports race telecast: Grand Prix of Portland 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 4, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe.

Peacock Premium Live Streaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product, while NBC’s race telecast of the Grand Prix of Portland will be simulcast on the streaming service. Peacock Premium’s exclusive post-race show – featuring driver interviews, podium ceremonies and post-race analysis – will be streamed following the race. The Indy Lights Portland Grand Prix (1 p.m. ET Sunday) will be streamed on Peacock Premium with practice and qualifying being shown on INDYCAR Live!

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the anchor alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Nick Yeoman, Michael Young and Ryan Myrehn are the turn announcers. Dan Rusanowski and Alex Wollf are the pit reporters. The Grand Prix of Portland race (3 p.m. ET Sunday), Indy Lights Portland Grand Prix (1 p.m. ET Sunday) and all NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires practices and qualifying sessions air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 160, racecontrol.indycar.com and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, Sept. 2

1:25-2:15 p.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires practice 1, INDYCAR Live!

2:30-3:45 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 1, Peacock Premium

Saturday, Sept. 3

9-10 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 2 (45 minutes limited guarantee), Peacock Premium

11:15-11:55 a.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires practice 2, INDYCAR Live!

12:05 p.m. – Grand Prix of Portland NTT P1 Award qualifying (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock Premium

3:25 p.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Qualifying, INDYCAR Live!

4:15-4:45 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES final practice, Peacock Premium

Sunday, Sept. 4

10:15 a.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix of Portland “Drivers Start Your Engines”

10:20 a.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix of Portland (35 laps / 68.74 miles / 55 minutes)

Noon – NBC on air

12:23 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”

12:30 p.m. – Grand Prix of Portland (110 laps/216.04 miles), NBC (Live)

Championship facts:

  • Will Power leads the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship with two races to go for the fourth time in his career. Power previously led the championship with two races in 2010, 2012 and 2014. He won the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship in 2014.
  • There are seven drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship: Power leads Josef Newgarden by 3 points with Scott Dixon (-14), Marcus Ericsson (-17), Alex Palou (-43), Scott McLaughlin (-54) and Pato O’Ward (-58) behind. Any driver who trails the points leader by 54 points or more following the race will be eliminated from contention.
  • Power assumed the point lead following the Gallagher Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30. The lead has changed hands seven times between McLaughlin, Newgarden, Palou, Power and Ericsson.
  • Since the first INDYCAR SERIES race at Portland International Raceway, the winning driver has won the INDYCAR SERIES championship in the same season 11 times: Bobby Rahal (1987), Danny Sullivan (1988), Emerson Fittipaldi (1989), Michael Andretti (1991), Al Unser Jr. (1994), Alex Zanardi (1998), Gil de Ferran (2000), Cristiano da Matta (2002), Sebastien Bourdais (2004 and 2007) and Alex Palou (2021).

Point differential: The three points that separate Will Power and Josef Newgarden is the closest margin with two races remaining since 2008. The 43 points separating the top five drivers in the championship is the tightest title chase since 2003, when 41 points separated the top five. The average deficit with two races to go since 2008 is 24.3 points.

Key championship point statistic: No point lead is ever safe in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Since 2008, a driver has made up a deficit with two races to go and won the series championship five times. Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon have done it twice. Franchitti trailed Ryan Briscoe by 25 points in 2009 and Will Power by 17 points in 2010; Ryan Hunter-Reay tracked down Power in 2012 after trailing by 36 points with two races remaining, Dixon overcame an eight-point deficit to Helio Castroneves in 2013 and was in third place, 34 points behind Juan Pablo Montoya, in 2015.

CHAMPIONSHIP WITH 2 TO GO (2008-2022)

YEARLEADERSECOND LEADCHAMPION
2008Scott DixonHelio Castroneves43Scott Dixon
2009Ryan BriscoeDario Franchitti25Dario Franchitti
2010Will PowerDario Franchitti17Dario Franchitti
2011Dario FranchittiWill Power5Dario Franchitti
2012Will PowerRyan Hunter-Reay36Ryan Hunter-Reay
2013Helio CastronevesScott Dixon8Scott Dixon
2014Will PowerHelio Castroneves39Will Power
2015Juan Pablo MontoyaGraham Rahal9Scott Dixon (-34)
2016Simon PagenaudWill Power20Simon Pagenaud
2017Josef NewgardenScott Dixon31Josef Newgarden
2018Scott DixonAlexander Rossi26Scott Dixon
2019Josef NewgardenSimon Pagenaud38Josef Newgarden
2020Scott DixonJosef Newgarden40Scott Dixon
2021Alex PalouPato O’Ward25Alex Palou
2022Will PowerJosef Newgarden3?

Race notes:

  • There have been eight different winners in 15 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races in the 2022 season. Scott McLaughlin (Streets of St. Petersburg, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course), Josef Newgarden (Texas Motor Speedway, Streets of Long Beach, Road America, Iowa Speedway-1, World Wide Technology Raceway), Pato O’Ward (Barber Motorsports Park, Iowa Speedway-2), Colton Herta (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-1), Marcus Ericsson (Indianapolis 500), Will Power (Raceway at Belle Isle Park), Scott Dixon (Streets of Toronto and Streets of Nashville) and Alexander Rossi (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-2) have all won in 2022. The record for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.
  • The Grand Prix of Portland will be the 28th INDYCAR SERIES race at Portland International Raceway and the fourth since the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returned in 2018. Al Unser Jr. won the first INDYCAR SERIES race at Portland in 1984, while Alex Palou won in 2021. Palou, Will Power and Takuma Sato are the only former winners entered in this year’s race.
  • Seven INDYCAR SERIES drivers have won at Portland International Raceway from the pole – Danny Sullivan (1988), Al Unser Jr. (1994), Alex Zanardi (1996), Max Papis (2001), Cristiano da Matta (2002), Sebastien Bourdais (2004) and Alex Palou (2021).
  • Team Penske has won six times at Portland International Raceway. Penske’s winning INDYCAR SERIES drivers are Danny Sullivan (1988), Emerson Fittipaldi (1993), Al Unser Jr. (1994 and 1995), Gil de Ferran (2000) and Will Power (2019). Chip Ganassi Racing has three wins at Portland with Alex Zanardi in 1996 and 1998 and Alex Palou in 2021. Newman/Haas Racing won a record eight times at Portland.
  • Twenty-one drivers entered in the event have competed in past INDYCAR SERIES races at Portland International Raceway. Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Will Power each have five starts, most among the entered drivers. Fourteen entered drivers have led laps at the track (Castroneves 115, Power 66, Colton Herta 36, Graham Rahal 36, Alexander Rossi 32, Alex Palou 29, Pato O’Ward 28, Takuma Sato 25, Dixon 15, Josef Newgarden 8, Jack Harvey 5, Scott McLaughlin 5, Felix Rosenqvist 3 and Marcus Ericsson 1).
  • Pato O’Ward won both Indy Lights races at Portland in 2018 on his way to the series championship…Graham Rahal scored the first win of his professional racing career at Portland, winning the Star Mazda (now Indy Pro 2000 championship) race in 2005.
  • Milestones: Scott Dixon will attempt to make his 305th consecutive start, the second-longest streak in INDYCAR SERIES history … With his next pole position, Will Power will break a tie with Mario Andretti for the INDYCAR SERIES record for most career poles. They both have 67 pole positions … With his next win, Power will tie Michael Andretti for fourth on the INDYCAR SERIES’ all-time victory list with 42.

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Notes:

  • The Indy Lights Grand Prix of Portland will be the series’ 21st race at Portland International Raceway. Previous Indy Lights winners at Portland include Paul TracyAndre RibeiroGreg MoorePato O’Ward and Rinus VeeKay. Current NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookies David Malukas and Kyle Kirkwood split the Indy Lights Grand Prix of Portland doubleheader in 2021.
  • Linus Lundqvist of HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing is enjoying a dominant season, leading the series in wins (five), poles (six) and top-five finishes (11) through 11 races. Lundqvist, a native of Sweden, owns a commanding 108-point lead over second-place Matthew Brabham of Andretti Autosport. Lundqvist can clinch the season championship by leading by at least 109 points after this event.
  • Danial Frost, Christian Rasmussen and Hunter McElrea have all scored their first Indy Lights win in 2022. Just three races are remaining for other talented prospects such as Sting Ray RobbBenjamin PedersenKyffin Simpson or Ernie Francis Jr. to score a first series win.
  • Push-to-pass could play a key strategic role at Portland as Indy Lights drivers will have a bank of 150 seconds to use an added 50 horsepower to assist in overtaking, similar to the drivers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The maximum amount of time for each press of the overtake system is 15 seconds
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