The title of Will Power and the final victory for Alex Palou

The title of Will Power and the final victory for Alex Palou

( – In Saturday’s qualifying, he broke the record for most IndyCar poles of all time, drove to the podium in Sunday’s race and secured the second late IndyCar title of his career: Will. Power was the driver of the weekend in the 2022 IndyCar season finale at Laguna Seca Raceway, despite not winning the race.

Will Power (Penske-Chevrolet) is the 2022 IndyCar Champion!


“It’s a great day, my wife told me I’m going to break the record and win the title, I didn’t believe it, but it happened,” said Power, who finished the race in P3. One of his four rivals in the title battle finished ahead of him in P2: Penske teammate Josef Newgarden, who had just started the race from P25. (Photo: IndyCar Finals at Laguna Seca Raceway)

The race win in the final went to Alex Palou (Ganassi-Honda). Whether last year’s deposed champion will still drive for Ganassi in 2023 or McLaren will be decided in court. In celebration of Will Power’s title, Palou’s first win of the season in 2022 was lost. (Results: IndyCar Finals at Laguna Seca Raceway)

Will Power breaks Mario Andretti’s record

At the start of the Laguna Seca weekend, five drivers still had a chance to win the title. In qualifying on Saturday, Will Power, who arrived as the championship leader, was not only the fastest of the five, but also the fastest overall.

Mario Andretti, Will Power

Old and new record holder: Mario Andretti and Will Power on Saturday zoom

Power qualified for the 68th time in his IndyCar career, surpassing Mario Andretti’s record of 67 poles, which had stood for decades. Power had won his first race in October 2006 in qualifying for the ChampCar race at Surfers Paradise (Australia).

Over the years, Power has earned a reputation as the king of qualifying, but also as the unlucky one at the turns. On Sunday at Laguna Seca Raceway, the 41-year-old Australian added not just another piece of bad luck, but his third big celebration after winning the 2014 title and winning the 2018 Indy 500.

Josef Newgarden starts from the last row

The Power entered the final race of the final week of the season with a lead of 20 points over Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon, 39 points over Marcus Ericsson and 41 points over Scott McLaughlin. Thanks to his great position, Power extended his lead over the competition by another point on Saturday.

IndyCar 2022 title contenders in the final: Marcus Ericsson, Scott Dixon, Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Scott McLaughlin

Two Ganassis against three Penskes: This is how the final title battle went zoom

While Power started from pole, his four title contenders – two of them Penske teammates – started the race from P7 (McLaughlin), P9 (Ericsson), P13 (Dixon) and P25 (Newgarden).

The fact that Newgarden, who finished second in the standings with the same number of points as Dixon, started from the last row of the grid was his own fault. In Q1 of qualifying on Saturday, he spun in a traffic jam, after which there was a red phase and Newgarden’s lap times were cancelled.

At the start of Sunday’s 95-lap race, pole-sitter Will Power got off to the best start. He turned first at the Andretti hairpin (Turn 2) in front of Alexander Rossi (Andretti-Honda). And because Power was also leading on the first lap, with an extra point for the lead lap he immediately increased his lead over his four championship rivals by another point.

IndyCar 2022: Laguna Seca

Highlights from the 2022 IndyCar Series finale, the Firstone Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca Raceway! More formula racing videos

While Power, Ericsson and Dixon started on the red-marked soft tire compound (Red), Power’s Penske teammates McLaughlin and Newgarden were among five title contenders to complete the first round on the hard (Black) tyre.

Ericsson and Dixon entered Black after just nine laps, falling early behind Newgarden, who had started from the last row. McLaughlin crashed on lap eleven and caught the new Blacks. Leader Power came in after 15 laps and switched to Black.

Alex Palou leads from Power

When Power lined up on the track he was fifth just ahead of Newgarden who had moved into the opposing positions but still had his first stop to go. He did so after 23 laps, changing to soft tires. Only Felix Rosenqvist (McLaren-Chevrolet), who is still without a cockpit for 2023, drove longer than Newgarden with hard tires.

At the start of the second stint, Power was leading ahead of deposed champion Alex Palou, Patricio O’Ward (McLaren-Chevrolet) and Callum Ilott (Juncos-Chevrolet), who started close to Power from the front row and retired. a little later with defects.

Alex Palou

Alex Palou (Ganassi-Honda) took his first win of 2022 in the season finale zoom

On lap 27, Palou passed Power before Turn 4 took the lead. Last year’s champion only started from P11 after a grid penalty (engine change after qualifying). Unlike Power, however, Palou had soft tires in the second phase, which is why the championship leader in the service of Penske was able and did not want to give him much opposition.

Newgarden passes Power on the block

For the second pit stop, Dixon, McLaughlin and Ericsson came first in the ranks of title contenders. Newgarden switched to hard tires after finishing the second round on soft ones. But even after this second stop, the Penske driver, who started from P25, was still in the top 10. Power came at the same time as the leader Palou to switch to the new Blacks after 38 rounds.

Stage three began with a caution-only phase caused by a defect in Callum Ilott’s Juncos Chevrolet. The entire field still in contention had completed the second pit stop and the five title contenders were all in the top 10. Newgarden came well for the yellow phase because he expected his result (Ilott’s car was long before the yellow was shown) could put a soft tire short.

Palou won the restart ahead of Power and Rosenqvist. Behind them, Newgarden moved up to O’Ward for fourth. A little later he also accepted Rosenqvist and thus was in third place directly behind Power. And on lap 48, Newgarden attacked Power on the Corkscrew course of all places, where he had made a mistake the day before.

In the duel between Newgarden and Power it was almost P2 in the race. The attack was successful and the table leader had to give way. During the previous pit stop, not only had the tires on the Power car been replaced and filled with oil, but the front wing was also improved. The latter turned out to be a bad decision.

Newgarden makes it exciting

When Dixon and McLaughlin used the soft tires for the third pit stop, and Ericsson used the hard tire again for his third pit stop, the championship battle escalated into a battle between Power and Newgarden.

On the 60th of 95 laps, Newgarden won second place to take the soft tires for the second time in the race. Despite this he moved forward again and showed another extreme maneuver in the cage – in this case against Romain Grosjean (Andretti-Honda) in the battle for P3.

Joseph Newgarden

Josef Newgarden advanced from P25 to P2, but that was not enough for the title zoom

Power, moved up to second by Newgarden’s pit stop, stayed on track until Lap 68 and then jumped the hard tires. But: For Power it was the last stop of the dungeon. Newgarden, who pumped the pipe and took the bonus point for the lead when Alex Palou drove to the last stop in the lead, failed to pass.

Newgarden made his fourth and final pit stop on lap 72. He was also put on hard tires for the final lap. With this fourth pit stop, however, he only dropped to second place behind Palou. The power was behind. However, that alone wasn’t enough for Newgarden to catch Power in the title fight.

Palou takes the first win of the season – Power’s second title

In the end, Alex Palou took his first victory of the season to the finish after confident. Josef Newgarden crossed the line in second place, 30 seconds behind, after a strong race to catch up. Will Power was 3.5 seconds behind Newgarden but had a 16-point lead after 17 races of the season, making him the 2022 IndyCar champion.

Six-time champion Scott Dixon finished P12 after four pit stops in the race and is 39 points clear of Power in third final IndyCar overall results for 2022. Scott McLaughlin finished sixth in the race, beating Marcus Ericsson in the battle for fourth overall.

Indy 500 winner Ericsson, who fought once very easily with Simon Pagenaud (Shank-Honda), twice very easily with McLaughlin and finally also very easily with Alexander Rossi, finished in P9 and closed the season only finishing sixth behind eventual winner Alex Palou.

Colton Herta, who not only won in 2019 and 2021 at Laguna Seca Raceway, but completely dominated in both cases, remained completely red this time. With his black Andretti-Honda he finished eleventh this time outside the top 10.

Jimmie Johnson (Ganassi-Honda) finished P16, repeating his best result as an IndyCar driver outside the oval. Simona de Silvestro (Paretta-Chevrolet) finished her fourth race of the season in P22.

Christian Lundgaard is the Rookie of the Year

In the fight for the rookie title for the 2022 IndyCar season, the starting position before the final was more difficult than in the fight for the actual title. Only five points separated Christian Lundgaard (Rahal-Honda) and the chasing David Malukas (Coyne-Honda).

Malukas started Sunday’s race from P7, while Lundgaard only started from P15. In the final race results, however, Lundgaard in P6 clearly had the upper hand over Malukas in P13. So it was Dane who won the rookie classification. They are the ones who led from the beginning of the season and thus won anything but deservedly.

David Malukas, Christian Lundgaard

Christian Lundgaard (right) held off David Malukas in the rookie classification zoom

Alexander Rossi finished his final race as an Andretti driver after seven years in P10 after battling McLaughlin and Ericsson in the final laps. Kyle Kirkwood, who takes over from Rossi Andretti for the new season, finished P21 in his final race for AJ Foyt Enterprises.

In 2021, Kirkwood had won the Indy Lights title and was therefore considered the favorite to win the rookie classification for the 2022 IndyCar season. In fact, he finished fifth behind David Malukas, Christian Lundgaard, Callum Ilott and Devlin DeFrancesco.

The race calendar for the 2023 IndyCar season is not yet available, but should be announced before the end of September. (IndyCar 2023: Overview of drivers, teams and driver changes)