Colton Herta could play a spoiler role Sunday
Today’s Schedule. All times Pacific
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2
9:05 AM – 9:35 AM USF2000 Qualifying
9:55 AM – 10:25 AM Indy Pro 2000 Qualifying
11:20 AM – 12:05 PM USF2000 Race 1
12:15 PM – 1:15 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Autograph Session
12:20 PM – 1:10 PM Indy Pro 2000 Race 1
1:25 PM – 2:15 PM Indy Lights Practice 1
2:30 PM – 3:45 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 1 Peacock
4:00 PM – 4:45 PM USF2000 Race 2
5:00 PM – 5:50 PM Indy Pro 200 Race 2
6:05 PM – 7:05 PM ARCA Menards Series West Practice
Good morning from the Pacific Northwest. We are about 20 minutes away from the first track action of the day. Whiule the Grand prix of Portland isn’t considered Champiuonship Weekend, what happens here could go a long way toward determining the NTT Indycar Series 2022 champion.
It will come down to qualifying and who gets through turn 1 on lap 1 cleanly. Since Indycar returnbed to Portland in 2018, there has yet to be a clean start. Strangely, while two first turn disasters have involved championship contenders, they came back to get a result which propelled them to the title.
Scott Dixon in 2018 ended up in the dirt but kept going to finish fifth. Last year Alex Palou was involved in a pileup, restarted 20th, yet came back to win.
Chip Ganassi Racing decided not to test here last week, while Team Penske did. Ganassi felt their speed from 2021 gave them all the ibformation they need for Portland. We will see who made the correct decision.
Two teams could play thge spoiler role and keep the champion even more in doubt going to lagfuna Seca next week. Andretti Autosport I believe has one more win to come this season. Colton Herts is always fast on the west coast, and Alexander Rosi ahs had a strong second half of 2022.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan has improved tremendously in the second half as well. Graham Rahal and Christiuan Lundgaard have been in the top 10 consistently since August.
If either of these teams produces Sunday’s winner, and the four top title rivals have really bad days, it is possible here could more than five drivers with a realistic chance to win the title in the final race on September 11.
I pick Christian Lundgaard to win his first Indycar race Sunday, and either Josef Newgarden or Scott Dixon will hold a tenuous lead heading to Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca. Sound crazy? I think this scenario is perfectly in line with the wild season Indycar has had.