It is Power’s title to lose
Today’s Schedule: All Times Pacific
8:30 – 8:45 T&S On Track
9:00 – 9:30 Practice 1 Spec Racer Ford
9:45 – 10:15 Practice 1 US Touring Car Championship
10:30 – 10:45 OEM Laps
11:45 – 12:15 Practice 2 Spec Racer Ford
12:15 – 1:15 NTT INDYCAR Autograph Session
12:30 – 1:00 Practice 2 US Touring Car Championship
1:15 – 2:05 Practice Indy Lights
2:30 – 3:45 Practice 1 NTT INDYCAR Series Peacock
4:00 – 4:30 Qualifying US Touring Car Championship
4:45 – 5:30 Two Seater Rides
I hate writing the preview for this particular race because it means the season ends in two days. 2022 has been a year of great racing and a tight championship points battle. But, the year end review has to wait ntil we see how the final chapter plays out.
While the main focus is on who wins the championship, there are a couple other stories to watch this weekend.
The Astor Cup Goes To…
With just 20 points separating the top three drivers and Marcus Ericsson just 39 points behind, any of the four has a shot. Realistically, I think it is Will Power’s title to lose.
The chart Indycar posted yesterday shows ahy Power is in good shape.
|2008||Scott Dixon||Helio Castroneves||30||Scott Dixon|
|2009||Scott Dixon||Dario Franchitti||5||Dario Franchitti|
|2010||Will Power||Dario Franchitti||12||Dario Franchitti|
|2011||Will Power||Dario Franchitti||11||Dario Franchitti|
|2012||Will Power||Ryan Hunter-Reay||17||Ryan Hunter-Reay|
|2013||Scott Dixon||Helio Castroneves||25||Scott Dixon|
|2014||Will Power||Helio Castroneves||51||Will Power|
|2015||Juan Pablo Montoya||Graham Rahal||34||Scott Dixon (-47)|
|2016||Simon Pagenaud||Will Power||43||Simon Pagenaud|
|2017||Josef Newgarden||Scott Dixon||3||Josef Newgarden|
|2018||Scott Dixon||Alexander Rossi||29||Scott Dixon|
|2019||Josef Newgarden||Alexander Rossi||41||Josef Newgarden|
|2020||Scott Dixon||Josef Newgarden||32||Scott Dixon|
|2021||Alex Palou||Pato O’Ward||35||Alex Palou|
|2022||Will Power||Josef Newgarden||20||?|
Not since 2015, the first year the final race went to a road course, has a driver come from behind to snatch a title in the final race of the season. Scott Dixon, tied for second with Josef Newgarden this year, accomplished the feat. Dixon won the title on a tiebreaker. Newgarden holds the tiebreaker, most wins over all contenders. Dixon holds the tiebreaker over Power.
Power simply needs to finish third to win the title, or stay ahead of the other contenders.
Saturday’s qualifying results will have a huge impact on who finishes where during the race.It should be the most intense qulaifying session of the season. Power has four poles this season, and a fifth would go a long way toward his championship.
The Other Title
The race for Rookie of the Year has also come down to the last race of the yhear. Christian Lundgaard’s once healthy lead over David Malukas is down to five points. Both drivers have had a podium, both Lundgaard and Malukas have had strong second halves of the season. I think Malukas has a bit more momentum right now, and I think he will end up with the rookie honor.
At least four drivers will be driving one final time for their current team. The saddest parting of all is Alexander Rossi, who will leave Andretti and the 27 car for Arrow McLaren SP. Rossi burst on the Indycar scene wit his shocking win at the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. It will be strange not seeing him in the 27 in 2023. Next year will be the second year in a row we need to get used to a different driver in a famliar Andretti livery.
Kyle Kirkwood will move from A. J. Foyt Racing to Rossi’s 27 at Andretti. This kove was virtually predetermined before this year began. I hope Kirkwood will have a better year next season with Andretti.
Alex Palou will most likely not be oin the 10 for Chip Ganassi next season. here he drives in the McLaren stable is still unclear. IT may be a while before we see Palou in an Indycar again.
Felix Rosenqvist may or may not be having his final Indycar ride for AMSP Sunday. His situation is unclea. He could even be with a different team in 2023. What I finsd sad is that Rosenqvist and Pato O’Ward have been arguably the best teammates at working together on the grid. Their cars are consistently equal each weekend. This pair of drivers are the fiercest competitors on track and they support each other.
Is Sunday Colton Herta’s last Indycar drive for a while? A decision about his F1 super license will come early next week. If it is, we could se him leave with another dominating performance on a track his family owns, racing wise.ert
Will David Malukas return to Coyne? I would love to see what he could do in a second season there, but openeings at bigger teams will be beckoning. Malukas has shown steady growth throughout the year, and he could shine in 2023.,