Race Preview- Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey

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.

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?

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

David Malukas

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.

Last Rides

Alexander Rossi and the NAPA livery have been a fixyture on the circuit for seven years.

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.

Herta off to F1?

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.,