Quick Thoughts- Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

Photo by Kyle McIness

Youth ruled the weekend. 21 year old Rinus VeeKay won the pole and dominated the first part of the race. 22 year old Pato O’Ward won the race, passing VeeKay in turn following the final pit stop. The average of the podium-22.7 years. The Fast Six yesterday had an average age of 26.6, thanks to old guys who are 30 years old.

Pato O’Ward

Alex Palou earned his 12th podium and has taken the p[oints lead by three over Scott McLaughlin.

There was no better driver on track today than Will Power. He started 19th and finished fourth. Power has finished in the top four in all four races.

Andretti Autosport had another good day spoiled. Alexander Rossi had a solid fourth place pretty much locked up until a slow second pit stop. Colton Herta charged to the top ten but spun attempting to make a pass.

The drivers trying a three stop strategy were thwarted by Callum Ilott’s untimely spin and the caution it brought. Josef Newgarden was hurt the most by the yellow flag.

Will the Chevy dominance continue through the end of May? The engine has won every race in 2022. Honda is close, but just enough behind to not get a win.

Not only did Team Penske not win a race for the first time this season, but the team missed the podium for the first time.

The rookies suffered their worst race of the season. Christian Lundgaard was the highest first year finisher in 15th.

Is Rossi returning to his villain role? There was a minor incident with Graham Rahal late in the race.

While the front of the field was basically static, there were some good battles deeper in the field. Herta did not pass cars easily. It was fun watching Power move forward.

Scott Dixon missed the podium at Barber for the first time in 12 races.

Felix Rosenqvist once again didn’t take advantage of a good qualifying, finishing 16th.

I will have more on the Barber weekend tomorrow. Thanks for following along this weekend.

Wet or Dry? Tire Strategy Key for Race Day at Barber

Today’s Schedule

Sunday, May 1

  • Gates open 7:30AM
  • USF 2000 Race #2 8:45 – 9:25AM
  • INDY LIGHTS Race 9:45 – 10:40AM Peacock
  • NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race 12:00 – 2:00PM NBC, Peacock
  • Indy Pro 2000 Race #2 2:30 – 3:20PM

Or is it rain day? Chances of rain have diminished some, but the radar shows Birmingham covered in green from noon to 3 pm. The showers may to be scattered. As long as there is no severe weather, the race will run.

If rain tires are needed after the race starts, I think that favors Josef Newgarden. He won the rain delayed race in 2018 when Tim Cindric called Newgarden in for rain tires before the rain began. If the start is declared a wet start, this race is up for grabs.

Pato O’Ward expressed concern yesterday in the press conference about the current stock of rain tires being two years old and never used. Rinus VeeKay said he has experience racing in the rain inkarts but not much in race cars.

Pato O’Ward

Should conditions be normal, I get the sense most drivers want to be on blacks for most of the race. The reds did not get much time yesterday in practice because of the late red flag. I didn’t see much lap time difference between the two tires in qualifying yesterday.

Rain or shine, it is May 1 and Indycar has cars on track.


Will Power and Scott Dixon have their worst starting positions for a race at Barber. In the 11 previous races here, the two veterans were in the Fast Six a combine 20 times. A 10th Barber podium for Dixon will be difficult to get today.

Scott McLaughlin

There are subtle shifts in team leadership happening at Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing. Scott Mclaughlin has been Penske’s overall best qualifier this year, and he is not far behind Josef Newgarden for the points lead. Alex Palou is backing up last year’s championship with strong qualifying runs and good finishes.

I will have an eye on Alexander Rossi today. He put in a great qualifying effort after his team, with help from other Andretti crew and Honda, put his car back together in two hours after his practice crash yesterday morning. Look for him on the podium.

Romain Grosjean and Josef Newgarden, who had a great duel for the win at Long Beach, make up row four.

Enjoy the race. If you are coming to the track, stay dry.

Ilott Leads Final Warm Up

Photo by Kyle McIness

Callum Ilott posted the fastest lap in the final warm up for Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. The session ran dry despite a slight chance of rain. just a few scattered drops fell.

Alex Palou had the second fastest time. Marcus Ericsson, Scott Dixon, and Alexander Rossi completed the top five.

Eight minutes into the 30 minute session Tatiana Calderon slid off the track in turn 2 and made contact with the barrier. Calderon was unhurt. The rest of the round was green.

Ilott will start 11th tomorrow.

Pole sitter Rinus VeeKay was 20th for this session.

All eyes turn to the skies now to see what kind of race we will have tomorrow. The rain looks to be scattered, which will make for interesting strategy. This race will be intriguing if it is run in completely dry conditions.

The top 13:

VeeKay Takes Pole in Youthful Fast Six

Photo: Kyle McInnes

Rinus VeeKay tok the pole for tomorrow’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama with a lap of 1:06.25. Pato O’Ward, last year’s polke winner, will join VeeKay on the front row. O’Ward was 0.15 seconds slower than VeeKay.

Alex Palou, 2021 race winner and series champion, will start third, the same position he won the rac from last year. Scott McLaughlin, Alexander Rossi, and Felix Rosenqvist round out the first three rows.

As startling as the names in the Fast Six were, equally shocking was who was not in it. Scott Dixon missed the Fast Six at Barber for the first time. He will start 13th. Power had been in the Fast Six nine times in the 11 races here, will start 19th. Josef Newgarden will start seventh and Colton Herta 10th. Romain Grosjean will start eighth.

Colton Herta waited a bit too long to make his final run in the round of 12. That session ended early when Marcus Ericsson went off track and brought out the red flag with 25 seconds left.

The results set up a Fast Six with drivers who had 16 poles between them and an average age of 26 years.

In the Fast Six, VeeKay was the last car on track and nipped O’Ward at the line. The pole was VeeKay’s second career pole. The first came aqt the 2020 Harvest Classic Race 1 at IMS.


Veekay is the fourth different pole winner and ECR is the fourth different team to win a pole in 2022. Pole winners have won two of the three races this season.

Chevy has been quite strong this year. The manufacturer has three poles and has won the first three races of 2022.

How good are rookies Callum Ilott and Kyle Kirkwood? Ilott will nstart b11th and Kirkwood lines up 21st, but people were disappointed that neither advanced further today.

David Malukas continues to struggle. He has had wall contact every weekend this season.

Kudos to Alexander Rossi’s team and others from Andretti Autosport for getting the 27 car back together after after the big crash this morning. Rossi rewarded them as the onlky Andretti car to make the Fast Six.

Will rain affect the brace tomorrow? The latest radar looks as if there will be rain this afternoon, possibly during the final practice session later today.

Tomorrow’s forecast as of 2:50 pm Central calls for a 46-48 % chance of rain during race time tomorrow, with a better chance for in the hours leading up to the noon start.


1. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 01:06.2507 (124.980 mph)
2. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 01:06.4003 (124.698)
3. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 01:06.4415 (124.621)
4. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 01:06.4967 (124.517)
5. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:06.5549 (124.409)
6. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 01:06.6410 (124.248)
7. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:06.3348 (124.821)
8. (28) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 01:06.3820 (124.733)
9. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:06.6339 (124.261)
10. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 01:06.7295 (124.083)
11. (77) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 01:07.2000 (123.214)
12. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 01:07.3561 (122.929)
13. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:06.5142 (124.485)
14. (30) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 01:06.7462 (124.052)
15. (45) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:06.6511 (124.229)
16. (06) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 01:06.8138 (123.926)
17. (51) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:06.7541 (124.037)
18. (18) David Malukas, Honda, 01:06.8898 (123.786)
19. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:06.7775 (123.994)
20. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 01:07.0242 (123.537)
21. (14) Kyle Kirkwood, Chevrolet, 01:06.8213 (123.913)
22. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:07.0350 (123.518)
23. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 01:07.6869 (122.328)
24. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 01:07.1052 (123.388)
25. (11) Tatiana Calderon, Chevrolet, 01:07.9248 (121.900)
26. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 01:09.0075 (119.987) 

Barber Qualifying Could Determine Race Outcome

Today’s Schedule: All Times Centrtal

Saturday, April 30

  • Gates open 7:30AM
  • Radical Cup Race #2 8:00 – 8:45AM
  • NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 2 9:00 – 10:00 AM Peacock
  • USF 2000 (Q2) 10:15 – 10:45AM
  • INDY LIGHTS (Q) 11:00 – 11:30AM
  • NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying/Firestone Fast 6 12:00 – 1:15 PM Peacock
  • NTT INDYCAR SERIES Driver Autograph Session 1:15 PM – 1:45 PM
  • Indy Pro 2000 Race #1 1:30 – 2:20PM
  • INDY LIGHTS (Final Practice) 2:35 – 3:05PM
  • USF 2000 Race #1 3:20 – 4:05PM
  • NTT INDYCAR SERIES (Final Practice) 4:20 – 4:50 PM Peacock
  • Radical Cup Race #3 5:05 – 5:50PM
  • Indy Pro 2000 (Q2) 6:05 – 6:30PM

Today’s qualifying carries a lot of importance. Will Power won the race from ninth place in 2012. That is the lowest starting position of a race winner here.

The teams that tested here, mainly Ganassi and Andretti, were strongest in practice yesterday. The teams that didn’t test, namely Team Penske did not fare so well yesterday except for Scott McLaughlin, who was fifth in Friday’s practice. Will Power admitted to being nervous about the team’s chances for qualifying.

It is never wise to put too much stock in a weekend’s first practice. Cars have not had a chance to try out the alternate red tires yet. Some cars perform differently on reds. Certain drivers are becoming Friday stars who fade fast when the sun comes up again.

There is also a slight chance of rain today. Qualifying should be fine. The best chance for rain is between 2 pm and 6 pm. Rain could affect the final Indy Lights and Indycar practices. The rain chance at 2 pm is 50%. Qualifying should be fine, but we’ll probably see rain tires ready on pit road.

There is a 50% chance of rain Sunday. Scattered thunderstorms are predicted, which would make the race a lot more interesting.

Here is the full practice sheet from yesterday:


I was sad to see that some land on the approach road to the track is for sale and that cutting of trees has already begun. Barber has one of the prettiest approaches to the main gate of any track.

Scott McLaughlin has the weekend’s best livery.

Scott Dixon will make his 292nd consecutive Indycar start Sunday, the second longest streak in Indycar history.

Marcus Ericsson will start his 50th Indycar race.

Morning at Barber

It’s great to be back at Barber Motorsports Park. I don’t know why, but I consider this race the true start of the summer racing season. I assume it is because the race is so close to opening day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Turn 3
Turn 1. Pit out at the middle right edge

Today’s action focuses mainly on the Road to Indy, including USF Juniors, the first step on the ladder. Indycar takes the track at 3 pm Central Time.


Indycar and IMS announced a multi -year sponsorship with Gallagher, a global insurance company. Gallagher was the sponsor for Carlin Racing and Max Chilton.The agreement includes title sponsorship of the second Indycar road race at IMS. The link to the announcement:


The 33rd entry for the Indianapolis 500 will be announced next week. I’m hearing it involves Stefan Wilson and Cusick Motorsports.

I’ll be back with some driver quotes in a bit.

Barber Preview- Milestones on the Line

Photo: Alex Palou on his way to winning the 2021 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

Greetings from Birmingham. It was a long drive down with awful traffic and lots of road work, but I made it. It’s hard to believe that this weekend’s race is just the 12th Hoinda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.It seems as if this race has been on the schedule a long time. The track announced this afternoon that Saturday is now sold out. Previously Barber ahd declared Sunday a sellout as well. There are still tickets available for today.

Today’s Schedule:

Friday, April 29– All times Central

  • Gates open 7:30AM
  • Radical Cup (P2) 8:00 – 8:30AM
  • Indy Pro 2000 (P1) 8:45 – 9:15AM
  • USF Juniors Race #2 9:30 – 10:15AM
  • Radical Cup (Q) 10:30 – 11:00AM
  • Indy Pro 2000 (Q1) 11:15 – 11:45AM
  • USF 2000 (P1) 12:00 – 12:30PM
  • Radical Cup Race #1 12:45 – 1:30PM
  • INDY LIGHTS (P1) 1:45 – 2:30PM
  • NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 1 3:00 – 4:00 PM Peacock
  • USF 2000 (Q1) 4:15 – 4:45PM
  • INDY5K Presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama 5:30 PM
  • Racing For Children’s Dinner at Barber Museum 6:00 PM

Barber returns to a spot on the calendar closer to its regular slot. The past two years the race was in early April and the normally beautiful landscaping still wore much of its brown winter coat. Everything should be blooming quite nicely this weekend.

There are three milestones on the line this weekend.

Scott Dixon is still seeking his first win at Barber. Dixon has finished on the podium here more than any other driver- nine times, including second place six times. A win will also tie him with Mario Andretti with 52 career races won. Chip Ganassi Racing was strong at Barber in 2021. Dixon will have to battle teammate Alex Palou, last year’s winner.

Josef Newgarden has won the last two races. A third straight win would give Team Penske four straight wins for the year. A $1 million bonus is Newgarden’s if he takes the checkered flag Sunday. The PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge goes to the first driver to win on each of the three types of tracks Indycar races on. Barber is the first natural road course of the year. Newgarden has an oval and a street course victory to date. Newgarden has won at Barber three times, twice for Penske. Team Penske has won six of the 11 races at Barber.

Will Power will seek his fifth pole at Barber, which will extend his record here. No other driver has more than two poles on this track. Power has not won the pole at Barber since 2017. He remains four poles behind Mario Andretti, the career leader with 67. Power has just one pole in his last 19 races.

Rookies on the Road

Indycar needs to get a natural road course on the schedule earlier than race number 4. The road courses are where the five rookies spent the majority of their time in junior series. Many of the freshman class should do well throughout the weekend.

Three rookies, Kyle Kirkwood, David Malukas, and Devlin DeFrancesco, drove at Barber in Indy Lights in 2021. How well will that experience help them this weekend? I think Kirkwood will adapt the best of this trio. Kirkwood will have his best result of the year Sunday. Malukas and DeFrancesco have struggled in their first three races. I think they will have another tough weekend.

Tatiana Calderon showed improved pace at Long Beach. I am looking forward to seeing if her progress continues on a natural road course. I think this track will suit her style better than the street courses did.

The rookie to watch is Callum Ilott. He has really taken to Indycar. I am impressed with his calm demeanor. Ilott could have a very good race Sunday.

One Strong Favorite, Many Contenders

Newgarden has to be the early pick to win. He has won here three times with two different teams. He has won the previous two races this season. His team has half a dozen wins at this track.

We do have to look at Alex Palou, last year’s winner. Palou has finished every race this year in the top 5. He had a chance to win at Long Beach. The defending series champion will be in contention Sunday.

Is this Scott Dixon’s year? A virtual perennial podium finisher in Alabama, Dixon seeks not only his first Honda Indy 200 win, but his first win of the year. Dixon has won just once in his past 19 races.

Pato O’Ward, the 2021 pole winner, can think of no better way to celebrate his new AMSP contract than by sweeping the pole and the victory. His fifth place finish at Long Beach was the his best result of the season, and the new contract signing might give him and the team more momentum.

Will Power seems more relaxed and is racing better than he has the past two seasons. Power could win the pole and get his third Barber victory.

Andretti Rebound

Andretti Autosport’s struggles this season got a boost at Long Beach with Colton Herta’s pole and Alexander Rossi’s top ten finish. The team has won twice at Barber with Ryan Hunter-Reay. They need a good weekend before heading to Indianapolis for the next two races.

Romain Grosjean is on the verge of his first Indycar win. I think it will come in one of the next two races.

My pick- Will Power. He is motivated and riving very well. Power seems more focused on race results than poles lately, and I think it has helped his driving.

I will be on site with several reports all three days.

Barber Fast Facts

Lots of information here from Indycar

Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
presented by AmFirst Fast Facts

 Race weekend: Friday, April 29 – Sunday, May 1
Track: Barber Motorsports Park, a 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course (clockwise) in Birmingham, Alabama
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)
Race distance: NTT INDYCAR SERIES 90 laps / 207 miles | Indy Lights: 35 laps/55 minutes
Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation
Firestone tire allotment: Six sets primary, four sets alternate, one additional set available for rookies for use in first practice
Twitter: @BarberMotorPark @IndyCar, @IndyLights, #HIGPA, #IndyCar
Event website: www.indyalabama.com
NTT INDYCAR SERIES website: www.indycar.com | Indy Lights website:www.indylights.com
2021 race winner (NTT INDYCAR SERIES): Alex Palou (No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda)
2021 NTT P1 Award winner (NTT INDYCAR SERIES): Pato O’Ward (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet), 1:05.8479, 125.744 mph
Qualifying lap record: Pato O’Ward, 1:05.5019, 126.409 mph, April 17, 2021
2021 race winners (Indy Lights): Linus Lundqvist (Race 1); David Malukas (Race 2)
NBC Sports race telecast: 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 1, 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. and NBC’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama race telecast will be simulcast on the streaming service, while 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 Alabama will be streamed on Peacock Premium with practice and qualifying being shown on INDYCAR Live!, available on the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.
INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young are the turn announcers. Ryan Myrehn and Alex Wollf are the pit reporters. The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama race (12:30 p.m. ET), Indy Lights Grand Prix of Alabama (11 a.m. ET) 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/Central Time):Friday, April 291:45-2:30 p.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires practice, INDYCAR Live!3-4 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, (45-minute session), Peacock Premium (live)
Saturday, April 309-10 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, (45-minute session), Peacock Premium (live)11-11:30 a.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires practice, INDYCAR Live!
Noon -1:15 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock Premium (live)
2:35-3:05 p.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires qualifying, INDYCAR Live!4:20-4:50 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES final practice, Peacock Premium (live)
Sunday, May 110 a.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Alabama (35 laps / 55 minutes), Peacock Premium (live)
Noon – NBC Sports on air12:08 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”
12:15 p.m. – Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst (90 laps / 207 miles), NBC, and Peacock Premium (live)
Josef Newgarden kept Team Penske perfect in 2022 by winning his second consecutive race at the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 10. Newgarden, a two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion, leads teammate Scott McLaughlin by five points heading into the critical Month of May, which has more than 400 points on offer with races at Barber Motorsports Park, Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the double points-paying Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be the 12th NTT INDYCAR SERIES event conducted at Barber Motorsports Park.
Active race winners who are expected to compete are: Helio CastronevesWill PowerJosef NewgardenSimon PagenaudTakuma Sato and Alex Palou.
Josef Newgarden 3-2015, 2017, 2018
Will Power-2-2011, 2012
Alex Palou-1-2021
Takuma Sato-1-2019
Simon Pagenaud-1-2016
Helio Castroneves-1-2010
Five drivers have won the race from the pole – Will Power in 2011, Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2013, Simon Pagenaud in 2016, Josef Newgarden in 2018 and Takuma Sato in 2019
Will Power-4-2010, 2011, 2014, 2017
Helio Castroneves-2-2012, 2015
Pato O’Ward-1-2021-
Takuma Sato-1-2019
Josef Newgarden-1-2018
Simon Pagenaud-1-2016
Scott Dixon has finished on the podium in nine of his 11 previous starts at Barber Motorsports Park – including six runner-up finishes – but he has yet to finish on the top step of the podium at the picturesque road circuit.
Josef Newgarden can clinch the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge’s $1 million prize by winning at Barber Motorsports Park – where he has won three times in his career. Newgarden has wins on an oval (Texas Motor Speedway) and street circuit (Streets of Long Beach). A win on a road course would earn him a $500,000 bonus and a matching $500,000 donation for his charities, Wags and Walk Nashville and SeriousFun Children’s Network.
Five drivers have competed in every NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at Barber Motorsports Park – Scott DixonRyan Hunter-ReayWill PowerGraham Rahal and Takuma Sato. All but Hunter-Reay are entered this season.
Team Penske has six wins at Barber Motorsports Park (2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017 and 2018). Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing, Ed Carpenter Racing and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing are the only other teams to win at the track. Andretti Autosport won in 2013 and 2014 with Ryan Hunter-Reay. Ed Carpenter Racing won with Josef Newgarden in 2015, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing won in 2019 with Takuma Sato, and Chip Ganassi Racing won in 2021 with Alex Palou.
Twenty of the 26 drivers entered in the event have competed in NTT INDYCAR SERIES races at Barber Motorsports Park.
Eleven entered drivers have led laps: Will Power 212, Josef Newgarden 133, Helio Castroneves 93, Simon Pagenaud 87, Takuma Sato 74, Alex Palou 56, Scott Dixon 46, Pato O’Ward 25, Graham Rahal 25, Alexander Rossi 3 and Rinus VeeKay 1.
Six NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year contenders – Tatiana CalderonDevlin DeFrancescoCallum IlottKyle KirkwoodChristian Lundgaard and David Malukas – are entered and will race an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car at Barber Motorsports Park for the first time.
Milestones: Marcus Ericsson will attempt to make his 50th NTT INDYCAR SERIES start … Scott Dixon will attempt to make his 292nd consecutive start, the second-longest streak in INDYCAR SERIES history.
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Notes:Indy Lights returns to the track after a two-month layoff. Matthew Brabham took advantage of the misfortune of his Andretti Autosport teammates to win the season opener at St. Petersburg but faces a tough test at Barber, where HMD Motorsports swept the doubleheader in 2021 with Linus Lundqvist and David Malukas.The 2022 season features a deep and talented field with race winners such as Linus Lundqvist and Matthew Brabham joining a promising rookie class that includes Christian Rasmussen (Indy Pro 2000 champ), Hunter McElrea (Indy Pro 2000), Kyffin Simpson (Formula Regional Americas champion) and Ernie Francis Jr. (seven-time Trans Am champion/Formula Regional Americas). Other contenders include returning drivers Danial FrostSting Ray Robb and Benjamin Pedersen.