Happy Labor Day. The Grand Prix of Portland gave Indycar what it wanted, a tight three way battle for the championship at Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca next Sunday. Five drivers are mathematically eligible to win the title, but I think only Will Power,Josef Newgarden, and Scott Dixon have a realistic shot.
Portland’s spot on the schedule makes it kind of a stepchild. Fans are more interested in how it sets up the season finale the following week. I think that and the Labor Day weekend placement on the calendar hurt the attraction of the event.
Yesterday’s crowd wStaras decent, not great. Based on the scarcity of fans at the ntrack Saturday, it was a great turnout. Inhad a sense that there were fewer food vendors at the track than there were on my last visit in 2019. My friend who attended last year’s race, confirmed ny suspicions.
Portland has never been one to have a lot of fan activities or concerts. Perhaps these things may help attendance. I didn’t get a sense that the city as a whole embraces the event. It’s too bad. Portland is a fun city with lots of neat little neighborhoods I enjoy exploring.
Indycar finally listened to the drivers and allowed the pole sitter to accelerate at the exit of turn 12. The result was a lack of the traditional chaos in the first turn. The pack was bunched up as tyhey entered the tuirn, but theres was enough separation for everyone to get through cleanly. Whether that made the overall race better, i’m not so sure.
Poor Jimmie Johnson. He drove one of his cleansest races of the year and gets hit out of nowhere by Rinus VeeKay while VeeKay was trying to lap him. Despite all his road course struggles this year, Johnson’s car is still in the Leader’s Circle for 2022.
I’m heading to Seattle to check a bucket list city off my to see list and watch a Mariners game. I’ll stiil keep up with all the latest McLaren signings and firings. Thanks for following along this weekend. Next weekend is going to be wild.
A very processional race sets up an intriguing championship fight next week. Scott mclaughlin’s dominant win pulls him within 41 points of Will Power. Scott Dixon and josef Newgarden both trail Power by 20 points, and Marcus Ericsson is just 39 points behind.
This is the closest five drivers have been heading into the final race since 2003. Ericsson and McLaughlin need a lot of help to win the title, but Dixon and Newgarden have a legitimate chance.
Alloowing the race to start at the exit of turn 12 helped avoid a big wreck in turn 1, but as I feared, it made for a rather mundane race.
Someday Christian Lundgaard wiil put a complete race together. Today was not that day. He made a brilliant move in turn 1 to to grab second from Power, but his late error in turn 1 after the caution cost him a top 10.
David Malukas now trails Lundgaard by just five points in the Rookie of the Year standings.
Never count out Scott Dixon. Another bad qualifying turned into a podium finish. He’s been in a couple of championships that went to the finale.
Newgarden may have cost himself a copuple of spots by going with blacks on his final stint.
Rinus VeeKay continues his up and down season. His contact with Jimmie Johnson cost hoim a possible top 10 finish.
I never thought I would see a Portland race with just one caution.
Podium Down Under
For the first time since 2011, all the drivers on the podium were from Australia or New Zealand.
All three drivers wilbe in contention for the win next week. as well. Dixon said tire degradation is extremely high at Weather Tech Raceway. Power repated what he said yesterday about it being a difficult track.
I will have a wrap up of the weekend tomorrow for you to read as I drive to Seattle. Thanks for following along this weekend.
Scott McLaughlin goes for third win of the year today from pole
Today’s Schedule All Times Pacific
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
10:20 AM – 11:15 AM Indy Lights Race Peacock 11:40 AM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Driver Introductions 12:30 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Grand Prix of Portland (110 laps) NBC; Peacock
Indycar issued new procedures for today’s race. The pole winner may accelerate at the exit of turn 12. This new start zone will intheory get more separation between the cars entering turn 1 and avoid the chaos we have seen the last few years.
Drivers who go over the curbing at the apex of turn 2 must make “every effort to use the second turb 1 runoff chicane. A penalty may result if the procedure is not followed.
There is a lot at stake at today’s Grand Prix of Portland. Will Power looks to extand his lead in the points standings. Josef Newgarden has some work to do from his eightth place spot on the grid to stay close enough to Power heading into the next week’s finale at Laguna Seca.
Alex Palou is on the verge of being the first defending series champion to go winless since Scott Dixon in 2004. Dixon, third in the standings has a lot of ground to make up from 16th.
Scott McLaughlin could work his way back into serious title contention with a win. He starts today 54 points behind Power. A win today and issues for Power could help his cause greatly.
Marcus Ericsson’s 17 point deficit to the lead could balloon today. He needs to move up from 18th and pretty much needs a top 5 finish to have a chance next week.
Red tires may be the tire of choice today. I’ll be back wit the starting tire selections, and then some quick thoughts after the race. There will be a wrap up here tomorrow morning, then it’s on to seattle and baseball. Enjoy the race.
Indycar as updated the starting procedure for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Portland. Cars will be allowed top accelerate at the exit of turn 12. BY doing so, the series hopes to avoid what has become annual first turn carnage by spreading out the cars. The start may look more ragged than ususal, but avoiding the first turn chaos is better.
Alexander Rossi had the fastest time in this afternoon’s final warmup. The 30 minute session ran without incident.Most cars took a couple drives through the escape road in turn1 for practice.
The crowd today seemed a bit down from the last time I was here, and there looked to be fe3wwer food vendors than I remember.
This will do it for today’s coverage. thanks for following along.
The Penske 1-2-3 wasn’t entirely unexpected, but Scott Mclaughlin winning the pole may have been. McLaughlin took a precious point from one of his teammates in earning his third pole of 2022. Josef Newgarden finished secind but will start eighth due to an engine penalty, and points leader Will power was third. Power will move to second on the starting grid tomorrow.
Christuan Lundgaard was the fastest non Penske qualifier in fourth. Alex palou and Pato O’Ward completed the top six.
None of the Andretti cars made the final round. Colton Herta qualified eighth., just ahead of Alexander Rossi.
Scott Dixon, third in points, and Marcus Ericsson, fourth in the standings, finished the session 16th and 18th.
In the post qualifying press conference, the top three dreivers expressed concern about the start of the race tomorrow. Power suggested that the leaders need to start racing coming out of turn 12 to spread the field out before turn 1. Ideally, Power thinks the race should begin on the back stretch.
Indycar may make a decision about the starting point later today.
While today’s results didn’;t alter the points among the main contenders, any point that drivers behind Power don’t get is to Power’s advantage.
I will have a post up aftyer the final practice later this afternoon.
Last week’s test is paying off for Team Penske so far this weekend, as Josef Newgarden led yesterday’s practice and this morning Will Power led the practice, followed by teammates Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin. The three drivers were separated by less than a tenth of a second.
Colton Herta was fourth fastest, followed by Christian Lundgaard, Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, and Alexander Rossi.
David Malukas led the middle part of the session, but faded to 11th by the end.
It was a clean session, unlike the may interruptions yesterday..
Practice ran under cloudy skies, and the weather at qualifying time is expected to be 69 degrees and cloudy. Some sun may appear by the Fast Six.
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 2 Peacock 10:15 AM – 11:00 AM USF200O Race 3 11:15 AM – 11:55 AM Indy Lights Practice 2 12:05 PM – 1:20 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying Peacock 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM Indy Lights Autograph Session 1:35 PM – 2:05 PM ARCA Menards Series West Qualifying 2:20 PM – 3:10 PM Indy Pro 2000 Race 3 3:25 PM – 3:45 PM Indy Lights Qualifying 4:15 PM – 4:45 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Final Practice Peacock 5:30 PM ARCA Menards Series Race (57 laps)
Today is one of the most important days of the year for the four drivers with a realistic chance at winning the Indycar Series title. track position could be what allows any driver to avoid a possible problem in turn 1 of lap 1.
While Josef Newgarden led practice yesterday, Will Power,and Scott Dixon were 10th and 11th, and Marcus Ericsson was 16th. Newgarden will serve a six place grid penalty for an engine change. He will will start no better than seventh.
Yesterday afternoon The Associated Press reported that McLaren would consider offering a buyout to Chip Ganassi racing for the services of Alex Palou. Since McLaren won their case in F1 to get Oscar piastri to replace Daniel Ricciardo, I’m not sure where Palou would fit in their organization. I would for him to wqste a year as an F1 reserve driver.
Meanwhile, Felix Rosenqvist may be able to get out of his McLaren deal Rosenqvist wants to stay in Infdycar. His 2022 sseason has shown he belongs in this series.
Two sets of cars have very similar liveries this weekend.
The cars of Ganassi teammates Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson both represent PNC Bank Formula 1 style. Ericsson has blue rteaer wing end plates.
Scot McLaughlin and Devlin DeFrancesco are not on the same team, but their liveries are strikingly similar. I happened top get a picture yesterday of the two of them on track together.
I’ll be back after morning practice with the quaqlifying groupings.
Josef Newgarden turned the fastest lap in a disjointed opening practice for the Grand Prix of Portland this afternoon. After about 24 minutes of the session, the red flag came out for an unusual reason.
A video board on the front stretch opposite the pits began to lower itself. Hydraulic fluid was leaking from the arm, and the board could have potentially fallen ontop the racing surface.
Practice resumed one hour and 21 minutes later. The final 51 minutes were interrupted three times. Takuma Sato went off in turn 11 and the front of his car made contact with the tire barrier. Helio Castroneves had an off road excursion, then later spun and stalled. Pato O’Ward backed into the tire barrier. His car would not restart.
In addition to the red flags, Romain Grosjean’s day ended early with transmission issues.
The top three today- Nerwgarden, David Malukas, and Scott McLaughlin.
Three of the top five in points finished in a group. Alex Palou was ninth, Will Power 10th, ancd Scott Dixon 11th.