Palou wins, Power is champion!

The IndyCar Series championship final will choose its champion among five drivers: Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson and Scott McLaughlin. A 95-lap race awaits the drivers on the famous Laguna Seca circuit.

It is on the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, in California, that the IndyCar Series will finally designate its champion. They are 5 drivers to claim to lift the Astor Cup, it is the 17th consecutive year that the final round decides the champion.

This race does not offer the best overtaking opportunities, grip is quite precarious, hence the need to take care of your tyres. The first 6 drivers, from Power to Malukas will start on soft tyres, McLaughlin and Rosenqvist are on hard tyres, Ericsson and Pagenaud who complete the Top 10 are also on soft tyres.

Laguna Seca, Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey

Green Flag – 1/95 : Will Power launches the pack, Rossi takes the best of Ilott at the first corner and turns into second position, O’Ward also benefits. Felix Rosenqvist lost a few places and left the Top 10 in favor of Palou, Pagenaud and Ericsson. Rinus VeeKay was pushed out of bounds by Devlin DeFrancesco, the Dutch ECR driver, in 24th place. Newgarden brakes on Kirkwood at Corkscrew to gain 19th place. Romain Grosjean who started 4th only lost one position.

Dalton Kellett is a 360° in the Corkscrew, he was well helped by Jimmie Johnson! The seven-time NASCAR champion and Ganassi driver is struggling and idling on the track, he fell to 25th. Ericsson in 10th position is harassed by his compatriot Rosenqvist, Daly is also in ambush. Ericsson and Dixon are in the pits at the end of lap 9 to put on hard tyres, the stoppage of Colton Herta unfortunately drags on!

Rossi, who was second, was dropped by O’Ward and Ilott, the Andretti driver had trouble registering his single-seater in the turns. McLaughlin is the first Penske driver to stop at the end of lap 11, he chose the hard tires. Rossi, struggling with his tyres, stops and puts on the soft tires again, Grosjean imitated him in the Andretti clan, the hard tires were fitted to car n°28.

Leader Power made his pit stop at the end of lap 15 and opted for the hard tyres. McLaughlin offers himself the position of Kirkwood and climbs to 10th place. Alex Palou stops at the end of lap 19. The ranking of the Top 10 in lap 20: Rosenqvist, Lundgaard, Power, Newgarden, O’Ward, Palou, Ilott, Rossi, Malukas and McLaughlin. Rosenqvist and Lundgaard have yet to stop. Newgarden, who started from 25th place, covered 24 laps on his hard tyres, he opted for soft tires and returned to the track in 12th position. The leader Rosenqvist finally stopped at the end of lap 25 to put on the hard tyres. Grosjean overtook McLaughlin at Turn 1 to grab 7th place.

At the head of the race, Power was overtaken by Palou, from last to soft tires against hard ones for the Penske driver. Colton Herta is in the pits, on the track Simon Pagenaud is pushed off the track at turn 2 by Marcus Ericsson! Scott Dixon made a second stop at the end of lap 29, the New Zealander changed his Primary Firestone (hard) and opted for the same hard tyres. Scott McLaughlin stopped a lap later, Dixon’s compatriot returned to the track in 14th position.

Rossi, after mounting two sets of soft tyres, finally chooses the hard tyres. We are in full window of the second stops for the pilots, this race should count 4 of them! Palou at the head of the race has a lead of nearly 10″ on his soft tires over Power which is equipped with hard tyres. Newgarden stops on lap 35 after barely ten laps on soft tyres, he again chooses hard tyres. The one who manages his soft tires best is Alex Palou, leading the race and who increases his lead to 11.7.

The ranking of the top 10 in lap 38: Palou, Power, Rosenqvist, O’Ward, Ilott, Grosjean, Rahal, Rossi, Newgarden and VeeKay. And Callum Ilott, who was having a good race, was stopped on the track after the first corner, just coming out of the pits. Palou the leader took the opportunity to enter the pit lane anticipating the Full Course Yellow. Power, Rosenqvist, O’Ward, Grosjean, Rahal, Rossi followed the leader into the pits.

Yellow Flag – 39/95 : In the pits, releasing Palou, the latter had his front wing lightly harpooned by Rosenqvist who was diving into his position. Callum Ilott will not be able to leave, he dismounts. All of the title contenders are in the Top 10, Power is 2nd, Newgarden 5th, McLaughlin 6th, Ericsson 8th and Dixon 10th. The Top 10 is equipped with hard tyres, Rahal in 11th position is on soft tyres.

Green Flag – 43/95 : Palou with his hard tires will restart the race, Rosenqvist tries to attack Power on the outside of turn 1 but it does not pass. Newgarden at the start of the Corkswrew took the advantage over O’Ward to gain 4th place. Grosjean made the outside on McLaughlin on the outside of turn 1 and grabbed 6th place. And on lap 46, Newgarden went inside on Power… still like the Corkscrew, the American from Penske took second place, he was 7.2 behind the leader Palou.

We changed in the second half of the race, the classification at lap 50: Palou, Newgarden, Power, Grosjean, Rosenqvist, O’Ward, Ercisson, McLaughlin, Rahal and Lundgaard. Scott Dixon shifts in strategy and goes through the pits at the end of lap 50, he leaves with soft tires. Dixon takes his bearings and pushes the limits, as we can see, the New Zealander bites the dust with two off-road wheels.

Dixon’s compatriot, McLaughlin stopped at the end of lap 52, and came out on soft tires and ahead of the Ganassi driver. At the head of the race, Palou is 7″9 ahead of Newgarden, the latter has a 12″ margin over his teammate Power! Newgarden made his 3rd stop at the end of lap 60, the soft tires were fitted to car n°2, he returned to the track in 6th position. McLaughlin on the re-acceleration at the last corner pays for a nice evasion and still takes the upper hand over Kirkwood, who loses places against VeeKay, Dixon and Ericsson. Will Power seems to be in trouble on this set of tyres, we see him playing with his steering wheel to keep his lines.

The ranking at lap 65 for the Top 10: Palou, Power, Grosjean, Rosenqvist, Newgarden, O’Ward, Lundgaard, Rossi, Herta and Malukas. The fastest on the track is Newgarden with its soft tyres, it is currently in 5th position and is coming back by handfuls of seconds over Rosenqvist. Grosjean sees an old memory come back in his mirrors, Newgarden, which takes the best before the Corkscrew! There was a contact between Ericsson and McLaughlin, the Swede having relied on the New Zealander.

At the end of lap 67, Power returned for his 3rd stop and again opted for the hard tyres. And the leader Palou who dives into the pits at the end of lap 68, he comes out with hard tires, he comes out on the track in second position behind Newgarden who took control of the race. Grosjean has opted for soft envelopes, there are 35 laps to go, he will need a new stop. It’s complicated for Dixon who goes to the pits again at the end of lap 70, he swaps the soft tires for the hard ones and comes out in 18th position, it seems definitely lost for the Ganassi driver.

McLaughlin returns to the track in 11th place on hard tires for what appears to be his final stop. Josef Newgarden, who was doing qualifying laps on soft tyres, stopped at the end of lap 73, chose hard tires to go to the checkered flag, he returned to the track in second position ahead of Power! With 20 laps to go, the best placed for the title is still Power, who has a good lead of around twenty points over Newgarden and Dixon.

The ranking of the Top 10 at lap 78: Palou, Newgarden, Power, Grosjean, Rosenqvist, O’Ward, Lundgaard, Rossi, Herta and Ericsson. In the lead, Palou had a 24″ lead over Newgarden. Colton Herta had to escape Scott McLaughlin’s dive bomb at the Corkscrew and went into the sand.

The last 10 laps and we begin to glimpse the title in Will Power’s clan, he is 2″ behind his teammate Newgarden, himself 28″ behind Palou, who will perhaps sign a last victory at Ganassi before possibly driving for McLaren Racing (if the legal case is resolved in his direction). The leader Palou had a little scare by putting two wheels in the sand behind a latecomer.

More than 5 laps, Palou increased his lead over Newgarden to 29.6, Power is 3.5 behind his teammate, everything is going well for the Penske driver who is heading towards his second IndyCar Series title. Grosjean in 5th position sees Lundgaard growing in his mirrors, the Dane could steal this place in the Top 5 from him. McLaughlin comes into contact with Rossi at the first corner and takes the best, the latter is overtaken by Ericsson who widens with two wheels in the sand… he recovers but Rossi gives him a wheel kick, to send him biting the dust again. The overtaking is done for Lundgaard on Grosjean, the Frenchman is worn out on his soft tires with 38 loops completed.

We present the white flag to Alex Palou, it’s the last lap of the race, he has more than 30″ ahead of Newgarden. The last corner for Alex Palou and the Spaniard wins for a 4th career victory And a few moments later, it was Will Power who crossed the line in third position, which meant his second IndyCar Series title after the one won in 2014.

Laguna Seca 2022 race result


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