The trifecta was completed on Sunday afternoon in Long Beach as Josef Newgarden scored his second straight win on the young IndyCar season. Team Penske has now won the first three races for the first time since 2012 when Penske won the first four races of the season with Will Power and Helio Castroneves. Scott McLaughlin scored his first career win to start the season and teammate Will Power finds himself fourth in points with a podium finish and back to back fourth place finishes. Penske sits first, second and fourth in the standings. Alex Palou has continued his consistency on a quest to repeat as series champion, the Spaniard sits third in the standings with two podium finishes on the season.
NEW TO THE TOP 10
1. JOSEF NEWGARDEN: (+1) Another win keeps Newgarden atop of our power rankings, no surprise there. He heads to Barber Motorsports Park with two previous wins at the track but a mistake on the opening lap in 2021 took him out of the race. Newgarden is a street course win away from winning on three types of circuits on the schedule that would award him a $500,000 bonus for him and the team and $500,000 to a charity of his choice.
2. SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: (-1) Despite a disappointing weekend at Long Beach finishing 14th, McLaughlin remains second in points and second in our power rankings behind teammate Josef Newgarden. McLaughlin seems hungry to stay in the fight for the championship all season long. A pivotal stretch comes for the #3 team over the next three races. In his rookie season, McLaughlin finished 14th at Barber, 8th at the IMS road course and 20th in the Indy 500. If he is truly a contender for a championship, these next three races may give us that answer.
3. WILL POWER: (NO CHANGE) Although fourth in the points, I have been impressed by the performance from the #12 team to open the 2022 season. Power has kept things clean and consistent so far and will be knocking on the door at Barber to make it four wins in four races for Team Penske. The #12 team also leads the Firestone Pit Performance standings.
4. ALEX PALOU: (NO CHANGE) Palou and Power could be switched here as both have been consistent so far this season. Palou has led 23 laps this year compared to Power leading 24 laps. Palou is doing everything he can to try and break up the dominance of Team Penske to start the year. He heads to Barber as the defending winner of the race and will look to keep pace with Power, Newgarden and McLaughlin.
5. ROMAIN GROSJEAN: (+5) What a race for Grosjean finishing 2nd after a tough qualifying effort despite starting 6th. Grosjean showed pace, patience and the ability to contend for a win. It’s only a matter of time before he scores his first career IndyCar win.
6. SCOTT DIXON: (NO CHANGE) Ole reliable hasn’t quite contented for a victory this season but has had three solid results coming home 6th at Long Beach, 5th at Texas and 8th at St. Pete. Look for Dixon to get hot over the next 6-8 weeks of the season.
7. MARCUS ERICSSON: (-2) This is the part of the power rankings where it gets a bit tricky. Ericsson was having a hell of a run before the mistake ended his day. He is still one of the most consistent drivers on the circuit and is a threat on every street course. I am expecting a bounce back at Barber for the #8 Chip Ganassi Racing team.
8. RINUS VEEKAY: (+1) I bet you didn’t know that the third year Ed Carpenter Racing driver sits 7th in the points standings. He is off to the same consistent start as he was last season. He led a total of 66 laps in 2021 at the next three races on the schedule, which included winning the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
9. COLTON HERTA: (-2) Herta was the dominant car all weekend at Long Beach before crashing out. Despite only one top 10 finish to start the year, Herta is a constant factor and has a ton of momentum going to Barber. Look for the young Californian to shake off the wreck at Long Beach with a podium finish at Barber.
10. GRAHAM RAHAL: (NEW TO TOP 10) Rahal has a pair of 7th place finishes on the season at both the street races and was wrecked out at Texas. After a horrible showing on Saturday at Long Beach, Rahal bounced back for a 7th place finish. He has ran well in the past at the next three tracks on the schedule, with podiums at all three.
HONORABLE MENTION: KYLE KIRKWOOD Kirkwood has shown his talents in the first three races. He landed his first career IndyCar Top 10 finish on Sunday at Long Beach and was making moves at Texas before tagging the wall.
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