It was a thrilling weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway as IndyCar completed its second race on the 2022 schedule. With numerous question marks coming into the weekend, Texas saw eleven different leaders lead a lap, exciting passing through the field and a last turn pass by Josef Newgarden to edge out teammate Scott McLaughlin for the win. The race saw 461 total passes with 284 of those coming for position. That’s 8 more passes than the two races in 2021 combined. Team Penske has started the season winning the first two races for the first time since 2012.
Two races under our belts, several drivers are moving up the power rankings chart, but it’s still early enough where a good finish can move you up, and a bad finish can move you completely out. Feel free to debate!
NEW TO THE TOP 10
1. SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: (UP 1) The second year Team Penske driver dominated the second straight race, leading 186 laps on the afternoon and seemed to have the race wrapped up before his teammate Josef Newgarden got a massive run to pass McLaughlin just before the finish line. McLaughlin is atop the IndyCar standings and has proved he is ready to fight for the points championship all season long.
2. JOSEF NEWGARDEN: (NEW) I know, you all thought I was crazy for leaving him off the power rankings after St. Pete. That was just the motivation he needed to edge out his teammate for the win at Texas. All kidding aside, Newgarden needed a good finish after struggling in St. Pete, and boy did he deliver to his #2 Team Penske crew.
3. WILL POWER: (NO CHANGE) Another solid weekend for Will Power leading 20 laps en route to a fourth place finish. Power is two for two to start the season finishing inside the Top 4, and after a dismal end to the 2021 season, Power is building momentum every weekend. Oh by the way, he has three consecutive top 10 finishes at Long Beach.
4. ALEX PALOU: (DOWN 3) It was a quiet weekend for the raining IndyCar champion. After starting 11th, he worked his way up to a solid 7th place finish. We really didn’t hear much of him all weekend, but Palou did what he had to do to stay in the title hunt, consistently finishing inside the top 7. He currently finds himself 3rd in points.
5. MARCUS ERICSSON: (UP 4) Speaking of consistency, Marcus Ericsson has been the definition. He led 10 laps and charged from his 14th place starting position to come home 3rd, securing his first career oval podium while scoring his 11th top 10 finish in the last 12 races.
6. SCOTT DIXON: (UP 1) The odds on favorite coming into the race weekend, Dixon didn’t advance any positions but managed another Top 5 finish. He sits 6th in the IndyCar standings and it’s only a matter of time before he finds himself back in victory circle and moving up the list.
7. COLTON HERTA: (DOWN 3) Herta had a fast car early and was making moves at will. During pit stop cycles, the young Califorian lost a lap late after a slow stop and finished in the 12th position. Despite misfortune for his Andretti Autosport teammates, Herta will continue to be a factor on road and street courses, he just hasn’t quite figured out ovals.
8. JIMMIE JOHNSON: (NEW) What a performance by Johnson at Texas Motor Speedway in his IndyCar oval debut. The guy seems to be having the time of his life and a 6th place finish is an impressive run for an oval first timer you’ll see with only two practice sessions. This makes us all even more excited to see what he can do at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May.
9. RINUS VEEKAY: (DOWN 3) For the second straight race, VeeKay found himself in the lead, only to fade late in the running. A 10th place finish doesn’t tell the story of how fast a race car he had in the middle of the race. VeeKay is off to another good start, like he was in 2022 with two Top 10s to show.
10. ROMAIN GROSJEAN: (DOWN 5) I kept him in the top 10 because he had a solid weekend going until mechanical issues took him out early. Grosjean will be back battling for top 5’s over the next three races, setting up what could be a huge run at the Indy 500.
HONORABLE MENTION SANTINO FERRUCCI: After contact with the wall in final practice, Jack Harvey was not cleared to race in Sundays XPEL 375. After a seat was shipped in overnight, Ferrucci hopped in the #45 Hy-Vee Honda and started from the back of the pack. He quickly worked his way up to a 9th place finish on the day. Hats off to Ferrucci on the impressive drive.
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