The 2022 season has been one of the most competitive in IndyCar’s recent history, it’s been discussed over and over and with just two races left to decide the title, five drivers are separated by just 33 points as the series heads West for the final two races of the campaign. Will Power leads the championship with five time winner in 2022 Josef Newgarden second and 6 time IndyCar Champ Scott Dixon within striking distance. More than likely, one of these three names will be the champion when the checkered flag flies at Laguna Seca a week from Sunday. Newgarden, Dixon and Power are three of the best drivers of the last 30 years. Newgarden scored his 25th career win last time out at Gateway and at the age of 30, is pursuing Scott Dixons mark of 52 wins since 2002. Dixon is gunning for his 7th title and if not for a pit speed violation at the Indy 500, would have a firm choke hold on the championship. His 52nd career win back at Nashville broke a tie for second all time with Mario Andretti. Three of the best drivers we may ever see, along with this year's Indy 500 winner are within 17 points of each other. You have to go back to the 2010 season to find a battle between the sport’s best drivers and Indy 500 battling for the championship, and even that title chase that saw Dario Franchitti crowned champion, wasn’t nearly as close as the battle to end 2022. Portland will pose challenges for everyone, and challenge one includes getting through turn number one on the start. We have seen major pileups in lap 1 of the previous three IndyCar races at Portland dating back to 2018. In 2021, it was Will Power getting caught up in a spin. 2019 lap 1 collected Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden, while 2018’s start collected Scott Dixon, seemingly ending his day, only to recover for a 5th place finish, saving his championship bid. Qualifying will set the tempo this weekend. Will Power has been the best qualifier of the championship hopefuls at Portland. His average start of 5th is a bit deceiving. Power missed the Fast 6 last season, starting 14th. In 2018 and 2019 however, Power started from the front row with a pole position in 2018. Dixon has started the last two from third position, with 2018 resulting in an 11th place qualifying effort. Qualifying has been a struggle for Newgarden at Portland the last two races, starting from 18th and 13th. Marcus Ericsson has just one start at Portland, qualifying 10th and finishing 7th. Sunday will be a crazy race where chaos is expected in turn 1. Not making a mistake and surviving the first corner might be the key to winning the title. Yes, we still have one more race to follow, but a bid for a title could be lost early in the going on Sunday. NBC Sports 3pm EST green flag.
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