It’s hard to believe the 2022 season has come to an end. One of the most competitive seasons in recent memory saw nine different drivers go to victory circle and six different drivers lead the Burnout Sports power rankings. We saw Josef Newgarden win on all three types of circuits, oval, street and road course. Marcus Ericsson won his first Indianapolis 500, Scott McLaughlin came home with his first three wins of his career, Scott Dixon got hot this summer winning two races and Will Power secured the championship and the most poles in IndyCar history at the final race of the season at Laguna Seca. Let’s look at the final run down for the 2022 campaign.
NEW TO THE TOP 10
1. WILL POWER: (UP 1) - The 2022 champion put on a clinic in consistency. He finished in the top 5 in 12 of the 17 races in 2022. Power qualified on pole position in 5 races and won at Detroit back in June as his only win of the season. This is the second championship for Power who started on pole position for the 68th time in his career on Sunday, breaking a tie with Mario Andretti for the all time record.
2. JOSEF NEWGARDEN: (UP 1) - Newgarden finished the year with 10 Top 10 finishes over the final 11 races of the season including wins at Iowa, Gateway and Road America. If not for the crash at Iowa, Newgarden would have been much closer than the final 16 point deficit to Will Power. He led the series with 5 total wins and a $500,000 bonus for winning on an oval, street and road course as mentioned. He stormed from the last row at Laguna Seca to a runner up finish. Newgarden will be back even hungrier in 2023.
3. SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: (DOWN 2) - The breakout driver of 2022 undoubtedly goes to McLaughlin. He started the season off with his first career win at St. Pete, backed up by two more wins on the year at Mid-Ohio and Portland. His widely popular Bus Bros YouTube series with teammate Josef Newgarden has given fans a chance to see how huge of a personality he is. A tough month of May cost McLaughlin a chance at the championship, but the sophomore driver ended the year as the hottest driver in the series securing 6 straight top 6 finishes in the final 6 races.
4. SCOTT DIXON: (NO CHANGE) - 1 mph cost Scott Dixon the Indy 500 win and more than likely the championship. 15 Top 10s is an incredible number but qualifying was the achilles heel this year for the #9 Chip Ganassi Racing driver. Nonetheless, Dixon managed two wins and a few more records along the way.
5. ALEX PALOU: (UP 4) - We all waited for the defending series champion to return to the win column. He did just that after an engine change at Laguna Seca. With the win on Sunday, in what could be his final race with Ganassi Racing, Palou propelled himself to a 5th place showing in the championship standings. Despite plenty of outside noise this season, Palou managed 6 podium finishes and a win in 2022.
6. MARCUS ERICSSON (DOWN 1) - He won the Indy 500 so it was a fantastic year for Ericsson. Ericsson only had one finish this year outside of the Top 14 this season. He consistently was in the hunt for top 10 finishes, but again, he won the Indy 500 so any other result is irrelevant. A 6th place finish in the points does seem a bit disappointing however.
7. CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD (NO CHANGE) - Your 2022 Rookie of the Year capped off a great season with a 5th place finish at Laguna Seca. He podiumed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in August and scored 7 top 10 finishes in his first full season in IndyCar.
8. PATO O'WARD (UP 2) - With 2 wins on the season, O’Ward finished 7th in the championship, racking up the most points on the oval races this season than any other driver. However, the road and street circuits were a bit inconsistent for the Arrow McLaren driver, finishing 19th or worse on 4 different occasions. O’Ward will gain Alexander Rossi and maybe Alex Palou as teammates in 2023 which could be beneficial for O’Wards growth at the age of 23.
9. FELIX ROSENQVIST (UP 2) - Despite the rumblings of where Felix might drive in 2023, Rosenqvist managed two pole positions and scored his highest finish on the season of 4th in the season finale. Some mechanical gremlins took away a few good runs but all in all, a solid effort from Rosenqvist who could become the hottest free agent driver left on the market.
10. ALEXANDER ROSSI (UP 1) - Just one Andretti Autosport driver makes the final rankings and it’s not Colton Herta. Rossi finished top 10 in points and scored his second career win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his win on the road course back in August. Sunday’s Top 10 run was the last time we will see Rossi with Andretti Autosport after a seven year run that of course saw Rossi win the 2016 Indy 500. Ultimately, oval performances cost the team a chance at Top 5 in points with just one top 5 finish on an oval and multiple finishes of 18th or worse. Rossi will be hungry to make a splash next year as he moves over to Arrow McLaren SP.
What a year it was. The competition level was as fierce as we have seen in a long time. Scott McLaughlin broke out in his sophomore season and Team Penske landed three drivers inside the top 4 in the final standings. In 2022, 17 drivers found themselves inside the Top 10 power rankings this season.
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