If you didn’t make it to Iowa Speedway this weekend, you simply missed out. In my 25 years of attending races, I have never seen a sponsor activate so well for a race weekend. Not even Marlboro brought in four headlining concerts and a mini grocery store to the race track in the 1990s. A double header on a short oval is BUSY! Two championship hopefuls took the checkered flag in style over the weekend and the power rankings once again have plenty of movement as we head into the second road course race of the year from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
NEW TO THE TOP 10
1. WILL POWER: (UP 5) - It’s been one step forward and one step back for Power since the road course race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in early May. He put together a great weekend in Iowa with two pole positions and a 3rd and 2nd place finish. He chopped into Marcus Ericsson’s points lead and now trails by just 7 points and oh by the way, next up on the calendar, the IMS road course where Power has five wins.
2. SCOTT DIXON: (NO CHANGE) - Dixon is lurking as the championship goes down to the wire. He recorded his third and fourth straight Top 5 finish at Iowa over the weekend. He’s had one bad race this season, the Indy 500 finishing 21st. The IMS road course hasn’t been his strongest race and could be his wildcard race for the remainder of the season. If Dixon can score a podium finish this weekend, I believe he becomes the championship favorite. He currently sits tied for third in points.
3. MARCUS ERICSSON (DOWN 2) - For the sixth straight race, Ericsson finished inside the Top 10. He’s on the exact path his teammate Alex Palou was on a year ago en route to winning the championship. Mr. Consistency has been that and more this year, but we will have to see another win or 2 if he’s going to become a first time Indy 500 winner and first time IndyCar Champion in the same season.
4. JOSEF NEWGARDEN: (NO CHANGE) - It was a dominating weekend for Newgarden who scored win number four on the season on Saturday. He was dominating again on Sunday before a mechanical failure sent the #2 Chevy into the wall. Newgarden will be reevaluated Thursday after spending Sunday evening in an Iowa hospital.
5. PATO O’WARD: (UP 3) - O’Ward’s slim championship chances got a needed boost with a win on Sunday and a runner up on Saturday. O’Ward has an amazing track record on ovals and continued that at Iowa. O’Ward has nothing to lose moving forward, look for him and his Arrow McLaren SP team to continue to gamble on strategy looking for wins.
6. SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: (UP 1) - A podium finish moves McLaughlin up a spot this week, despite having a dismal performance on Saturday. Unless he gets max points this weekend at Indy and a few of the championship front runners have subpar finishes, McLaughlin will finish out the season looking for wins. He might simply be too far back at this point.
7. ALEX PALOU (DOWN 4) - I mean, honestly, who knows what's going on with the 10 team. The team has decided to not share certain data with Palou yet Ganassi says he’s under contract for 2023. Silly Season has been wild in 2022 and plenty of dominoes are yet to fall. This entire debacle for Palou has just become a distraction and his results may continue to suffer from it.
8. DAVID MALUKAS (NEW) - New to the Top 10 this week is David Malukas. He had solid efforts of 8th and 14 at Iowa and has really shown he can keep pace with the big shots of the sport. He has cut into Christian Lundgaards lead in the Rookie of the Year battle to just four points.
9. ROMAIN GROSJEAN (NEW) - He loves the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and heads there this weekend with momentum on his side. Grosjean has more than likely never seen a track like Iowa and he was able to score two Top 10 finishes. This could be his best shot of the year at his first career win on Saturday.
10. JIMMIE JOHNSON (NEW) - For the first time in 2022, Jimmie Johnson has entered the chat. Saturday saw the #48 spin to bring out the first caution. Johnson recovered nicely, finishing 11th and leading 19 laps. Johnson was on rails, using the high line to make bold moves on Saturday. On Sunday, Johnson used every bit of the 300 laps provided to score a Top 5 finish. A first career Top 12 on a road course could be in sight this weekend as he heads to the IMS road course for a fourth time.
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