I was wrong, as I can sometimes be. In last week's power rankings, I predicted Scott Dixon would not vacate the top of the standings. Well, Josef Newgarden decided to continue his dominance at Gateway by winning for a 5th time in 2022. It was Newgardens 25th win of his career. It once again has shaken up the points and placed Newgarden in 2nd, just 3 points back of his teammate Will Power. With two races remaining, Newgarden leads the series with 5 wins, Power leads the series in Top 5 finishes and poles, while Scott Dixon has the most Top 10s of any driver in 2022. For the first time in 2022, we also welcome a new member to the power rankings, I think you can guess who that is.
NEW TO THE TOP 10
1. JOSEF NEWGARDEN: (UP 1) - Newgarden pounced on the restart after the red flag Saturday night at Gateway. As soon as the green flag was displayed, Newgarden went low to pass his teammate Scott McLaughlin. He would lead the final 35 laps of the evening to score win #5 in 2022. He sits just 3 points behind Will Power in the championship standings.
2. SCOTT DIXON: (DOWN 1) - Dixon gets the nod at #2 this week based on the fact he has two wins since Power won back at Detroit. Outside of the loss of points at the Indy 500, Dixons achilles heel in 2022 has been qualifying efforts. His average start this season is 10th place and only has four Top 5 starts this season. The key to winning the championship for Dixon starts on Saturdays for the final two weekends of the season.
3. WILL POWER: (NO CHANGE) - He’s up just four points on his teammate Josef Newgarden. Power has led the points for three straight races now and will need to find victory circle in the final two races to win the championship. He has four poles in 2022, those extra points are the difference right now.
4. SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN: (NO CHANGE) - In the post race press conference, McLaughlin was a bit disappointed in his third place performance after leading 12 laps on the night. McLaughlin has an outside chance of winning the championship, look for the 3 team to go for broke at Portland and Laguna Seca.
5. PATO O’WARD: (UP 3) - The 2022 oval champ moves up a few spots after another splendid performance on an oval track. His final oval starts for the 2022 season are dazzling. He recorded one win, a runner up finish at Indy and scored Top 5 finishes in 4 of the 5 oval races.
6. MARCUS ERICSSON (DOWN 1) - It’s been a relatively quiet summer for Ericsson after scoring his first Indy 500 victory. He has just one podium in eight races this summer and has finished two of the last three races outside of the top 10. He fell to 7th from a front row starting spot at Gateway. All and all a good season for Ericsson with the 500 win, but the champ seems to be heading in the wrong direction as the season goes on. Still, he’s 17 points back of the lead in 4th.
7. DAVID MALUKAS (UNRANKED) - He brought the crowd to their feet with a last lap charge to secure his first podium of his career and his best finish of 2nd. Maybe with one more lap he could have gotten to Newgarden for the win. Nonetheless, he was the talk of the paddock leaving Gateway after one of the most impressive runs to date in 2022.
8. ALEX PALOU (DOWN 1) - The back and fourth season for the defending IndyCar champion continues with a 9th place finish at Gateway. He’s all but eliminated from the championship as the attention continues to be where he will drive at in 2023.
9. GRAHAM RAHAL (UNRANKED) - Graham makes his way back into the top 10 with a consistent night at St. Louis, powering home to a 10th place finish. It’s been feast or famine for the entire Rahal Letterman Lanigan team, however, it seems to land more on the famine side. But hey, that new building in Zionsville will look great!
10. COLTON HERTA (UNRANKED) - We have an Andretti Autosport driver in the top 10. Herta quietly drove to an 11th place finish at Gateway, disappointing for the driver who led several laps in this race a year ago. He more so makes his way into the top 10 based on the next two tracks, Portland and Laguna Seca. He’s won the last two races at Laguna Seca and scored Top 10s in his only two starts at Portland.
You could have taken 7-8 drivers and made a case for them for the 9th and 10th spots in the power rankings this week. Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske are way ahead of the competition with Arrow McLaren SP & Andretti Autosport a bit behind. RLL, Ed Carpenter Racing, Meyer Shank and Dale Coyne w/HMD and Rick Ware Racing battle it out from there. With just two races to go, the title comes down to just four drivers realistically.
Congrats to David Malukas on a memorable night! It was a blast to see him climb from his car with such excitement and joy over the runner up finish. Maybe if this was a 265 lap race, we would be talking about a different winner. Enjoy the weekend off before two intense weekends to decide it all!
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