Josef Newgarden remains the only IndyCar driver to have multiple wins in the 2022 season, as he torched the field to take victory at the Grand Prix of Road America. Alexander Rossi and Marcus Ericsson were in contention the whole time, but the two former Indy 500 winners eventually fell just short of victory in the Badger State.
Rough Ride for Contenders
Defending race winner Alex Palou came into the weekend at Road America fourth in points. After an incident on the third lap with his teammate Ericsson, however, the Spaniard’s right front suspension broke, ending his race just a few minutes after it started. Ericsson, speaking post-race on the contact with his teammate, said “I hate to see my teammate retire from contact with my car, but I don’t feel that was on me.” Ericsson who finished the race in second, now leads the championship over Will Power by 27 points.
Power, who took the points lead last time out in Detroit, experienced a similar situation just a few laps later. As Andretti’s Devlin Defrancesco experienced some braking challenges at turn five, sending the 2014 series champion into the wall, putting him all the way down to 25th, after a quick repair. Power, after the incident, came on the radio and said “…wait ’til I see Defrancesco.” and gave him a form of payback post-race, ramming his Team Penske car into the side of Defrancesco’s.
Pato O’Ward hung around the top five all day long until an engine failure hit him hard on lap 46 of 55. The young Mexican driving for Arrow McLaren SP sat third in the standings. After the race at Road America, he fell to fourth.
Rossi Falls Short Again
It was a wonderful weekend for Andretti’s Rossi, as he took pole and led the opening 15 laps of the race. However, the first round of pit stops changed everything. Rossi and second-place runner Newgarden came into the pits at the same time with Newgarden cycling out to the lead. After that, it was Newgarden all the way, as he had the pace advantage on the “primary” tires over Rossi.
Rossi, speaking about his strong stretch as of late, stated “… I mean, it’s certainly been a lot different these past couple of races than it has been for the races preceding that. That’s a good thing.”
Disregarding his third-place finish, the past few races rocketed America’s last Formula 1 export up to seventh in the championship standings.
IndyCar’s Million-Dollar Man
In case Leigh Diffey didn’t tell you enough on the NBC broadcast, Newgarden completed the People Ready Force For Good Challenge, a competition that awarded a million dollars to the first IndyCar driver to win a race on an oval, a street course and a road course. Newgarden achieved this with wins at Texas, Long Beach and Road America. Speaking on winning the million, Newgarden said “… To be able to win this million bucks, give half of it to charity, is very cool. Very, very cool. I’m sure our recipients are going to be thrilled with that.”
With his second victory at the four-mile track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, the Nashville, Tennessee, native moved into third in the championship standings, five points behind Power. Speaking on his championship odds, Newgarden said “We’ve got to up our consistency. It’s a little abnormal for us. I feel like we’re a fairly consistent group.”
Indy Standings after the Grand Prix of Road America
With three out of the top four in the standings having issues, the 500 winner, Ericsson took back his championship lead.
For a full points rundown, click here.
Three Takeaways from the Grand Prix of Road America
- Newgarden is not out of the championship fight.
- Rossi will have his day before he leaves for McLaren.
- Ericsson’s recent run is not a fluke.
Features Image Credit: AP Photo/Morry Gash