By Dylan Reynolds, OpenWheel.com
The 2022 INDYCAR season concludes this weekend with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES 2022 Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. OpenWheel.com will be covering the action all weekend so stay tuned to this site and our Twitter page @openwh33l for all of the latest news.
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Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Preview: Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey (Entry List) – Race 1 Saturday, September 10, 2022 3:20PM (ET) Peacock & Race 2 Sunday, September 11, 2022 12:55PM (ET) Peacock – Linus Lundqvist will win the championship this weekend simply by showing up but there should be plenty of competitiveness through the field this weekend as the Andretti Autosport team and Lundqvist’s teammate Benjamin Pedersen have stepped up over the second half of the season. Nolan Siegel makes his series debut this weekend with HMD Motorsports while Flinn Lazier will hope his races last much longer than a lap after contact ended his day early on his debut at Portland. The battle to watch this weekend will be for second place as the championship as positions 2 through 5 right are tight heading into the weekend as Matthew Brabham leads Hunter McElrea, Sting Ray Robb, and Benjamin Pedersen.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Preview: Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey – Sunday, September 11, 2022 2:40PM (ET) NBC – What appeared to be one of the greatest NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship battles of all time concludes this weekend with perhaps not as much pre-event drama after Will Power’s strong close to the season. However, there are still five drivers heading into the weekend with a mathematical chance at the title as Power leads Josef Newgarden (-20), Scott Dixon (-20), Marcus Ericsson (-39), and Scott McLaughlin (-41). Power needs only to finish the Top 3 to control his own destiny in clinching the championship.
Previous driver performance at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca shows just two former winners entered this weekend in Colton Herta (2019 & 2021) and Helio Castroneves (2000). Looking at the box scores from 2021 and 2019, only Herta finished in the Top 10 of both races. Herta won each race from pole. The Top 5 in qualifying last year was represented by Andretti Autosport (x2), Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing so expect a multitude of teams to be competitive as always. Of the entered drivers, the Top 5 in laps led at the circuit are Herta 174, Castroneves 92, Power 6, Grosjean 4, and Dixon 2.
My picks to win: Race – Colton Herta & Championship – Will Power – Herta has absolutely dominated the two most recent events so I’m considering this a near lock until proven otherwise. If he steals the pole and race winner points, it really makes things tough on the rest of the field to surpass Power if he runs into trouble. Power has been so strong lately that I expect him to qualify up front as he usually does and keep himself clean for a podium finish to seal the title.
My fantasy.indycar.com picks: Will Power $30, Colton Herta $29, David Malukas $20, & Christian Lundgaard $20 – You know my thoughts on Power and Herta. The rookie of the year battle between Malukas and Lundgaard should be a fascinating battle and each of the duo has been super fast lately. They’re excellent value picks this weekend to go with whatever star power you want from the bigger teams.