By Parker Hall, OpenWheel.com
The 2022 INDYCAR season continues today with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES 2022 XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway. 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.
Photo by Christy Reynolds/OpenWheel.com
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Preview: XPEL 375 – Sunday, March 20, 2022 12:30PM (ET) NBC – The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES takes a trip down to Texas Motor Speedway after a couple weeks hiatus from the opening race in St. Petersburg, FL. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES has been making the trip to Texas Motor Speedway since 1997 and today will be the 35th series race at the track. With 27 entrants it’s shaping up for a real shootout under the Texas afternoon sun.
Qualifying for this year’s race was open, enabling teams to experiment with lower downforce setups since cars weren’t impounded prior to today’s race. The top 15 qualifiers laid down qualifying times within two-tenths of each other; which equates to an average speed variance of 0.772 mph over two laps! The top five qualifiers include four different teams and overall, there hasn’t been one team more dominate than the others this weekend. Seven past winners make up the starting grid in Texas today: Scott Dixon (5x), Helio Castroneves (4x), Will Power (2x), Ed Carpenter (1x), Graham Rahal (1x), Josef Newgarden (1x), and Pato O’Ward (1x). Twelve drivers in today’s field have led laps at Texas over the years, but six entrants are making their first start on the superspeedway: Devlin DeFrancesco, Callum Ilott, Kyle Kirkwood, Christian Lundgaard, Jimmie Johnson, and Romain Grosjean.
My pick to win: Felix Rosenqvist – Six drivers have won at Texas Motor Speedway from the pole including two drivers in today’s field: Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon. Arrow McLaren SP now has a proven track record at Texas with Pato O’Ward winning race two in 2021.
My fantasy.indycar.com picks: Felix Rosenqvist $21, Will Power $29, Josef Newgarden $29, Kyle Kirkwood $18 – I’m starting to think that Team Penske will be off to the races this year and another win in Texas would cement that sentiment; so, I’ve picked both Power and Newgarden. Both Power and Newgarden are proven winners on ovals and have both been quick this year in Texas. Felix Rosenqvist has been quick at Texas the last couple of years and starting on the pole will hopefully keep him out of any early cautions. Kyle Kirkwood will likely be my “cheap” pick most races this year. Kyle’s upside his huge, he’s consistently won on every tier of the Road to Indy ladder and I believe he is highly capable of getting some top 10 finishes this year.
Betting Notes: Scott Dixon, starting P5 is listed as the favorite at +500. Two underrated odds in my opinion are series points leader Scott McLaughlin starting P2 and listed at +1000 and pole sitter Felix Rosenqvist listed at +1600. Felix and Arrow Mclaren SP have proven their speed at Texas the last couple of years, but just haven’t had the results to back it up. Long shot of the week (greater than +2500 odds) pick: Romain Grosjean at +3000. Even though this is Romain’s first race at a superspeedway, last year’s race in St. Louis proved that he was a quick learner and able to make some incredible moves on his first oval race. Now teamed up with Andretti Autosport, I don’t think it would be too outlandish to see Romain Grosjean bring home a win. (Odds provided by DraftKings)