After finishing outside of the podium in the previous three NTT IndyCar Series scheduled events, Josef Newgarden drew himself back into championship contention after winning the rain-delayed Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway on Saturday, August 20.
The two-time IndyCar champion from Hendersonville, Tennessee, led twice for 78 of 260-scheduled laps and utilized an executed pit strategy along with an overtake on teammate Scott McLaughlin for the lead with 36 laps remaining to perfection as he muscled away from McLaughlin and David Malukas to capture his fifth checkered flag of the 2022 IndyCar season and draw within striking distance of teammate Will Power for the lead in the championship standings.
With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Friday, Will Power, who earned his 67th IndyCar career pole and tied Mario Andretti for the most pole in the series all-time, led the field to the green flag after posting a pole-winning, two-lap average speed of 182.727 mph. Joining him on the front row was his championship rival Marcus Ericsson, who posted a two-lap average speed of 182.070 mph.
When the green flag waved and the race commenced, Power rocketed with an early advantage ahead of Ericsson, Scott McLaughlin and the field as he went on to lead the first lap. Meanwhile, Alex Palou was being overtaken by Takuma Sato and Devlin DeFrancesco as he fell back to ninth while Pato O’Ward challenged Scott Dixon for fifth place.
Through the first 10 scheduled laps, Power was leading by eight-tenths of a second over Ericsson followed by McLaughlin, Josef Newgarden and Pato O’Ward while Dixon, Takuma Sato, DeFrancesco, Palou and Alexander Rossi were in the top 10. David Malukas was in 11th followed by Colton Herta, Felix Rosenqvist, Conor Daly and Jack Harvey while Simon Pagenuad, Callum Ilott, Romain Grosjean, Graham Rahal and Kyle Kirkwood were in the top 20. Helio Castroneves, rookie Christian Lundgaard, Rinus VeeKay, Dalton Kellet, Ed Carpenter and Jimmie Johnson completed the 26-car field.
Ten laps later, Power continued to lead by nine-tenths of a second over Ericsson while McLaughlin, Newgarden and O’Ward remained in the top five. Dixon, winner of the previous IndyCar event at Nashville Street Circuit, remained in sixth while Sato, DeFrancesco, Palou and Rossi retained their spots in the top 10.
Another 10 laps later, Power, who was catching Jimmie Johnson to lap him, remained as the leader by six-tenths of a second second over Ericsson and more than a second over teammate McLaughlin. Teammate Newgarden trailed by more than a second in fourth while O’Ward retained fifth while more than two seconds behind.
At the Lap 45 mark, Power, who lapped Johnson earlier, kept his No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara-Chevrolet out in front by half a second over Ericsson’s No. 8 Bryant Dallara-Honda and seven-tenths of a second over teammate McLaughlin’s No. 3 Odyssey Battery Dallara-Chevrolet. The No. 2 PPG Dallara-Chevrolet piloted by Newgarden remained in fourth while the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Dallara-Chevrolet piloted by O’Ward retained fifth.
A few laps later, Jack Harvey was the first competitor to pit under green while back on the track, O’Ward overtook Newgarden for fourth place. Meanwhile, Power retained the lead ahead of Ericsson and McLaughlin.
Past the Lap 50 mark, Rinus VeeKay pitted along with his teammate/owner Ed Carpenter, who was a lap behind the leaders. Then near the Lap 60 mark, names like Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, Ilott and Castroneves pitted along with Sato, Lundgaard, Herta and Kirkwood. By then, VeeKay, who was serving a penalty on pit road for speeding during his initial stop, parked his No. 21 BitNile Dallara-Chevrolet in his pit stall due to an electrical issue, an issue that knocked him out of race-winning contention.
By Lap 65 and with the first cycle of green flag pit stops complete, Power cycled his way back to the lead followed by teammate McLaughlin, O’Ward, Ericsson and Newgarden. Dixon was in sixth while Sato, Palou, Harvey and DeFrancesco were in the top 10.
Through the first 75 scheduled laps, Power remained as the leader by four-tenths of a second over teammate McLaughlin and nearly eight-tenths of a second over O’Ward while Ericsson and Newgarden remained in the top five. Meanwhile, Callum Ilott was serving a 30-second penalty on pit road for making contact with his crew member that stemmed from his previous pit stop while exiting his pit stall.
At the Lap 100 mark, Power was leading by approximately half a second over teammates McLaughlin and Newgarden while O’Ward and Ericsson were in the top five. Sato, Dixon, Palou, Harvey and DeFrancesco were in the top 10 while Rossi, Malukas, Herta, Daly, Rosenqvist, Rahal, Pagenaud, Grosjean, Kirkwood and Lundgaard occupied the top 20. By then, Castroneves and Ed Carpenter pitted under green as Jimmie Johnson was mired back in 22nd.
At the halfway mark on Lap 130 and with the second round of green flag pit stops occurring, Takuma Sato, who pitted earlier while on a differing strategy, was leading by more than two seconds over Power, the first competitor on fresh tires, followed by McLaughlin, OWard and Grosjean while Ericsson, Newgarden, Dixon, Palou and Harvey were in the top 10. By then, Rossi, who coasted his car to pit road after running out of fuel, remained stalled on pit road as he was unable to re-fire his car.
Then on Lap 144, the first caution flew when Jack Harvey shot up the racetrack and scrubbed the outside wall in Turn 4. During the caution period, some including the race leader Sato along with McLaughlin and Newgarden pitted while the rest led by Power remained on the track.
When the event restarted on Lap 157, Power briefly led the field entering the first turn until O’Ward rocketed his No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Dallara-Chevrolet into the lead through Turns 1 and 2.
With 100 laps remaining, O’Ward was out in front by four-tenths of a second over Power followed by Ericsson, McLaughlin and Newgarden while Palou, Dixon, Sato, Herta and Malukas were in the top 10. Meanwhile, Graham Rahal was in 11th followed by Felix Rosenqvist, DeFrancesco, Grosjean and Conor Daly while Kirkwood, Pagenaud, Castroneves, Lundgaard and Dalton Kellett were in the top 20 ahead of Johnson.
A few laps later, Newgarden, who pitted prior to the restart, used the fresh Firestone tires to his advantage as he rocketed from fifth to third while overtaking McLaughlin and Ericsson. He then blasted by teammate Power for the runner-up spot before overtaking O’Ward for the lead with 95 laps remaining.
With 85 laps remaining, Newgarden was leading by nearly seven seconds over O’Ward while teammate McLaughlin trailed by more than seven seconds. Power and Ericsson were in the top five while Palou, Dixon, Sato, Malukas and Herta were in the top 10.
Fifteen laps later and with 70 laps remaining, Newgarden continued to lead by more than four seconds over teammate McLaughlin, who had overtaken O’Ward for position as Power and Ericsson were in the top five. By then, another round of green flag pit stops ensued as Palou and Dixon pitted.
At the Lap 200 mark and with 60 laps remaining, Newgarden was leading by three seconds over teammate McLaughlin followed by Malukas, Sato and Rahal. By then, Arrow McLaren SP teammates O’Ward and Rosenqvist pitted under green.
By Laps 206 and 207, teammates Newgarden and McLaughlin pitted under green as Malukas made his way into the lead followed by Sato, Rahal and Herta. Once Newgarden returned to the track, however, he was quickly overtaken by teammate McLaughlin for position.
On Lap 212, Malukas, who was the initial leader, pitted under green along with Herta and Rahal. Once Rahal pitted on Lap 213, McLaughlin emerged with the lead followed by teammate Newgarden. Meanwhile, O’Ward was in third followed by Power and Malukas.
Then with 47 laps remaining, the caution flew due to weather conditions and potential rain looming near the circuit. Four laps later, the field led by McLaughlin was brought down to pit road and the race was red-flagged as the rainy conditions continued and began to increase with lightning reported near the track.
Following an extensive rain delay, the red flag was withdrawn and the field returned under cautious pace under the lights. During the caution period, names like Palou, Dixon, Johnson, Conor Daly, Ericsson and Kirkwood pitted while the rest led by McLaughlin remained on the track.
With 36 laps remaining, the race proceeded under green. At the start, McLaughlin retained the lead through the first two turns, but Newgarden executed his move entering Turn 3 as he reassumed the top spot.
Down to the final 30 laps of the event, Newgarden was leading by nearly four-tenths of a second over teammate McLaughlin while third-place O’Ward trailed by more than two seconds. Power was in fourth followed by Malukas while Sato, Ericsson, Dixon, Palou and Rahal were in the top 10.
Ten laps later, Newgarden stabilized his advantage to half a second over teammate McLaughlin while David Malukas started to close in and challenge third-place O’Ward for the final podium spot. Meanwhile, Sato completed the top five while Power fell back to sixth.
Another four laps later, Malukas capitalized on a strong run through Turns 1 and 2 to overtake O’Ward and move into third place while Newgarden continued to lead by half a second over teammate McLaughlin.
With 10 laps remaining, Newgarden slightly increased his advantage to nearly seven-tenths of a second over teammate McLaughlin while third-place Malukas trailed by more than a second as he started to track McLaughlin for the runner-up spot. Meanwhile, Sato started to close in and challenge O’Ward for fourth place while Power remained in sixth, one spot ahead of title rivals Ericsson and Dixon.
Down to the final five laps of the event, Newgarden stabilized his advantage to six-tenths of a second over McLaughlin while Malukas was only three-tenths of a second behind McLaughlin for the runner-up spot.
When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Newgarden remained as the leader by eight-tenths of a second over teammate McLaughlin and a hard-charging Malukas. In turn 1, Malukas executed a bold pass to the outside of McLaughlin to move into the runner-up spot. Despite his late charge, it was not enough to close in on Newgarden as Newgarden cycled back to the frontstretch and streaked across the finish line for his fifth checkered flag of the season.
In addition to claiming his fifth victory of the 2022 season, Newgarden recorded his fourth victory at Gateway, the eighth of the season for Team Penske, the 10th of the season for Chevrolet and his 25th career win in the NTT IndyCar Series. The victory also vaulted Newgarden from fourth to second in the standings as he now trails teammate Will Power by three points with two scheduled events remaining and in his quest to win his third IndyCar title.
“All I can say is that, I think, this No. 2 car crew has been very patient with me,” Newgarden said on USA Network. “I’ve lost my cool probably a couple of times closed doors out of frustration for us. We’ve had small miscues, timing-wise. That’s not really anybody’s fault. Just sometimes wrong time, wrong place. I feel like that’s been happening a lot this year. It kind of happened again tonight. We put ourselves in position. It’s time to close and there was just a barrier that got in front of us again, but fortunately, we were able to get back out. I was so happy we could finish this race. Scott McLaughlin wanted to win, too. I love that about him. We each want to win, but he drove me super fair at the end, and we had a good fight. It’s a big night for everyone at Team Penske.””
While Newgarden celebrated in Victory Lane, David Malukas celebrated in pit road with his crew as he achieved his maiden podium in the IndyCar circuit by settling in second place while McLaughlin, who was leading prior to the red flag period, ended up in third place.
“We ended getting around O’Ward and then, we ended up getting past the lapped car and [the crew] said, ‘You see [McLaughlin] in front and I just see two Penskes [cars] and I was like, ‘Oh my god! They’re Penskes!’” Malukas said. “They were tough to even get any sort of suck to get close to them. Unfortunately, two laps to go, that was the lap I decided to do the outside lane, and it worked so well. So if I’d done it a bit sooner, maybe we could have had done something for Newgarden. Overall that’s a win for me, a win for the team. They deserve that so much…It feels so good to finally get [a podium]. There’s still two more races to go. It’s only up from here.”
“That’s racing,” McLaughlin said. “That’s oval racing. We love it. Want more of it. Good points for us today. The car felt awesome. Glad we put on a show for the fans. A lot of people stayed out tonight, so it’s fantastic. We’re going to the moon. I’m feeling good. I’m loving IndyCar. Really proud of everything. I’m just really proud to be able to do it for the team. Pit stops have been unreal. I’m working with some really good people. Excited for what the future holds.”
Pato O’Ward fended off Takuma Sato to finish fourth while points leader Power settled in sixth ahead of Ericsson, Dixon, Palou and Rahal, all of whom finished in the top 10 on the track.
There were 13 lead changes for 10 different leaders. The race featured two cautions for 22 laps.
With two races remaining in the 2022 schedule, Will Power continues to lead the standings by three points over teammate Josef Newgarden, 14 over Scott Dixon, 17 over Marcus Ericsson, 43 over Alex Palou, 54 over Scott McLaughlin and 58 over Pato O’Ward.
1. Josef Newgarden, 78 laps led
2. David Malukas, four laps led
3. Scott McLaughlin, 12 laps led
4. Pato O’Ward, 10 laps led
5. Takuma Sato, 22 laps led
6. Will Power, 128 laps led
7. Marcus Ericsson, one lap led
8. Scott Dixon
9. Alex Palou
10. Graham Rahal, two laps led
11. Colton Herta, one lap down
12. Devlin DeFrancesco, one lap down
13. Romain Grosjean, one lap down, two laps led
14. Jimmie Johnson, one lap down
15. Helio Castroneves, one lap down
16. Felix Rosenqvist, one lap down, one lap led
17. Kyle Kirkwood, two laps down
18. Dalton Kellett, two laps down
19. Christian Lundgaard, two laps down
20. Simon Pagenaud, three laps down
21. Callum Ilott, three laps down
22. Ed Carpenter, four laps down
23. Conor Daly, 16 laps down
24. Jack Harvey, 21 laps down
25. Alexander Rossi, 34 laps down
26. Rinus VeeKay – OUT, Mechanical
Next on the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series schedule is the penultimate event of the season at Portland International Raceway for the Grand Prix of Portland. The event is scheduled to occur on September 4 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.