HomeSportsMcLaughlin reigns supreme at Portland Grand Prix

McLaughlin reigns supreme at Portland Grand Prix

The 2022 edition of the Portland Grand Prix will be remembered for a clean start, a late restart, a podium for all of New Zealand and Australia and a big performance from the main contenders for the championship.

Polesitter Scott McLaughlin and points leader Will Power spent most of the afternoon running away from the other title contenders after starting 1-2 and finishing 1-2 for The Captain, as Scott Dixon performed another Portland miracle to take the podium. to complete. From P16, Dixon was the only member of the Chip Ganassi Racing team to make serious progress towards the end of the 110-lap race.

Clearing 13 cars through the checkered flag, Dixon went from nearly knocked out of the championship mid-race to level with Newgarden, not far behind Power, who entered Monterey.

With Lap 89 restarting for Rinus VeeKay pushing Jimmie Johnson into the wall of Turn 1, McLaughlin continued his mastery and pulled a manageable lead over Power. With Dixon in the lead going from P6 to P3 – where the top three remained – McLaughlin led his Australian teammate home by 1.17s and his compatriot by 1.6s.

“We did exactly what we needed to do this weekend, win and get maximum points to keep ourselves in the championship battle,” said the three-time race winner, who led 104 laps and is 41 points behind Power. ‘Yes, we are a bull’s eye. I don’t care because we have a chance, so I’m looking forward to it.”

McLaughlin’s composure during the event was remarkable as he outperformed his teammates and the rest of the field with relative ease.

“Those are two guys you don’t really breathe down your neck,” he said of Power and Dixon. “I’m really proud of the restart. I’ve worked really hard over the past few years getting to know the band and getting them ready for those reboots. Fortunately we persisted. It was quite chaotic behind me. I saw in the mirrors that Will was nearly knocked out. It was pretty wild, but that’s why we love IndyCar racing, right?”

Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP held P3 at the restart but was judged by IndyCar as blocked by Dixon and ordered to relinquish position. He finished P4, 13.8s adrift, with Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal taking six positions to P5, 14.8s back, and in P6 Colton Herta put a solid drive for Andretti Autosport.

Penske’s Josef Newgarden looked like he was on his way to finishing third or fourth, but a strategic call to finish the race on the slower Firestone primary tires backfired and he was passed repeatedly over the past 16 laps. He and Dixon dropped to P8 and are now 20 points away from Power.

Aside from a harmless spin by Jimmie Johnson (and a later crash for the No. 48 driver that caused the late warning), a long grass drive by Romain Grosjean, Christian Lundgaard plowing into a billboard banner into Turn 1 and pitting at the end of the lap to have it removed, and Conor Daly’s day ending after a fire in the back of his car and a boiled clutch against his mullet-less self, the penultimate race was largely drama-free. The most significant outcome was a reduction of the list of real title contenders from seven to three.

It’s Power, Newgarden and Dixon, and on Friday the process of crowning a new champion begins in Monterey.


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