Tuesday, Mar 21
Ethan Miller

Ethan Miller

Ethan Miller is 17 years old and resides in Pennsylvania. He aspires to become a sports writer following high school, and views writing for Speedway Digest as the next step towards a career in journalism. Ethan currently hosts the QuickPitPodcast with a few fellow NASCAR fans, which can be found on all major podcast platforms. 

Marcus Ericsson was not the fastest car in Sunday’s season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He wasn’t the second fastest either, and may not have even been the third. But, in a form that is quickly becoming an Ericsson specialty, he kept the car clean, and found himself in victory lane after 3 hours of chaotic racing around the streets of St. Petersburg. Ericsson only led 4 laps– the last 4– on the way to his fourth career IndyCar victory, yet he was there when it mattered.

Ericsson was asked post race if he’s noticed that most of his wins have come during dramatic, chaos-filled events. His response? “It's my thing, apparently.”

“All those races are very high intensity races,” Ericsson said. “It's not sort of straightforward races. There's a lot of things happening. You need to be ready to adjust your strategy, pit stops, restarts. There's a lot of things going on, and we seem to be very good at that. That's definitely one of our strengths. Not saying we cannot win without the red flag, but it's definitely been working for us.”

Sunday’s chaos was hinted at on Friday and Saturday when multiple drivers experienced issues during practice and qualifying preparing for the main event. Scott McLaughlin and Josef Newgarden each had to sit through multiple toe link repairs before qualifying began on Saturday, and eventual pole sitter Romain Grosjean crashed by himself during Friday practice. The track proved to be tough on drivers throughout the weekend.

At the drop of the green flag, polesitter Romain Grosjean got away cleanly, as did his teammate and outside pole position driver Colton Herta. At the back half of the top 10, however, the race was immediately marked with a dramatic crash on lap 1.

Scott Dixon made contact with Felix Rosenqvist, which sent the Swedish driver into the wall. The field behind Rosenqvist checked up to avoid the slow-moving McLaren, and the resulting accordion effect saw Helio Castroneves get spun in front of the field exiting the turn. Multiple cars crashed in a 5-car pileup, which only got worse. Benjamin Pedersen, who was further behind the field, rounded the corner and was at near full speed when he encountered the wreck. The AJ Foyt Enterprises driver slammed into a stationary Devlin DeFrancesco, launching the no. 29 Andretti Autosport Honda into the air. The scary wreck resulted in a 20 minute red flag to clean up. Also involved were Santino Ferrucci, Simon Pagenaud, and Sting Ray Robb.

After the red flag was lifted, the drivers settled into the first long run of the day. Grosjean and teammate Colton Herta, both on the softer alternate tires for the first stint, built a big lead on third place Pato O’Ward. Herta used up his tires early and slipped back while Grosjean continued to expand his lead. The first pit cycle opened up on lap 28, with Herta being the first taker of fresh Primary tires, followed by leaders Grosjean and O’Ward 5 laps later. Scott McLaughlin took over the lead of the race, and maintained it over Grosjean when the no. 3 Penske crew executed a flawless pitstop to keep him out front of the former F1 veteran Grosjean. One lap later, Conor Daly spun with help from Kyle Kirkwood, bringing out the second yellow.

The cliche goes that cautions breed cautions. There is a reason it’s always repeated because it does often ring true. On the restart from the previous caution, Rinus VeeKay went too deep into a corner and cooked it into the tire barriers, making contact with Jack Harvey in the process. Kyle Kirkwood had nowhere to go, and launched over Harvey, completely clearing Harvey’s machine before crashing back to earth. It was the second liftoff at the converted runway/street course of the afternoon, after Devlin Defrancesco left the pavement briefly on lap 1. Miraculously, Kirkwood’s day was not done, though he was uncompetitive and finished 3 laps down in 15th place. Jack Harvey had a hard time getting out of his wrecked race car and was taken to the hospital out of an abundance caution; as of this writing, he’s been cleared and released. 

The cautions were not done yet. On the following restart, Will Power sent it on Colton Herta, made contact, and Herta went into the tire barriers. For the reckless move, Power was penalized and sent to the rear of the field; on the flip, the damage to his Gainbridge Honda sent Herta to the garage, done for the day. Calamity had struck 3 of the 4 Andretti Autosport Hondas during the afternoon, and more was on the way

The race finally settled back down long enough for a green flag run to develop. Scott McLaughlin led, but Romain Grosjean remained glued to his rear wing. Never dropping further back than a second, Grosjean kept up with McLaughlin despite having the slower primary tire compared to McLaughlin’s alternates. Grosjean seemed faster, and McLaughlin’s team was worried that if they pitted before Grosjean, the Frenchman would pass the Team Penske driver by virtue of having clean air. McLaughlin pushed it on the tire stint, forcing Grosjean to pit first on lap 71. McLaughlin followed on lap later, and the two converged at nearly the same exact spot on the track when McLaughlin emerged from the pits. Grosjean had warm tires, and flew to the outside, knowing that he had to act quickly to move in front of McLaughlin. McLaughlin fought back on the inside as the two cars screamed towards the right-handed Turn 4, and drove in deep. Grosjean gave room, but McLaughlin trusted his cold tires too much– the back end stepped out, and he slid into Grosjean’s Honda, putting both cars in the tires. Three times Grosjean has been the bridesmaid in his short IndyCar career; on an afternoon that looked like his first career win was likely, he went home with a crushed-up race car instead. McLaughlin suffered less damage, but incurred a penalty for the reckless move and finished a lap down in 13th. Both drivers were visibly frustrated post race (both with McLaughlin, ironically, as he even blamed himself for the move).

Pato O’Ward assumed the lead following the stunning development between Grosjean and McLaughlin, followed by Marcus Ericsson and Scott Dixon. O’Ward took off, and gapped Ericsson on the restart. Ericsson slowly chipped away at his lead, with Dixon in tow, and O’Ward’s lead was down to 7 tenths of a second with 10 laps to go. Another caution seemed to be a possibility with 6 laps left when Josef Newgarden’s Chevy caught fire, but he nursed the wounded machine back to the pits without causing an issue. Ericsson continued to hound O’Ward, but the Mexican McLaren driver proved adept at keeping last year’s Indy 500 winner behind him. Ericsson needed a daring move or a stroke of luck to get around O’Ward; the daring move may have happened soon had the latter not occurred with 4 laps to go. On the exit of Turn 14, O’Ward’s Chevrolet experienced a random plenum backfire– a rare occurrence that momentarily shuts the engine off– and Ericsson darted around him to take the lead. O’Ward regained power immediately and did not lose any more positions, cruising home in very disappointing second place. 

“Yeah, we did everything right today,” said a frustrated O’Ward during his post race press conference. “I've got to give it to the teams. Arrow Electronics and everybody, not just our 5 car, but Felix, Alex, their groups, as well. I feel like we've all really collaborated fantastically and come with a package that has been a massive step up to where we were last year, so that's super promising. Super happy with that. Didn't really move much; we rolled off the truck strong, which is what we wanted to do…. I don't know what else to tell you. It's very unfortunate….It makes me proud of -- we arrived here, people knew we were here. We were fighting for the win. That was ours to take, and it was just very -- I wouldn't say heartbreaking, but I would say just very -- it was very generic. I was trying to find a more fancy word. Frazzled. I learned that maybe it's not the right thing. I learned it in school. But no, just slightly annoying.”

Savvy veteran Scott Dixon rounded out the podium by finishing third. Alexander Rossi came in fourth in his McLaren debut, and Callum Ilott turned in a very impressive fifth place finish for Juncos-Hollinger. Graham Rahal improved 14 spots from his starting spot to finish sixth, Will Power recovered from a penalty to place seventh, and Alex Palou slid back from the top 5 during the last run to the eighth finishing spot. Youngsters Christian Lundgaard and David Malukas closed out the top ten in ninth and tenth, respectively.

On the rookie front, Marcus Armstrong paced the 2023 class by finishing an impressive 11th in his IndyCar debut. Even more impressive is the fact that he achieved that result despite an unscheduled pit stop resulting from a flat tire. Augustin Canapino finished 12th, Sting Ray Robb finished 16th despite suffering heavy damage in the lap 1 wreck, and Benjamin Pedersen finished last in 27th. 

Back to Ericsson. The 32-year-old Swede now has 4 career wins and an early points lead in 2023. The driver of the no. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda for Chip Ganassi is extremely optimistic for this season.

“I think we're going to be good on all types of tracks,” he said. “That's the goal, of course. Yeah, it's been a promising start for us, and we need to keep working hard because we cannot just relax and say everything is fixed. This was one weekend. We need to make sure we continue this trend for the rest of the year, as well.”

Ericsson may not have come to IndyCar by a traditional path. He’s not flashy, and has a penchant for unexpected wins. But there is no doubt what his goals are, and what he thinks he is capable of. 

“I'm here to win. I want to win a championship. I want to win another 500. That's our goals, and what other people say doesn't really matter. But I think we've proven last year and the year before that we can be up front and run, fighting for a championship. We just need to keep doing that, and what people say, I don't really mind too much.”

St. Petersburg is just days away, and with that comes the beginning of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season. As the season is moments from going green, it’s time to take a look at the biggest storylines for this year’s title fight.

Penske Power

Can Team Penske follow up their stellar 2022? Will Power won the championship, Josef Newgarden led the series in wins (5), and Scott McLaughlin won 3 races in a breakout sophomore season. All three drivers were in mathematical contention for the title entering the final race at Laguna Seca, and Power, while only having one win, was remarkably consistent during his title run. Penske won nearly half the races in 2022; is it too tall an order to repeat? The team returns the same stellar lineup for 2023 (McLaughlin, Power, Newgarden), and with minimal changes in car package, will also return their speed. It will be stunning if Penske is not the top dog in IndyCar once again.

The question is focused then on who among the Captain’s drivers will be the best. Scott McLaughlin's meteoric rise since moving to IndyCar from Australian Supercars in 2021 hints at superstardom in open wheel racing. Josef Newgarden finished second in points three years running and would have been close to usurping Power last year if not for a freak mechanical failure while leading in the second Iowa race last summer. And, of course, Will Power is Will Power, now with a second title on his resume. Regardless of who seizes the top spot within the organization in 2023, all three drivers are legitimate championship contenders, and one of them will end up on top at the conclusion of the season.

Strong Rookie Class

IndyCar is experiencing a youth movement, and 2023 will feature a new batch of the sport’s future stars. 4 drivers enter the ranks of North America’s premier open-wheel racing series, 3 of which intend on competing full time (and the fourth running a majority of the schedule). The entries push the series to 27 full-time cars (26 full-time drivers). 

New Zealander Marcus Armstrong headlines the class as he makes the switch from FIA Formula 2 to a road/street gig with Chip Ganassi Racing. Armstrong won 4 races and stood on the podium 8 times during his 3-year stint in F2, including 3 wins last year. He’ll drive the no. 11 Honda, which he’ll share with Takuma Sato (Sato will run the oval races). Armstrong has already shown impressive speed in preseason testing at the Thermal Club. Over four practice sessions, he had the 5th best time overall, behind only Callum Ilott, Kyle Kirkwood, Christian Lundgaard, and Marcus Ericsson. Armstrong is a premier talent, and deserves the hype behind him coming from the F2 ranks. He may be the favorite to be the top rookie in points in 2023, despite running 5 less races than the rest of the rookies. 

Benjamin Pedersen, the Danish driver from Seattle, Washington, replaces Dalton Kellett at a reinvigorated A.J. Foyt Racing that saw both 2022 drivers depart following the 2022 season. Pedersen is coming off of 2 strong seasons in Indy Lights (now Indy NXT), including a dominant weekend at Portland where he captured his first Lights pole and win. Pedersen finished 4th and 5th in the Indy Lights standings in 2022 and 2023, respectively, and will bring a fresh burst of talent to a rebuilding Foyt. Pedersen will compete full-time with Foyt in the no. 55 Chevrolet.

Sting Ray Robb, who takes the lead for the best race car driver name in the world, is a late addition to the list. Robb finished second in the Indy Lights standings in 2022, with a win in the penultimate race at Laguna Seca. Robb will join Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing to pilot the no. 51 Honda full time in 2023, joining the race for the IndyCar Rookie of the Year championship. DCR with RWR, which operates with less funding and fanfare than some of the larger teams, always finds competitive results. In 2021, the team achieved a pole at the Indy GP and 3 podiums with Romain Grosjean. In 2022, Takuma Sato led laps at Gateway, and found speed at numerous tracks. Given Robb’s talent and energy, the team will have some strong runs in 2023. The future is promising for Robb and DCR/RWR. 

Augustin Canapino is a surprise addition to the list, as the 33-year-old Argentinian announced in January that he would join Juncos-Hollinger Racing full time in 2023, driving the no. 78 Chevrolet. Canapino joins Callum Ilott on an up-and-coming Juncos team that saw strong results towards the end of 2022. Canapino is not a household name in the United States, but has the support of his home country and has a strong racing resume in Argentina. He has 15 national series championships over the course of his South American racing career. In November of last year, Canapino drove a Juncos-Hollinger car in an exhibition event in front of a packed crowd in Buenos Aires, proving both his speed and the enthusiasm for IndyCar racing within the fans of his home nation. As IndyCar looks to grow internationally, Canapino could be a boon for the series, as he opens the exposure to an entire nation of racing fans. Given Hollinger’s speed at the end of 2022, Canapino should have some strong results, even though he’s not the traditional rookie. 

Changing Places

Alexander Rossi headlines a group of drivers that moved teams in the offseason. The American star, formerly of Andretti Autosport, makes the jump to Arrow McLaren. He’ll join Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist in papaya as the global racing team prepares three full-time entries for the 2023 season. Rossi snapped a winless streak spanning nearly 3 years last summer with a win at the Indianapolis GP summer race. The 2016 Indy 500 champion and former Formula 1 driver has 8 career IndyCar wins and a best points finish of second in 2018. Time will tell if a change of scenery will propel Rossi to the performance that many believe him capable of; if McLaren can provide fast cars, expect him to be a serious title competitor.

Rossi’s departure opened the door for Kyle Kirkwood. The 24-year-old, hailing from Jupiter, Florida, spent a significant portion of his rookie season at A.J. Foyt Racing behind the wall. Kirkwood, after a dominant 2021 in Indy Lights that saw him winning 10 races and the title, struggled in his debut IndyCar season and failed to finish 7 times. Kirkwood clearly has talent, and moving to a powerhouse organization like Andretti will be a huge equipment upgrade. He needs to keep the car on track; if he can avoid the garage in 2023, he’ll have a strong sophomore season.

2 time Indy 500 champion Takuma Sato is not done yet. He recently announced that he’ll run the oval races for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2023, filling in for rookie Marcus Armstrong. Sato, a former F1 driver, returns for his 14th year in IndyCar.

Also making a triumphant return, Tony Kanaan will make one final run at the Indy 500 in 2023 with McLaren. He’ll drive the no. 66 for the orange-and-black outfit in May. Kanaan won the 2013 Indy 500; 10 years later, the 2004 IndyCar champion will attempt to win it again one last time. Last year, he finished on the podium, so a storybook ending isn’t completely out of the cards. 

2023 Schedule Shakeups (or lack thereof)

The 2023 schedule has a whopping two changes compared to last season. Nashville and the second Indianapolis GP swap weekends— yippee! The major change, if you can even call it that, is the Detroit GP’s move from the historic Belle Isle racetrack to downtown Detroit in early June. There is some excitement around the street course, and the city of Detroit seems to be investing heavily in the June 4th event. 

The 2023 IndyCar season begins this Sunday in St. Petersburg, Florida, with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 5th. The race will begin at 12 PM eastern, and will air on NBC. 


“I just want to be driving race cars for the rest of my life and that is my number one goal.”

For Ryan Vargas, a 22-year-old Californian with a humble background, the journey to reach that goal hasn’t been easy. The Xfinity Series driver has 67 career starts under his belt, all but one with the David-esque JD Motorsports, and has only two career top tens in 4 years racing part-time in NASCAR’s second-level series. Despite all that, however, Vargas looks towards the future. 

Vargas was introduced to racing in his childhood in Southern California when his parents took him to Monster Jam events, which sparked his passion for “anything with four wheels and a motor”, as he said himself. A trip to Irwindale Speedway when he was 9 turned that spark into a 3 alarm fire. 

“It's our local short track,” Vargas recalled, “and as we're there we see a recess aide from my elementary school and I'm just kind of thinking myself, ‘Oh, that's wild, that you’re here,’ and she just happens to tell me about her son's racing, a bandolero race car, and that they plan on actually selling that car. My eyes immediately light up and I'm just kind of like, ‘OK, this is something I want to do.’”

Vargas wrecked the car in his first time testing a bandolero; driving home from the test, his dad gave him a choice. 

“He said, ‘Look, we could do one of two things. We can race. But if we do this, we're going to make sure that you're a champion by the end of this, and if not that's fine. We can go and race K1 Speed on the weekends with some friends and you just do your normal school stuff and all that and find a job.’

It took me about 5 minutes to decide that I want to drive a race car and we haven't looked back.”

After finding success in bandoleros, street stocks, and late models on the west coast, Vargas moved to the east coast to advance his career with Rev Racing’s Drive for Diversity program. The initiative is designed to create more opportunities in NASCAR for minorities and women both behind the wheel and in the garage. The 2018 class includes Vargas, then 18, Ernie Francis, Jr. (SRX winner and TransAm champion), Nick Sanchez (2022 ARCA champion with 8 career Xfinity races), among others. Moving to the east coast and fully diving into a professional racing career while still being a teenager helped mold Vargas into the man he is today. 

“My dad moved here with me for a few months and once I turned 18 and was able to kind of support myself, he moved back to California with my mom and I basically took over trying to cover things and do my own stuff, do groceries and all that,” Vargas said. “I was freshly 18 years old and now living on my own for the first time in this area that I didn't know. And that was intimidating, but it was a lot of fun, and in 2019 when I was racing late models and stuff and making my Xfinity debut and stuff, I was racing my winnings from late model races to pay for rent and groceries through those deals that I got. It was a very big learning experience for me on how to grow the business side of being a racecar driver so that you can actually live doing so and that was a very important point in my life.”

His first career Xfinity start came in 2019 at Iowa Speedway for JD Motorsports in the 15 car, where he finished a respectable 17th. 2 more starts came that year, one at Road America when he finished on the lead lap, and one in the penultimate race at Phoenix. 

He then ran 9 races in 2020, all for JDM once again, with the last 6 being the final 6 of the season with social media giant TikTok on the car. Vargas has a penchant for finding big sponsors; he’s brought in the aforementioned TikTok, Swann, Best Buy, Critical Path Security, Williamsburg Contracting, and Reddit to support his racing career. As to how he continues to draw big brands, Vargas isn’t entirely sure.

“It's funny 'cause I don't know,” he explained. “I try to be the squeaky wheel. I try to make sure I follow up, I'm very hands on with all of these programs that I put together. I'm very up front with all of my partners, I make sure that they know what they're getting into when they sign on with me.  I want them to know that everything that is put out there is put out there by me, and that I have a direct influence on the partnership.”

“Putting a sticker on the car, that doesn't mean anything anymore,” Vargas said. 

“It's about making sure that you actually return it for your partners and then everything will sort itself out.” 

Vargas makes sure that the companies know that he’s behind the sponsorship deal at hand, and he alone focuses on making the deals succeed. The level of responsibility, however, is not lost on him. 

“I'm aware that I have a lot on my shoulders when it comes to finding new partners,” Vargas said. “Obviously I email a lot, I do a lot of cold calling; it's definitely a lot, it's definitely stressful, but that's what you gotta do to be in this sport, and that's what’s kept me in this sport, so I'm willing to do whatever it takes to keep me here.”

Vargas’s grassroots sponsorship campaign allowed him to compete on a nearly full-time basis with JDM in 2021 and 2022, running 29 and 26 races, respectively. Each year he improved his points finish, and in 2022 he scored a career-high 6th place finish at Daytona in August. 

“I think we accomplished a lot of our goals,” Vargas said. “We kept cars clean, I think I have the least amount of incidents of any driver in Xfinity, which is a very important stat to have.”

Following his successful 2022 season, Vargas announced this offseason that he would be moving on from JDM, with whom he’s spent the first four years of his NASCAR Xfinity Series career. He’s ready for the next step of his racing career.

“There's just things that you come to the realization of and you just kind of decide, ‘It's time for me to take a little bit of a leap,’” Vargas explained. “I wish John and his organization nothing but the best. But I do look forward to changing things up in 2023. Things are still very fluid at the moment. Things are still very, very much in the works. I'm very confident that I'll be able to figure out my plans here in the coming few days.”

Vargas has not announced his plans for 2023 and beyond yet, but he’s optimistic for his future in the sport. 

“If I'm driving, my overall goal is to get into a highly competitive Xfinity ride in the coming years and run full time, chase wins, chase championships,” Vargas said. “But that does come with time, I do need more seat time, I need more experience at these bigger teams…But now, moving into the future I hope to find myself a seat at the table and hopefully one day, like I mentioned, chase the championship one day.”

Ryan Vargas is young, but he’s got a ton of seat time already. He’s got the personality, talent, and business smarts to grow a successful career in the upper ranks of NASCAR. He’s not a household name yet- but watch for Ryan Vargas to make a splash in the coming years.

Formula 1 has experienced tremendous growth globally, especially in the United States, over the last 5 years. The organization is desperate to tap into the vast American market but they’ve been missing the biggest component to American commercial success: a home-grown driver. Until now. On Sunday, Williams Racing announced that American Logan Sargeant will join the team in 2023.

In 2022, the Williams Racing lineup featured Nicholas Latifi and Alex Albon, a pairing which produced only 8 points to this point in the season. Albon was signed to a multi-year extension in August; one month later, Williams announced that Latifi would not return to the team following 2022, leaving the team with an open seat for 2023. Latifi scored only 7 points in nearly 3 full seasons with Williams to date, and was repeatedly outperformed by teammates George Russell (2019-2021) and Albon (2022). Prior to Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, the team had not revealed Latifi’s replacement. 

During Saturday’s press conference prior to the race on Sunday at Circuit of the Americas, Williams team principal Jost Capito slipped in the team’s decision for their second driver in 2023 and beyond. Logan Sargeant, a 21-year-old American from Florida, will replace Latifi at Williams next year provided that he achieves enough FIA SuperLicense points to be eligible for a Formula 1 drive. Sargeant replaced Latifi for Free Practice 1 on Saturday and will also run FP1 at Mexico and Abu Dhabi to increase his chances at reaching the license threshold.

“I think with every rookie who comes in, and he had one season in Formula 2, and I’m a fan of getting young drivers as quick through as possible into Formula 1 because the series, the cars, compared to Formula 1 cars, lack tracks, so get him in as soon as possible and find out if he’s capable to stay in Formula 1 long-term – which we believe he is,” Capito said. “His first year in F2, and he won races, and he has been qualifying very strong, all the years in his career, so we believe he’s absolutely ready to get into Formula 1.”

Sargeant won two races in F2 this year, in back-to-back events at Silverstone and Austria, becoming the first American to win in the series since Alexander Rossi in 2013. He currently sits in third place in the F2 standings with 1 race left; in order to obtain a SuperLicense, he needs to finish the season in 5th place or higher in the driver standings. Should he succeed, and be officially signed to Williams Racing, he will join Alex Albon for Williams’ 2023 driver pairing. Capito is confident that the pairing will be successful next year.

“We can have a rookie because, with Alex, who’s still young but also already a very experienced driver,” Capito explained. “He established so well in the team, he gave fantastic results, he’s working well with the team, so we can put a rookie alongside him.”

Sargeant will join McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and AlphaTauri’s Nyck De Vries as drivers making their full-time Formula 1 debuts in 2023. The American will be the first driver from the states since Alexander Rossi in 2015. Rossi, an 8-time race winner in the NTT IndyCar Series since 2016, ran 5 races in F1 between 2014 and 2015 with Manor Marussia (a best finish of 12th at the 2015 USGP). The last time an American won an F1 race was in 1978, when Mario Andretti won the Dutch Grand Prix that year. Andretti is also the last American driver to win the F1 Championship, also in 1978. His son Michael Andretti is the last American to score points in 1993; Scott Speed is the most recent driver to finish in the top 10 for the red, white, and blue (2007). In short— America has a serious F1 drought. Sargeant could change everything for American fans. 

Formula 1 already has 2 US races, in Miami and Austin, Texas on the schedule. Next year, they’ll add a third on the streets of Las Vegas. American interest in the series has grown exponentially since the release of Netflix reality show Drive to Survive, which goes behind the scenes of the F1 season. Adding a homegrown driver to the grid will only increase the series popularity among Americans. Instead of picking from a cast of mostly European drivers and teams, we the people have a driver to gravitate to. 

Logan Sargeant is not stepping into a good car. Williams will likely finish last in the constructor standings this year, a spot that they’re familiar with over the last decade. He’ll be a rookie, competing against the best open wheel drivers on the planet. But, despite all of that, his addition to the F1 grid is monumental. It signifies a shift in the sport’s popularity in the United States and will usher in a new era of American motorsports, regardless of how he performs and how many races he runs. Sargeant signifies the next chapter of American F1; it’s lights out, and away we go. 


Standing in a rain of confetti, Power recaptured the championship trophy for the first time in 8 years. Power, then 33, won his first championship in 2014 with 3 wins, dominating a season in which he never fell below second in the points standings. This year, he faced a tougher road. While he did lead the points standings early in the year, he didn’t regain the points lead until race 13/17 at Indy. Power now joins an illustrious list of multi-time IndyCar Champions with his second title on Sunday in 2022. 


Power entered Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca with a 20-point lead over teammate Josef Newgarden and 6-time champion Scott Dixon. If he placed on the podium, he was guaranteed the title, and his chances of doing so looked good on Saturday. Power qualified on the pole and led the field to green. Said Power of his pole, which was the fifth of the season for him,


“I couldn't really enjoy the pole yesterday because I was so focused on the race.”


Rookie Callum Ilott put in a stellar run to start second in Sunday’s race, and had an immensely impressive race until lap 39, when his engine failed. He ended up bringing out the only caution of the race, as the remainder of the event was incident-free. Power led the first 14 laps before giving it up during a pit cycle, in which the lead changed hands multiple times. Alex Palou emerged as the leader as the race approached halfway, and he settled in as the sole frontrunner for the win. While he was eliminated from championship contention at Portland last week, Palou was winless on the season, which made the win at Laguna Seca all the more enticing. The driver of the no. 10 NTT Data Honda ran away with the lead and the win while Power fought to clinch the championship. 


Josef Newgarden, still with a chance at the title, drove up to second after starting in 25th place due to a qualifying spin. He did all that he could, but was unable to catch Palou for the lead or a break that would allow him to gain more points on Power. Palou resulted in leading 67 out of 95 laps en route to a dominating win in what may have been his last race for Chip Ganassi Racing, winning by over 30 seconds. Newgarden placed second, and Power clinched his second title by taking the final podium spot. 

Felix Rosenqvist, with an uncertain future in IndyCar, closed out an up-and-down season of his own to place fourth, and Christian Lundgaard wrapped up an impressive rookie season in fifth, capturing the Rookie of the Year crown. 


Scott McLaughlin capped off a strong sophomore season in sixth, and Romain Grosjean finished seventh. Pato O’Ward, Marcus Ericsson, and Alexander Rossi concluded the top 10. 


Power’s championship comes a year after his worst points finish in 13 years in 2021, when he finished ninth with only one win. This year, he also only had one win, at Belle Isle, but he was remarkably consistent. He had an average finish of 5.9, and only had one finish worse than 15th (19th at Road America). The championship drive was smooth and calm down the stretch as he slowly reeled in Marcus Ericsson, tallying 5 podiums in the last 7 races. Power led the series in podiums with 9, and he finished every race on the lead lap. His consistency is ultimately what won him the championship.


“You can't leave anything on the table,” Power explained. “That's what makes this series so tough and unique is that you've got all these disciplines. Even the difference between a road course and a street course is quite significant in our series because the street course is extremely rough and bumpy and tight. There's not a series like it. I'm going to say it's the toughest series in the world because of what you've got to master to win it and the competition level. You don't even have to take my word for it; just do the math on lap times, and you'll see that we're the toughest, the most competitive series in the world.”


Power was glad that it came down to the wire and wasn’t a runaway for the championship this year.


“Yeah, it was a hard fight to the end,” he said. “You're fighting Dixon and Newgarden, like two of the best guys in the series. It's very satisfying. Very satisfying. That matters. It's not fun -- it's fun at the time when you win with ease, but it's way better when it was a difficult fight to the end, which it was. It adds to the satisfaction. “


Newgarden, with his podium finish, came up second in the season points standings to Power. For the 2-time champion, now runner-up for the championship in three straight seasons, there may have been a scenario where things worked out differently; Newgarden was dominating late at Iowa when something broke in the car, knocking him out of the race and costing him dozens of points. When he fell short by only 16 points to Power in the end, the season was surely bittersweet. 


Scott Dixon placed third in the standings, his sixth straight season of being top-5 in points. Scott McLaughlin finished in fourth, and 2021 champ Alex Palou climbed up to fifth with his win. 2022 Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, who led the points for multiple weeks this summer, resulted in sixth in points, meaning the top 6 spots in the standings belonged to drivers from either Team Penske or Chip Ganassi Racing. 


With the checkered flag flying at Laguna Seca on Sunday, the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season is in the books. Not without its own intrigue and excitement, the ultra-competitive field put on a stellar show once again. Now, as 2022 concludes, all teams and drivers turn their eyes to the offseason, contract negotiations, and preparing for the beginning of the 2023 season next spring. 

In fall 2020, Scott McLaughlin made his first career IndyCar start at St. Petersburg in the 2020 season finale. He crashed on lap 46. Less than 2 years later, the 29-year-old Australian SuperCars legend is poised to become the next big star in the NTT IndyCar series. McLaughlin dominated Sunday’s race at Portland International Raceway for his third win of the season.

The driver for Team Penske never gave up the lead under normal race circumstances, only ceding the lead during green flag pit stops. McLaughlin led 104 out of 110 laps after starting on the pole, and finished 1.18 seconds ahead of teammate Will Power in second. It was a total beatdown of the field by McLaughlin, and he also pulled closer in the championship fight with the final race of the season coming up. He added to his wins at St. Petersburg and Mid-Ohio earlier this year for his third career win.

Will Power, the championship leader, finished second, with 6-time champion Scott Dixon finishing third. Pato O’Ward placed fourth, and Graham Rahal continued his late summer surge with a fifth place finish, his fifth top 10 of the last seven races. Colton Herta, in the midst of F1 rumors, finished in sixth, with teammate Alexander Rossi grabbing the seventh place finishing spot. Josef Newgarden, Callum Illot, and Felix Rosenqvist rounded out the top 10 in eight, ninth, and tenth. 

With one race to go in the 2022 IndyCar season, Will Power leads Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden by 20 points. Marcus Ericsson, 39 points behind, and Scott McLaughlin, 41 points behind, are both still mathematically eligible but are longshots. It’s Will Power’s title to lose, and as long as he has a solid run at Laguna Seca, he’ll clinch the title. 

IndyCar closes out its 2022 season next weekend at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The race is on Sunday, September 11th at 3 PM EST on NBC, where a champion will be crowned.

It’s rare for a new team to announce a Cup Series entry and stick without major backing. Trackhouse Racing is perhaps the biggest success story; 23XI doesn’t necessarily count due to the star power behind the ownership group. Team Hezeberg announced an entry last fall and, while they have proven to be legitimate, they haven’t shown much speed in their part time entries (the Netherlands-based team does, however, get bonus points for being the only foreign-owned team in the NASCAR Cup Series). 

Team Stange, despite their lofty aspirations in their March 2022 announcement, is yet to compete in a race this season and hasn’t updated their social media in 2 months. And the list goes on; more often than not, new NASCAR teams don’t make it past the introductory press conference. However, a new team has popped up on social media that plans on their own foray into NASCAR racing. 

As previously stated, every new NASCAR team should be taken with a grain of salt. Announcing a brand is one task; acquiring parts, signing drivers, bringing in sponsorship, and showing up at the track is far more extensive and expensive. But based on an email obtained from team owner Dennis Hirtz, 3F Racing just might be on track to actually reach raceday this fall. 

3F Racing aims to be the first German-owned NASCAR Cup Series team. Based on their website, they plan on running the no. 30 NextGen Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. According to Hirtz, the team will have an alliance with Richard Childress Racing and their engines will be built in Welcome, NC.

Hirtz said of the RCR alliance,

“You need to have a strong alliance entering the sport to not run in the back.”

3F Racing plans on competing in the final 5 races in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, beginning with the Round of 12 finale at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. There, they plan on having a prestigious driver in the car for their debut race.

“The driver lineup will be released at a later point, as we are still in the last stages of the funding with our partners and sponsors,” Hirtz said via email. “Our driver for the Roval will be a two time 24h of Le Mans winner with a strong European background, and for the remaining races we will field a very experienced and well known US American NASCAR driver.”

While pure speculation, many fans believe Justin Allgaier to be the driver for the non-oval races this year, due to Allgaier being the only big NASCAR driver to follow them on social media. Earl Bamber is also suspected to be a possibility for the Roval ride, due to the fact that he has extensive sports car racing experience in Europe and IMSA, and has 2 LeMans victories. He does not follow the team on social media at the last check, and neither driver nor the team itself have announced anything official.

Hirtz says the team plans on running 10-12 races in 2023, followed by a full-time entry in 2024. Once the team is ready, they will announce drivers and officially enter the sport with a team presentation. 

Their website is https://3f-racing.com/ , and they can be found on Twitter and Instagram.

It had been over 1,000 days since Alexander Rossi had last won an NTT IndyCar Series race, at Road America in 2019. 49 races had passed, the longest winless drought of his career for the 30-year-old American driver for Andretti Autosport. On Saturday, in the midst of a jam-packed doubleheader weekend featuring NASCAR and IndyCar both running races at the IMS infield circuit, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner snapped his winless streak in commanding fashion. 

Felix Rosenqvist won the pole and led the first 7 laps before being passed by Colton Herta on lap 8, who in turn would cede the lead to Scott McLaughlin on lap 14. McLaughlin would lead 10 laps, then teammate Will Power took a turn out front on lap 24. Herta regained the lead as the race settled in on lap 31. Simon Pagenaud ran out of fuel, ending his day early and bringing out the second of two cautions on lap 36.

On the restart, Herta and Andretti teammate Alexander Rossi pulled away from the rest of the field, setting up a possible duel between the two young American stars. Herta, however, ran over a curb hard and broke a component in the car, forcing him to retire from the race on lap 41 and giving the lead over to Rossi.

Rossi led the remaining 44 laps to win the Gallagher Grand Prix, his first win in 3 seasons. It’s Rossi’s third podium of the 2022 season, after he placed second at Belle Isle and third at Road America. The American driver is set to leave Andretti Autosport for Arrow Mclaren SP at the conclusion of this season, making this win the potential final act for the Rossi/Andretti combination. 

Said Rossi post race about finally snapping the streak and returning to victory lane,

“Yeah, it's a lot of relief I think is the main word. We've had some race wins that we've thrown away for sure, and we've had some weekends where we've just kind of not had the pace, and for whatever reason. I think that we knew things were trending in a good direction this year, and we had a solid test here a month or so ago. I think the one constant has been just the mental strength of the whole team. As challenging as it is for me, it's also hard for them. They go in every day and work their butts off, and when they don't get results, it's hard for them, as well. I think as a unit, that's one of our strengths is being able to continue to just push forward. It's a big team win and a big thank you to the whole organization.”

Rookie Christian Lundgaard garnered a career-best second place finish in the race, his first career podium. The driver for Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan Racing credited his team during his post race press conference. 

“It feels amazing,” said Lundgaard. “I think the best feeling right now is that the team really deserves it. They've worked super hard, and we've had such a struggling beginning to the season, and I think coming to Toronto was when things started to change. We saw sort of a streak where we started to perform better. Even Road America, Mid-Ohio was there. We were on the edge of the top 10. To come here and finish second, I think the team deserves every bit of it. I'm just a guy doing my job really. I want to win, so I try as best I can every event.”

Lundgaard leads the rookie standings following his strong result, leading David Malukas by 27 points with 4 races to go. 

Will Power finished third, his seventh podium of the year. More important was the points gain he made in the championship race, as he leapfrogged Marcus Ericsson to regain the points lead on Saturday. 

“It's amazing some of the runs we've had this year,” Power said. “But yep, just kept my head and did what I could in the situation. I had to get a big fuel number and go as fast as I can. Very good day. Good day for the team all around.”

Power also acknowledged the change in mindset that comes with racing for a championship as the races wind down.

“It's not necessarily the long game, it's just that sort of attitude switch where you know these races are long, the season is long, and you've got to make the most of every situation, even if you're fighting for like 12th. If that's your day to finish 12th, well, finish 12th, not 24th.”

Power leads Ericsson by 9 points, with teammate Josef Newgarden in third place, 32 points back. Newgarden competed in Saturday’s race after doctors cleared him to race on Friday, as his recovery was in doubt following a hard crash last week at Iowa.

After Power in third, his Penske teammates Scott McLaughlin and Newgarden finished fourth and fifth. Closing out the second half of the top 10 were Rinus VeeKay, Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, Felix Rosenqvist, and Alex Palou.

The NTT IndyCar Series will travel to Nashville this upcoming weekend for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. The event is the second race on the streets of Nashville, and will be on Sunday, August 7th at 3:00 EST on NBC

Josef Newgarden and Patricio O’Ward claimed victories at Iowa Speedway this past weekend, in a jam-packed doubleheader event presented by HyVee Grocery Stores. Featuring concerts from the likes of Blake Shelton and Gwen Stafani, fantastic on-track racing, and innovative attractions from HyVee themselves, there weren’t just 2 action packed races on Saturday and Sunday- it was a legitimate event. So often it feels, in NASCAR and IndyCar, that the races that aren’t in big markets or are key for the season itself are bland and boring, with no appeal for a casual fan to watch or attend. This weekend, however, was a huge event and a massive success for HyVee and IndyCar.

Josef Newgarden dominated the first race on Saturday en route to victory lane, leading 208 of 250 total laps in the race. It was his fourth win of the season, the most in the series as nobody else has more than two. Pato O’Ward finished second, with Will Power in third and Rinus VeeKay and Scott Dixon rounding out the top five, respectively. The win is Newgarden’s 24th of his stellar career, and the seventh of the season for Team Penske.

Arrow McLaren driver Pato O’Ward won the second of two races on the weekend at Iowa Speedway on Sunday after race leader Josef Newgarden crashed out on lap 235 of the 300 lap contest. Newgarden, after being cleared by the medical team at the track post wreck, fainted in the paddock and suffered a head injury, leading him to be airlifted from the track to the nearest hospital. He was later revealed to be fine, staying at the hospital overnight as a precaution. Should he not be healthy enough to race in Saturday’s race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Santino Ferrucci has been tabbed by Team Penske to fill in for Newgarden. 

O’Ward led the last 66 laps to win Sunday’s race, his second victory of the year, with Will Power taking second and Scott McLaughlin finishing third. Scott Dixon placed fourth, and Jimmie Johnson captured his first top five in IndyCar with a fifth place finish. 

Following the weekend’s racing, Marcus Ericsson still leads the points standings. However, the gap has closed, and with 403 points he’s only 8 points ahead of second place driver Will Power. Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon are tied for third, 34 points out of the lead. With his win, O’Ward sits in fifth place in the IndyCar championship, only 2 points behind third and 36 points behind Ericsson in the lead. 

Only 5 races remain in the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship, and with a tight points battle for the lead, every race matters. The next event is this Saturday, July 30th, at 12 PM EST on NBC in the Gallagher Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a doubleheader event with the NASCAR Xfinity Series (3:30 EST, NBC).

Scott McLaughlin, the 2021 IndyCar Rookie of the Year, won Sunday’s NTT IndyCar Series race at Mid-Ohio, becoming the second driver to win multiple races this season. The winner of the season opener at St. Petersburg led 45 of 80 laps to cruise to his second win in his fledgling IndyCar career. 

Team Penske has a penchant for finding success at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a road racing crown jewel tucked away in midwestern farmland. With McLaughlin’s win on Sunday, owner Roger Penske now has 12 wins at the historic racecourse. 

McLaughlin started second in the race, and ran top 5 for much of the early stages of the race. McLaren driver Pato O’Ward won the pole and led from the start. His teammate, Felix Rosenqvist, started fourth and ran as high as third before a surprise engine failure ended his day early on lap 8. O’Ward would eventually suffer the same fate as his Swedish ally, as he steadily lost power (and the lead) following a pit stop on lap 28. Kyle Kirkwood had a hard crash that brought out the caution, giving McLaughlin the lead as the race neared halfway. McLaughlin led the next 24 laps. Colton Herta grabbed the lead for 7 laps as the race neared the end, but the Andretti Autosport driver couldn’t stay out front forever due to his pit strategy, and McLaughlin reclaimed the lead when Herta pitted. In the final stint, he held off a hard-charging Alex Palou, giving him the win in the ninth race of the 2022 season. 

Defending champion Palou finished in second, with Will Power taking the last podium spot in third despite a spin at the start of the race. Rinus VeeKay finished in fourth, and 6-time champion Scott Dixon rounded out the top five with his fifth place finish. Points leader Marcus Ericsson finished sixth, with Josef Newgarden placing seventh and Helio Castroneves finishing eighth. Rookie David Malukas and veteran Simon Pagenaud closed the top ten by finishing ninth and tenth, respectively. 

The race was far from a snoozer- 6 cautions for 17 total laps meant that the longest green flag run was only 19 laps. Multiple championship contenders had issues- O’Ward and Rosenqvist contributed to a double retirement for the Arrow McLaren team. More riveting still was the fireworks provided by teammates Romain Grosjean, Alexander Rossi, and Colton Herta. Racing hard for position in the second half of the race, Rossi forced Grosjean off the track and into the wall, sabotaging his own line in the process. Mere laps later, Grosjean made contact with Herta, sending the young star into the gravel. Owner Michael Andretti called a team meeting postrace, which Grosjean commented on while speaking to NBC Sports.

“It wasn’t pleasant, but it was good that he did it,” Grosjean remarked. “I understand he’s frustrated and not happy with us.”

In the same interview, Grosjean called Rossi “an absolute idiot”, while also admitting responsibility for the accidental contact with Herta in an apology to his teammate. 

Rossi also got penalized for making contact with Andretti’s fourth and newest driver, rookie Devlin DeFrancesco. 

McLaughlin debuted in 2020 for Team Penske, making one start at St. Petersburg to get his feet wet in IndyCar. The Australian Supercars legend, winner of 3 straight championships and 56 total races across 8 full-time seasons, made the full-time jump to IndyCar last season. He won his first race at this year’s season opener in St. Petersburg; with his Mid-Ohio win, he joins teammate Josef Newgarden as the only drivers with multiple victories in 2022. Despite being in only his sophomore IndyCar season, McLaughlin feels like he’s rapidly getting used to the car.

“...my experience in terms of what I want from the car, what I'm asking from the team, what I want from the car in a pit stop, wing changes, whatever,” he said. “I'm a lot more assertive now with what I want.”

As he looks ahead to the next race in Toronto, he’s optimistic of their chances to get back in the championship fight.

“I'm excited for what's ahead,” McLaughlin said. “A win is a big thing for us, moved us forward a little bit. I don't know where it's put us in the standings, but if we keep building, I feel like Toronto is going to be a track that's going to suit me.”

The win moved McLaughlin from ninth to seventh in the points standings, past Alexander Rossi and Simon Pagenaud. Marcus Ericsson still leads the series with a 20 point lead over second place Will Power, as the 2022 season enters the stretch run. Josef Newgarden is in third, and Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward round out the top 5 with 8 races to go. 

Scott McLaughlin is only 29 years old, despite his years of success in Australian Supercars and budding IndyCar performance. However, his win on Sunday shows that he’s here to stay- and he’ll grow to stardom in the process. 

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