IndyCar: Tightest NTT IndyCar championship battle in 19 years stops at Portland next weekend

Championship chases are heating up across multiple series as the 2022 motorsports season draws closer to the finish line. With only two races remaining, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES title race is historically tight as the series heads to Portland International Raceway (PIR) for the pivotal Grand Prix of Portland, Sept. 2-4.

The points leader after the completion of the past three Grand Prix of Portland rounds (2018, 2019 and 2021) has gone on to claim the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship. At the top of the current standings is Team Penske’s Will Power with his teammate Josef Newgarden in second position just three points back. The narrow gap represents the closest NTT INDYCAR SERIES margin with two races remaining since 2008. Additionally, the 43 points separating the top five drivers in the championship mark the tightest title chase since 2003, when 41 points separated the top five.

Race start – Grand Prix of Portland. Year in and year out the IndyCar drivers crash in Turn 1 like a bunch of wankers — Photo by: Joe Skibinski

Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet, heads to Portland with momentum after notching his season-leading fifth win last Saturday on the World Wide Technology Raceway oval just outside St. Louis, Mo. The victory propelled the two-time series champion from fourth to second in the standings after 15 rounds.

“I think we’re just going to race like we always do. It’s not going to be the first time Will and I have raced together,” Josef Newgarden explained. “We’ve had many, many races that have been in lockstep, one-two, so I think we’ll just fight it out as normal. Clearly, we don’t want to do something that jeopardizes the whole group, because it is bigger than us. At the end of the day, we’ve still got three cars in the fight, and there’s nothing that matters more than putting a Team Penske car in victory lane.”

Power, Newgarden and fellow Team Penske driver Scott McLaughlin will participate in an important test day tomorrow on the 1.964-mile, 12-turn PIR circuit. Joining them will be all four Andretti Autosport drivers and the two A.J. Foyt Racing pilots to prepare for next weekend’s Grand Prix of Portland.

Three Chip Ganassi Racing drivers follow Team Penske’s Power (482 points) and Newgarden (479) in the standings. Six-time series champion Scott Dixon (468) and 2022 Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson (465) sit in third and fourth, respectively. Last year’s Grand Prix of Portland winner Alex Palou (439) slots in at the fifth position. McLaughlin (428) and Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward (424) round out the top seven.

“I’m really excited about coming back to Portland. For me, it was the first time racing there last year,” said Marcus Ericsson. “I did enjoy the track a lot. I think it’s a mix of high-speed, low-speed stuff, and that mix of corners really presents a quite unique challenge. I think we as a team were strong there last year, and they’ve been strong there in the past. So, I think we can really have a good weekend, and we need a strong weekend, obviously, as we try to win the championship. Portland is going to be an extremely important weekend.”

The ARCA Menards Series West will join the NTT INDYCAR SERIES at PIR on Labor Day weekend. The stock cars will headline on-track action on Saturday, Sept. 3rd for the Portland 100 at 5:30 p.m. PT. Then, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will cap off an exciting Grand Prix of Portland weekend on Sunday, Sept. 4th, as the field takes the green flag at approximately 12:30 p.m. PT.

Saturday’s ARCA Menards Series West feature will be the stock cars’ second trip to Portland this season as the series enters its stretch run. With four races remaining, Sunrise Ford Racing’s Jake Drew leads the series with 361 points. The 22-year old, second-year ARCA driver has won three races this season, including the June race at PIR, and holds a 44-point advantage over Tanner Reif (317 points). Reif will look to further cut into Drew’s lead after winning last weekend’s ARCA Menards Series West race at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash.

All three series comprising the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will also bring championship chases to the PIR race weekend. Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the top rung of the open-wheel development ladder for aspiring NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers, will race on Sunday, Sept. 4th. Swedish driver Linus Lundqvist holds a commanding 108-point lead with three races remaining on the season. Both the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship will conclude their seasons with tripleheader races in Portland.

Prior to the race weekend, fans are welcome to attend the Grand Prix of Portland Kick-Off Party on Thursday, Sept. 1 from 3-7 p.m. PT at Kenton Station Restaurant & Pub (8303 N. Denver Ave., Portland 97217). The Portland sports talk radio show Primetime with Isaac & Suke from 1080 AM The Fan will broadcast live from the party. Also, Romain Grosjean, a 10-year Formula One veteran and current Andretti Autosport NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver, and additional drivers will be on site to sign autographs and mingle with fans ahead of the big event at PIR.

Ticket prices start as low as $20 for Single Day General Admission and $70 for Single Day Grandstand seats. Three-day tickets remain available for purchase and offer the best fan value. General Admission for the entire weekend is just $65, and a 3-Day Grandstand reserved seat starts at $85 which includes gate admission.

Children 12 and under receive free general admission to the event. This also includes complimentary access to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Paddock throughout the weekend when accompanied by a ticketed adult. To enhance their experience further, the youngest fans can participate in the Grand Prix of Portland Rookie Racers. This immersive program, offering unique experiences throughout the race weekend, is on sale at for a nominal fee.

For all ticket pricing, grandstand locations and additional festival information, visit Stay up to speed on the Grand Prix of Portland on social media all year long by following #PortlandGP.


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