2022 IndyCar Recap: Honda GP of Alabama

2022 IndyCar Recap: Honda GP of Alabama

by May 2, 2022 0 comments

It is officially now ‘The Month of May’, the biggest stretch on the IndyCar Schedule. Kicking things off is the annual trip to Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, deep in NASCAR country. So far things have been all Team Penske, and more specifically Josef Newgarden, who entered Sunday on a two-race win streak. Polesitter Rinus VeeKay had the inside track headed to green, but could anyone break up this run from the Penske Chevrolet’s?

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Hard Reset

How about a waved-off green flag start to kick things off in ‘Bama? If you had this on your official race bingo card, congratulations, because this does not happen often. Luckily this only happened once and the next start was clean. Bonus points to the IndyCar socials team with the Fallout 4 meme as well.

Two vs Three

As always, the pit stop strategy game was set to play a huge role in this road course affair. Specifically the call to pit three times, or try to make it work on just two stops. As it turned out, going with three stops ended up not being the popular option for the day. The most notable drivers to come down pit road thrice on Sunday were Newgarden, Romain Grosjean, Colton Herta, and Marcus Ericsson. Only Grosjean among that group finished top 10. Herta meanwhile ended up finishing 10th after attempting a bold pass on Scott McLaughlin. For those who took two stops, all more or less split the race up into 30 lap stints with some over/underlap.

Rahal vs Grosjean

With four laps to go, Grosjean had a shot to get by Graham Rahal. After making contact in the middle of the corner, Grosjean went into Rahal again on the straightaway, and to say Rahal was furious was an understatement.

After the race ended, Rahal went up to Grosjean’s teammate Alexander Rossi to further show his displeasure. Then may have called his shot for some payback on NBC when they got to him for an interview. Keep an eye on this ‘feud’ at the Indianapolis Road Course race.

The Streak is Over

It became crystal clear that it wasn’t in the cards for a fourth straight win for Team Penske. VeeKay led a wide majority of the first 60 laps and was in total control. Coming to his final pitstop, however, Pato O’Ward was in relative striking distance, before the pair had identical pitstop times. Then on lap 62, O’Ward made a monster move going into turn five, going around the outside to get by VeeKay in what ultimately won him the race. A big win for the Mexican going into the pair of races in Indianapolis. He sits 30 points back of Alex Palou for the points lead, with the 500 counting as a double points race.

IndyCar Honda Grand Prix of Alabama Top 10

1st No. 5 Pato O’Ward

2nd No. 10 Alex Palou

3rd No. 21 Rinus VeeKay

4th No. 12 Will Power

5th No. 9 Scott Dixon

6th No. 3 Scott McLaughlin

7th No. 28 Romain Grosjean

8th No. 15 Graham Rahal

9th No. 27 Alexander Rossi

9th No. 26 Colton Herta


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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images 

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