2022 IndyCar Recap: GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis

2022 IndyCar Recap: GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis

by May 15, 2022 0 comments

The best stretch of the year on the Motorsports Callender has officially hit. IndyCar is now set up at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the rest of this month ahead of the Indianapolis 500. Before the big one, the first of two races on the IMS road course served as the opening act for the main stretch in the ‘Month of May”. Defending IndyCar Champion Alex Palou entered the weekend with the points lead. However, that lead was anything but comfortable, with a slew of drivers within striking distance. Could the No. 10 hold on before the biggest race on the planet, and more importantly the double points that come with it?

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Hour of Power

Qualifying went down on Friday afternoon, and it was Will Power taking pole by a matter of tenths of a second over Palou and Josef Newgarden. For Power, this was his 64th career pole position, which puts him just three back of Mario Andretti for the all-time record. The bigger story on Friday however, was the drivers who didn’t even make it out of the first round of qualifying. Scott Dixon, Colton Herta, Rinus VeeKay, Simon Pagenaud, and Takuma Sato all got eliminated right off the bat. For Dixon, this marks the second race in a row where he started outside the top 10, not a particularly great sign right before the 500.

Inclement Weather

Despite IndyCar moving up the start time to try and beat some incoming rain, Mother Nature beat them to punch anyway. A race that was set to start just past 3:00 in the afternoon was pushed back by 45 minutes more or less. Furthermore, with the rain already in play, all cars would by default start the race on wet tires for the first time this season.

Patience Level; Zero

They must have told the drivers that it was just a five-lap race before the green flag. You would think so based on the opening lap given all that happened. You had drivers overshooting it into turn one, Palou going for the jugular getting from third to first, and a multi-car early wreck, which included Graham Rahal and Marcus Ericsson, which didn’t bring out a yellow. Not to mention the entire field switching from rain tires to red compound tires by the time lap five rolled around. Herta cycled to the lead with Pato O’Ward in tow by the time the last pod of cars came down pit road.

Save of the Year

Before Herta took the lead from O’Ward on lap five, he pulled off some downright voodoo magic to not spin in the late part of the infield section. No hyperbole, Herta drifted through an entire corner and somehow was able to keep it straight. Not only that but took the lead one (1) corner later. If it was not clear by this point, Herta is already in the wheelman club. He also got a break with a caution, due to Palou stalling his No. 10 car after making back from the grass to the pavement after a spin.

Newgarden and VeeKay Wreck

Saturday was not the day Newgarden and his Team Penske crew were hoping for. After some contact with Alexander Rossi and then Jack Harvey sent him spinning off into the middle of oval turns one and two and effectively ended his day. Hard to fault any one driver in the incident given it was basically three-wide when the main point of contact happened. On the flipside, Newgarden is the only one who suffered from it.

On the ensuing restart, VeeKay got forced into the grass by Callum Ilott coming out of turn two. The Dutchman was able to get back on track, sideways albeit, and was clobbered by Devlin DeFrancesco, who had nowhere to go. The good news way that VeeKay’s ECR machine was still able to continue as is, despite the t-bone collision with DeFrancesco.

Running Clock and Spinning Under Yellow

It became apparent that this race was going to end under the two-hour time constraint rather than the 85 scheduled laps. When the broadcast switched over to the countdown clock, it was just around 20 minutes left for the day. What didn’t help things were a pair of top five drivers spinning under caution. First, it was Scott McLaughin, who at the time was running second. Then later on it was O’Ward who took a spin, leading to an on-air expletive from his team. Gotta be on top of the bleep out with that seven-second delay.

Yellow and Checkereds

Despite the race ending under a full course yellow, the result would not have been different on Saturday. This was as good a win as Herta has had in his short IndyCar career. He led 50-of 75 laps, and had to wrestle with a wet track and slick tires multiple times. This comes at a big-time as well, as Herta entered this weekend running on three straight finishes outside of the top nine, including a 23rd at Long Beach. Now entering the Indianapolis 500, Herta is sixth in points.

IndyCar GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis Top 10

1st No. 26 Colton Herta

2nd No. 60 Simon Pagenaud

3rd No. 12 Will Power

4th No. 8 Marcus Ericsson

5th No. 20 Conor Daly

6th No. 7 Felix Rosenqvist

7th No. 51 Takuma Sato

8th No. 77 Callum Ilott

9th No. 33 Christian Lungaard

10th No. 9 Scott Dixon

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images 

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