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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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A Slanted Screen and a Championship Clinched on Friday at Portland

 

Josef Newgarden practicing ahead of the 2022 Grand Prix of Portland.
Josef Newgarden practicing ahead of the 2022 Grand Prix of Portland. Photo courtesy of James Black/Penske Entertainment.

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PORTLAND, Oregon — The penultimate race of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season had a full day of on-track action on Friday. Here’s a recap of Friday’s activity at Portland International Raceway ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland.

Screen time

The lone practice session for IndyCar drivers was delayed when the large video board on the main straightaway had what appeared to be a hydraulic failure, tilting precariously closely to the race track.

IndyCar race control halted the session immediately with the red flag. After securing the screen, IndyCar resumed the session after a one hour and 21 minute delay. The session delay caused a shuffling of track activity after the IndyCar practice.

Newgarden’s Challenge

IndyCar announced a six grid position penalty for Newgarden after the two-time IndyCar champion had his Chevrolet engine changed before completing a full season’s worth of miles with his four allotted engines.

The Tennessee native responded by pacing the opening practice session around the 12-turn, 1.964-mile road course. The No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet turned a fastest lap of 58.5769 seconds to average 120.703 mph.

Newgarden is only three points behind series points leader Will Power, so qualifying as high as possible will reduce the impact of the six position penalty. A driver has won at Portland from 10th or lower on the grid four times (Al Unser Jr. from 10th in 1984, Mark Blundell from 11th in 1997, Cristiano da Matta from 10th in 2005 and Takuma Sato from 20th in 2018), so advancing to the final round of qualifying will be critical for the most recent IndyCar race winner.

Foster’s: English for Champion

The Indy Pro 2000 championship was almost entirely wrapped up heading to the west coast. Louis Foster needed to only finish 11th in one of the three races.

The British driver won and finished second in Friday’s races.

Foster wins a scholarship check of at least $614,425 to move up to the top step of the Road to Indy. That check comes on the back of seven race wins and 14 top-four finishes in the first 17 of 18 races.

Reece Gold is second in points, 77 behind Foster while Enaam Ahmed is 39 points behind Gold.

Rowe Rowe Rowe Your Title Battle

The USF2000 series points battle is incredibly close after two of the three races of the weekend. Myles Rowe had a 23-point lead going into the weekend over Michael d’Orlando.

In race one, Rowe was in second place when Nikita Johnson attempted a pass going into Turn 9 with five laps to go in the race. Rowe lost control of his car as he entered the Turns 9-10 chicane, his car going through the grass to the service road. Rowe got back to the track in 11th, recovering one position to finish 10th.

Jace Denmark was third in points and won the first race while d’Orlando finished seventh.

At the start of the race, Rowe missed his braking point going to Turn 1, hitting Denmark before the first corner. Denmark lost his rear wing while Rowe no longer had a front wing. Denmark finished 18th, three positions behind Rowe, while d’Orlando finished fourth.

Rowe holds a six point lead over Denmark who is one point ahead of d’Orlando with one race remaining.

Saturday’s on-track activity starts with IndyCar practice at 9:00 a.m. PT on Peacock.

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