TRACK: Barber Motorsports Park (2.38-mile, 16-turn road course), DISTANCE: 90 Laps (214.2 Miles)
Coverage: 1 p.m. ET
Command: 1:08 p.m. ET
Green Flag: 1:15 p.m. ET
Radio: INDYCAR Radio Network (Sirius 160, local affiliates here)
Phone: INDYCAR App
Track: Barber Motorsports Park
Distance: 90 Laps/214.2 Miles
Weather: mid 70s, 40-50% chance of rain
Well, you first have to start by finding the winner from the top 5 Rows. Everyone that qualified from 11th on back is just hoping for a podium. That’s because all 11 races at the Barber Motorsports Park have been won from a driver coming from a top 10 starting spot. Furthermore, 37 of the last 39 races on natural road courses have been won from a top 10 starter.
That means the winner is likely coming from Rinus VeeKay, Pato O’Ward, Alex Palou, Scott McLaughlin, Alexander Rossi, Felix Rosenqvist, Josef Newgarden, Romain Grosjean, Graham Rahal or Colton Herta.
However, you may want to break it down to those who made the Firestone Fast Six. 9 of the 11 INDYCAR races at Barber has been won by a top five starter. Also, 10 of the last 11 races on natural road courses were won by someone from the Fast 6 including 9 of those being on the front row. The pole winner has won this race in 3 of the last 5 years.
VeeKay, O’Ward, Palou, McLaughlin and Rossi are your ones.
Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing have also combined to have the entire top 5 in points at the moment and have combined to have taken 8 of the 9 podium spots available thus far during the 2022 season. They also swept the entire top 7 in the final finishing order in Texas and then the next time up, took 3 of the top 4 in Long Beach including 4 of the top 6 overall.
On top of that, the icing on the cake is the fact that both Penske and Ganassi have also combined to win nine straight series titles including 13 of the last 14 in general.
Since the start of the 2019 season, Penske has won 22 times. Ganassi is behind them at 13. Andretti is third, but they have just six trips to victory lane in that span. Ganassi has more than doubled Andretti which is a large gap now between second and third.
Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing is fourth with three victories, so half of Andretti’s total which honestly may have Andretti in third all by themselves. But, if you go in the Aeroscreen era (2020-present) Andretti has four wins with Arrow McLaren SP with two. Penske has 13 and Ganassi 11.
They’ve combined to win 5 of the last 6 at Barber…
Palou has 2 podiums in 3 starts this season and won this race last year. In fact, all 3 of his wins came on natural terrain tracks. He’ll have to hold off Newgarden though who’s won in each of the last two races of the season on two different types of tracks.
Newgarden already has won this season on an oval (Texas Motor Speedway) and a street circuit (Long Beach). His first opportunity for a road course victory comes at the next event, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst on May 1 at Barber Motorsports Park, where he has three career INDYCAR SERIES victories (2015, 2017, 2018).
He and Palou have won 3 of the last 4 in Barber.
Will Power has 3 straight top 4 finishes to start the season off with. Last time he did that, he won the championship in 2014. He has seven top fives in his last eight Barber starts but only starts 19th.
So, who wins?
VeeKay didn’t win the last time he started on the pole. O’Ward is 0-for-5 in terms of race wins while starting on the front row. Palou, won from 3rd last year while Newgarden won from 7th in 2017. He also started 7th and won at Texas a couple of races ago too…
- 10 Palou – Numbers are on his side.
- 2 Newgarden – Why not have the top 2 drivers battle for it again
- 3 McLaughlin – Was in the top 6 in all 3 practice sessions (5th, 4th, 6th) and starts 4th.
- 21 VeeKay – Was 10th, 1st and 20th in practice this weekend.
- 5 O’Ward – While he’s never won from the front row, he has finished in the top 5 in all 5 tries too.