Who wins Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland (3 p.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network)

The 16th round of the 2022 NTT INDYCAR Series season is here. Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland (3 p.m. ET, NBC, IndyCar Radio Network) is upon us. 7 drivers enter mathematically alive to win the Astor Cup championship trophy next weekend in Laguna Seca. However, how many are left leaving here this weekend?

It all comes down to qualifying on Saturday afternoon. 21 of the 23 INDYCAR races at Portland were won by a top 5 starter including 10 of the last 11 from the top 3 at that.

On natural road courses in general, there’s a 95% chance the winner comes from the top 10 as they’ve won 42 of the last 44 of them. In all actuality, that trend is for the Fast 6 too with 88% of the last 16 races on them have been won by a Fast 6 qualifier. 89% though from the front row (8 of the last 9).

On the season, 12 of the 15 races were won by a top 7 starter including 7 of the last 8 at that. The only 3 not?

The rain in Indy for the GMR Grand Prix and 2 street course races at Belle Isle and Nashville.

So I think you can really narrow down Sunday’s race winner to the Fast 6 and even narrow it down further from there to the bigger teams.

In 2020, Penske and Ganassi each won three times on these types of circuits including all three at IMS. Andretti Autosport won the other that year in Mid-Ohio.

In 2021, Ganassi won three times (Barber, Road America, Portland), Penske twice (Indy, Mid-Ohio), Ed Carpenter Racing once (Indy) and Andretti Autosport once (Laguna Seca) themselves.

So far this season, we’ve had five races on a natural road courses (Barber, Indy (twice), Road America and Mid-Ohio) with 5 different winners from 3 different organizations winning (AMSP, Andretti, Penske).

That’s 19 natural road course races during this Aeroscreen era with Penske winning 7 times, Ganassi 6, Andretti Autosport four times and ECR/AMSP once each.

Picks:

  1. 12 Power – He started 2nd and won here in 2019. 5 of the last 8 races on the season were won via the 2nd starting spot.
  2. 3 McLaughlin – the pole winner has finished 2nd in 2 of the last 4 races and 3 of the last 6. They’ve also podiumed in 5 of the last 8 at that. So while a pole winner hasn’t won a race since McLaughlin did in the season opener, I do think he gets a podium on Sunday.
  3. 10 Palou – He won from the pole last year and had a podium 2 races ago in Nashville. He starts 4th.
  4. 26 Herta – These are good tracks for him and he was in the top 5 in both practice sessions this weekend.
  5. 30 Lundgaard – A solid weekend ends with a top 5 for the rookie driver.

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