5 drivers head to Laguna Seca with a championship still in sight

7 drivers entered, 5 still have a shot at a title next Sunday. The only 2 drivers mathematically eliminated was Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward who are 66 and 67 points back respectively. Still there are 5 more in front of them with championships on their mind.

3 of the 5 have more of a realistic shot to where Marcus Ericsson (-39) and Scott McLaughlin (-41) have to realistically win.

Ericsson hasn’t had a top 5 in any of the last 6 races on the season. McLaughlin has 5 straight top 4’s including 4 podiums. It may be difficult to make up that much ground by doing the same thing that he’s done over the last couple of months though.

Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden are each 20 points behind with Newgarden having 3 top 6’s in his last 4 races including a series best 5 wins this season. Dixon has 6 top 5’s over the last 8 races.

Will Power leads all and has 5 top 6’s, including 4 on the podium in the last 6 starts.

For Palou, Portland is a place to where he qualified on the pole and won at last year but eliminated him this year. He’s not won since here last year which has him on the verge of becoming just the 2nd winless defending series champion since 1997.

You have to wonder how much this contract saga has weighed on that. He had 3 podiums in the first 4 races run on the season which had him in the points lead entering the Month of May at Indy. That’s the point that it sounds like Chip Ganassi Racing found out he was wanting to go to McLaren.

In the last 12 races since then, he’s had just 2 podiums. While he’s had 8 top 10’s in that span, the difference in a top 10 compared to a podium could be tied down to the drama surrounding him and his future.

We know access to some areas have been cut off to him and in an era to where the smallest of details can affect a win from a top 20, maybe that little bit has kept him from victory lane and in turn…a championship.

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