Written by Gabe Perrin, Edited by Alexandra Campos
The conclusion of last Sunday’s race brought the 2022 IndyCar Series season to its halfway point, and somehow there is no clear frontrunner in the championship fight. IndyCar, a series that has long marketed itself as the world’s most diverse and competitive racing series, is showing exactly that with nine different polesitters in nine races to go along with six unique race winners. With eight races left on the schedule, it is the Indianapolis 500 champion Marcus Ericsson who sits atop the championship standings, but he is closely followed behind by some of the series’ most talented drivers, including the likes of Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Alex Palou, and Pato O’Ward.
It is understandably difficult to get a true bearing on who has the upper hand at any given time in IndyCar, so that is why I am here today to hand down my IndyCar midseason power rankings.
10: David Malukas - Dale Coyne Racing
While this ranking may come as a bit of a surprise to some, the rookie from Chicago has completely outdriven the car that he is in this year. While Malukas is a few points behind veteran teammate Takuma Sato in the standings, he has truly impressed with both qualifying and race results. Malukas has especially impressed with his 16th place finish at the Indianapolis 500, his mega qualifying run to start sixth in Detroit, and his first top 10 on Sunday at Mid-Ohio.
9: Felix Rosenqvist - Arrow McLaren SP
The Swede, who is now in his fourth year in the IndyCar Series, had a shaky start to the season, but he recovered at Indianapolis, and has been on quite a run ever since. Barring last weekend’s mechanical failure at Mid-Ohio, Rosenqvist's last finish outside of the top 10 was at Barber in early May. Not to mention, the man has been a qualifying wizard, making the fast six in five of the nine races so far.
8: Alexander Rossi - Andretti Autosport
In the past three years, many have doubted and questioned both Rossi’s skill and his luck. Just like Rosenqvist, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner got off to a very slow start with two finishes outside the top 20, but his luck began to improve in the month of May. Propelled by a fifth-place finish at the 500, the 30-year old American missed out on a win by just a second in Detroit, and grabbed his first pole and second podium of the season at Road America.
7: Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi Racing
While eight top 10s is never a bad season for any driver, it may be surprising to six-time series champion Scott Dixon that he only has one podium and no wins on his 2022 campaign considering his record throughout his career. Even without that win, the 19-year series veteran sits at a comfortable sixth in the championship standings. While being 67 points behind the championship leader is never ideal, moments like his record-breaking qualifying run at Indianapolis keep Dixon in the championship fight.
6: Scott McLaughlin - Team Penske
Not many would expect a second-year driver to excel and fight for a championship, especially an Aussie who hasn’t driven open-wheel cars since 2010. However, the 3-time Australian Supercars champion has proven anyone who doubted him wrong with a win from pole at St. Petersburg to kick off 2022. The week after, he dominated Texas until the very last corner where his teammate Josef Newgarden overtook him for the win. Not to mention he is IndyCar’s latest race winner after a dominant win at Mid-Ohio. Sitting at seventh in the standings, the “sophomore” will have to kick it into full gear to catch up to Marcus Ericsson.
5: Pato O’Ward - Arrow McLaren SP
While he has finished near the bottom of the order in the past two races due to mechanical issues, McLaren’s youngest stud is having an otherwise great season in 2022. With his worst qualifying result being 16th at the first race of the season, the young Mexican driver is always an easy bet to be at the front of the pack week in and week out. Although he may sit fifth in the standings, being a three-time race winner at a mere 23 years old is always an advantage for Pato.
4: Alex Palou - Chip Ganassi Racing
The only driver in the top five of the points standings without a race win, the reigning series champion’s consistency has tapered off just slightly in 2022. However, sitting just 35 points back, Palau remains a threat to all of those ahead of him. With an impressive qualifying record, I doubt it will be long before the Spaniard captures his first win of the season. Palau has come close to that win multiple times this season, including St. Petersburg, Barber, and Mid-Ohio.
3: Marcus Ericsson - Chip Ganassi Racing
The Indianapolis 500 winner has been the points leader almost every week since he won that race. Besides that historic win in May, the Swede has had impressive showings at Texas, Detroit, and Road America. However, Ericsson may just have to conjure up some of his street course magic like he did in 2021 to distance himself from his rapidly approaching rivals. With a 20 point lead, Ericsson is probably feeling pretty good about his championship lead.
2: Will Power - Team Penske
With an average finish of sixth, the Toowoomba native has truly shown his card when it comes to consistency in 2022. After his win in Detroit, the 2018 series champion described how his mental state has led to improved results on track, which is evident in his four podiums so far this season. What may be Power’s downfall this season are his qualifying results. As surprising as this is given the Australian’s typical qualifying form throughout his career. But despite a few poor qualifying results as of late, Power only finds himself 20 points behind championship leader Marcus Ericsson.
1: Josef Newgarden - Team Penske
The Tennessee man makes it a Penske one-two in the power rankings, despite being third in the championship standings. While the two-time IndyCar champion hasn’t necessarily impressed in qualifying besides a pole position at Detroit, his race pace is second to none. That is demonstrated with an impressive three race wins through just nine races in the 2022 season. Not to mention, those wins came on an oval, (Texas) a street course, (Long Beach) and a road course. (Road America) With a diverse schedule to end this season, watch out for Josef Newgarden.