Written by Danny Jones, Edited by Sasha Macmillen
The incredible ending to the XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway feels like days ago, but IndyCar is already back for its 2nd most famous race around the Streets of Long Beach. Long Beach returns to its traditional April event, after hosting the championship finale last year, where Alex Palou won his first championship, after Pato O’Ward was dramatically spun out by Ed Jones on the first lap.
Scott McLaughlin heads into Long Beach as the championship leader, and would have had a perfect start to the season, if it wasn’t for Josef Newgarden pipping the Kiwi on the line at Texas by 0.06 seconds. However, McLaughlin’s win in St. Petersburg puts him a hefty 28 points ahead of Will Power in second, with reigning champion, Alex Palou, a further 2 points adrift.
Colton Herta will head into the weekend as the favourite, after the Californian absolutely dominated the event last year. It will be an important event for Herta after his lacklustre start to the season, finishing 4th and 12th in St. Petersburg and Texas respectively. Alexander Rossi is the other current driver particularly successful round the streets, picking up wins in 2018 and 2019. After Rossi’s last two horrific seasons and a dismal start to 2022, he will be hoping to turn his fortunes around at a track he is traditionally good at.
Pato O’Ward will also be looking to turn his fortunes around. The Mexican headed into the season as one of the main championship contenders, but hasn’t really got his season going yet, with a 12th and 15th in the first 2 races of the season.
Jack Harvey looks set to return to the grid after his heavy crash at Texas meant he was replaced by Santino Ferrucci, and Tatiana Calderon will have control of the #11, after opting out of oval events in 2022, and was replaced by J.R. Hildebrand for Texas.
All 6 of the 2022 rookies will be preparing for their first outing at Long Beach, a circuit with a mix of high speed down the iconic Shoreline Drive, and a mix of tight twisty corners, the ultimate challenge for an IndyCar Rookie.
Long Beach is always one of the most special IndyCar events of the season, and in the epic fashion this season has started, 2022’s event looks to be no different.