Team Penske will not seek to keep its former No. 22 Chevy entry piloted by Simon Pagenaud in motion with a different driver next season. Although the reduction from four cars to three was not unanticipated, the change represents one of the few instances of downsizing expected within the NTT IndyCar Series paddock for 2022.
“We’ll be three cars,” Roger Penske told RACER. “And we’ve taken the people that we’ve had to run the car and they’re sprinkled within the existing team and also getting prepared to run the Penske Porsche Motorsports cars, for sure.”
Having signed to run Porsche’s factory LMDh prototype effort in IMSA and the FIA World Endurance Championship, Penske’s need for turnkey staff with the sports car program made trimming its IndyCar program an easy call.
It leaves 2017 and 2019 IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden, 2014 IndyCar champion Will Power, and 2021 Rookie of the Year Scott McLaughlin as the trio to pursue another title and the Indy 500 when the new season starts in February.
Penske also confirmed he has no plans “at this time” to add a fourth car for the Speedway in May, and says the team parted ways with Pagenaud on good terms after seven years.
“Simon’s contract was up, we talked to him about coming over and joining us in sports cars, but he said, ‘Look, I’d like to see what’s out there from an IndyCar perspective,’ and found something with the Meyer Shank team.”
“We said, ‘Hey, we’re great friends, you’ve done a terrific job, and we’re not hiring anybody else. This isn’t a situation where you haven’t done a super job.’ And he was able to find something good for him and the timing was right for him, and so we’ll run three cars next year.”