ANALYSIS: Absorbing stats from IndyCar 2022

Brett Farmer/Motorsport Images

ANALYSIS: Absorbing stats from IndyCar 2022

IndyCar

ANALYSIS: Absorbing stats from IndyCar 2022

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An assembly of season-ending statistics compiled by the NTT IndyCar Series makes for an interesting look back at a year dominated by Team Penske and Chevrolet.

Every aspect of the 2022 season was heavily influenced by the output from Penske’s champion Will Power, runner-up Josef Newgarden and fourth-place finisher Scott McLaughlin, who was just 12 points shy of giving Roger Penske a 1-2-3 in the drivers’ standings.

LAPS

The first stat of intrigue is found with the 2268 total laps contested among those 12 road and street course races and the five oval contests. Within the pool of full-time drivers, Power and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon were the only ones to complete every lap in every race. That every-lap distinction has happened five times in IndyCar Series history; Dixon has done it twice.

At the opposite end of the full-timers’ tally, A.J. Foyt Racing’s Kyle Kirkwood (1805) and Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay (1890) finished the fewest laps across the IndyCar calendar.

Sticking with laps, Newgarden (527), McLaughlin (433), and Power (335) swept the top 3 for Penske with the most laps led. When combined (1295), Team Penske drivers led more than half (57%) of the laps available in 2022.

Among the other teams, CGR was second on the laps-led list, but it was a far cry from Penske’s achievement. With its five drivers, Dixon (177), Alex Palou (173), Marcus Ericsson (37), Jimmie Johnson (21) and Tony Kanaan (6) came in with about one-third of Penske’s number (414), and a notably smaller share of the 2268 laps (18%).

Power led the way in qualifying on his way to the new all-time pole total, while teammate Newgarden topped the winners’ total. Phillip Abbott/Motorsport Images

QUALIFYING

Team Penske were the kings of single-lap pace as well with Power (5) and McLaughlin (3) ranking first and second in poles. In an interesting twist, Newgarden was the least effective member of the trio when it was time to set the grid, scoring a single pole. Together, Penske’s drivers took nine of 17 poles (53%). And with Power’s run to P1 in Monterey, he took sole possession of first on the all-time list (68), eclipsing Mario Andretti’s record (67) which was reached 29 years, one month, and 10 days prior.

Andretti’s 67th pole was achieved at the age of 53 at Michigan Speedway; Power was 41 during his record-breaking run at Laguna Seca. Power also added to his streak by earning at least one pole over 14 straight seasons. In another nod to history, the 2022 season produced nine different pole winners, the most since 1961.

Among engine manufacturers, Chevy (13) ran away from Honda (4) in qualifying.

WINS

Although Newgarden was an infrequent polesitter, he led the series with wins (5) and spearheaded Penske’s ownership of this category. Like their nine combined poles, teammate McLaughlin (3) and Power (1) helped Penske to amass more wins than any other team (9) with the same haul on total victories (53%).

Looking to the makers of IndyCar’s 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6 engines, Chevy used its season-long edge to lead with wins (11) and beat Honda (6) to the manufacturers’ championship for the first time since 2017. Among the Chevy-powered drivers, three won multiple races for the brand (Newgarden, McLaughlin, O’Ward) while only Dixon won more than once for Honda.

Those two wins for Dixon allowed him to pass Mario Andretti for second on the all-time win list (53), extended his unbroken streak of winning at least once in each of the last 18 seasons, and while they aren’t consecutive, Dixon has won at least once in 20 of his 23 IndyCar championship runs.

Dixon’s consistency served him well once again, while he and Chip Ganassi Racing rose to the occasion in chaotic street races like Nashville. Phillip Abbott/Motorsport Images

FINISHES

When it came to consistency and quality finishing positions, CGR held an edge over Penske with Dixon claiming first on the list of top-10 finishes (15) with teammate Palou and Power tied for second (13). Ericsson, McLaughlin and Newgarden were tied for third (12).

By further refining the list to top 5s, the path to Power’s championship is made evident as he led the category (12) by a healthy margin over Dixon (9). Three drivers were tied for third with McLaughlin, Newgarden, and Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward (8).

It was another Penske 1-2-3 in races led with Newgarden and Power (10) and McLaughlin (8) flexing their muscles. Of all the stat categories, this is the one where AMSP made its presence felt with O’Ward (7) and teammate Felix Rosenqvist (6) combining to hold second among teams. Palou was the only CGR driver in the mix (7).

BONUS POINTS

Some drivers were particularly adept at earning bonus points throughout the season. With a point for pole, a point for leading a lap, and two points on offer for whomever led the most laps at each race, plus the recent introduction of Indy 500 qualifying points for those in the Fast 12, Penske’s drivers and their remarkable performances with winning more poles and leading more laps would lead one to expect Power, Newgarden, or McLaughlin to rank first in the bonus-point category, but Ganassi’s Palou was the surprise leader (22). Power and Dixon (21) tied for second.

Among the bonus-point outliers, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay (18) and his boss Ed Carpenter (10) were solid earners in this area thanks to their strong Indy 500 qualifying efforts.

If you like passes, IndyCar gave you a lot to love in 2022. Phillip Abbott/Motorsport Images

PASSES

Passing skyrocketed last season. In 2021, 3526 passes were registered. That number leapt to 5881 in 2022, making for a giant year-to-year increase (67%) and the highest amount of passes since IndyCar introduced its UAK18 aero kit in 2018.

INDY 500

Speed was on display at the 106th running of the “Greatest Spectacle In Racing.” Dixon’s pole speed average was the fastest in history (234.046mph), eclipsing the late Scott Brayton’s pole speed record (233.718mph) that stood since 1996. Although it wasn’t for pole due to the run taking place on the second day of time trials in 1996, Arie Luyendyk continues to hold the all-time four-lap average at Indy (236.986mph).

Returning to 2022, the average speed of the front row was the fastest in history (233.643mph), and the same was true for the fastest average speed for the field of 33 starters (231.023 mph), which rose from the previous record set in 2021 (230.294mph).

The influence of the American open-wheel training ladder was undeniable at Indy as 20 of the 33 starters (61%) hailed from the Indy Lights series presented by Cooper Tires (Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, Helio Castroneves, Conor Daly, Devlin DeFrancesco, Scott Dixon, Jack Harvey, Colton Herta, JR Hildebrand, Tony Kanaan, Sage Karam, Dalton Kellett, Kyle Kirkwood, David Malukas, Josef Newgarden, Pato O’Ward, Graham Rahal, Felix Rosenqvist, Rinus VeeKay, and Stefan Wilson).

A WEIRD ONE TO CLOSE

An odd stat was produced at the Indianapolis 500 by one-off drivers who were born in Nazareth, Pennsylvania as a pair of hometown products swapped beginnings and ends at the Speedway: Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti started 23rd and finished 22nd while fellow Nazarene Sage Karam of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing started 22nd and finished 23rd.

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