PRUETT: The IndyCar points picture with two to go


 After a surprisingly early start to the season on February 27 at St. Petersburg, we’re now within two weeks of knowing who will be crowned as the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series champion.

Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland will likely remove a few of the seven drivers who enter the race with realistic chances of winning the title. Take one look at the Turn 1 chicane, recall all of the carnage it has created throughout the years, and it’s easy to imagine one or more of the title contenders being taken out on the way in or on the way out of the corner complex. Anxious times.

The main contenders, led by Team Penske’s Will Power (482 points), Penske’s Josef Newgarden (-3 points), Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon (-14) and teammate Marcus Ericsson (-17), all sit within a manageable distance of each other, with Power’s razor-thin lead providing the 2014 IndyCar champion absolutely no comfort.

That 19-point gain by Newgarden is the also the main reason why Dixon (-14) and Ericsson (-17) really need something grand to happen at Portland. Making considerable headway in the standings with this group is a tough slog, and with only two races left to climb the ladder to IndyCar’s Astor Cup, all the hardcore contenders are feeling the pressure to deliver a knockout to their rivals this weekend.

Turn 1, Lap 1, could be where the first big championship punch is delivered.

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