Heading into this Sunday’s IndyCar championship finale at Laguna Seca, five different drivers are still eligible to take the Astor Cup: Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, and Scott McLaughlin. Some drivers are farther back than others, so we’re going to give you a quick rundown of what each driver needs to do — and what they need their competitors to do — in order to call themselves the 2022 IndyCar Series champion.
Will Power: 523 Points
To win the championship on Sunday, Power needs to finish the finale in third place; it won’t matter what any of his other competitors manage to accomplish if that’s the case. If Newgarden and Dixon finish third or lower, Power can still win, even if he places 14th.
While it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to expect Power to sweep the weekend, a dominant performance in IndyCar can often be easier said than done. Power has been consistent all year long, but in the competitive IndyCar field, just one mistake could leave his competition nipping at his heels.
Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon: 503 Points
Power’s Penske teammate Josef Newgarden is currently tied for second in the championship alongside Scott Dixon. As mentioned above, even a perfect weekend — meaning pole position, race win, and fastest lap — wouldn’t be enough to pip victory from Power if he took a podium position. They’d have to win and hope Power finishes fourth or lower.
It’s not impossible for either driver; both are more than capable of showing a mad display of dominance. However, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility.
Marcus Ericsson: 484 Points
Marcus Ericsson held the lead of the IndyCar championship for a while after his Indy 500 victory, but Ericsson is now sitting quite far from championship contention. For him to take the championship, he’d have to win the race and hope Power scores 19th or lower, at which point they’d be tied, but Ericsson would win the championship via countback thanks to that 500 win. Additionally, Newgarden and Dixon would have to finish fifth or lower. If McLaughlin wins, though, even a second place won’t get the job done for Ericsson.
It’s very much a long shot for Ericsson, who has been a consistent but unremarkable points-scorer this year; expecting him to pull out a stunning performance would likely be too much.
Scott McLaughlin: 482 Points
Our final championship contender is Scott McLaughlin, who’s currently in a win-or-bust situation — one where he’d also have to count on disaster striking down everyone else in front of him. In this scenario Power would have to finish 22nd or lower while Dixon and Newgarden would have to finish sixth or lower.