Updated: Mar 8, 2022
Via IndyCar on Twitter
After Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing took home the Astor Cup in 2021. The NTT IndyCar Series comes into 2022 with a full head of steam in momentum. With one of the most exciting and competitive rookie classes the series has had in years. New faces in new places and a seven-time NASCAR champion attempting to make his first Indianapolis 500. In the article, you will read about all the changes to all the teams competing in full-time competition along with the full schedule that will make drivers and teams defy everything.
AJ Foyt Racing:
For 2022, Dalton Kellett returns as the elder statesman in the AJ Foyt Racing lineup. His best performances came on oval with his best run coming last summer at Gateway with a 12th place finish. Joining him as the only other full-time driver on the team is Kyle Kirkwood, who is replacing the departing Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 14 ROKit Chevrolet. Kirkwood is the only driver in IndyCar history to win in all three levels of the Road to Indy program, taking a USF2000, Indy Pro 2000, and Indy Lights championship in consecutive years. No other rookie in the series has as much hype as Kyle Kirkwood this year. Rounding out the team is fellow rookie Tatiana Calderon. She is a 28-year-old Colombian driver who has competed in the Super Formula series in Japan. She will only compete on the road and street course races in 2021.
Arrow McLaren SP:
Pato O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist return to Arrow McLaren SP after a fantastic season in 2021. For O'Ward, who earned his first oval and road course wins in 2021, led the point standings twice during the year is a returning championship favorite for 2022. Rosenqvist showed flashes of brilliance last year followed by some horrible luck and a nasty accident at the second race of the Grand Prix of Detroit doubleheader last year that made him miss the next two races. Joining them again for the Indianapolis 500 is former champion Juan Pablo Montoya who finished ninth in last year's race.
Colton Herta was the shining star last year in one of the most popular teams in the paddock, with three wins and three P1 awards in 2021. Look for him to try and be more consistent throughout the year that will leave him in championship contention at Laguna Seca. The only other returning driver to Andretti is former Indianapolis 500 winner, Alexander Rossi. By most accounts, Rossi was the least impressive of the two returning by only having two top-six finishes last year. With reports of animosity between Rossi and Andretti, look for him to be a top free agent driver in 2023. Joining them are two new drivers to round out the four-car stable. Romain Grosjean takes over the No. 28 DHL Honda in a full-time ride. Grosjean certainly looked competitive during the season and will be attempting to qualify for his first Indy 500. Devlin DeFrancesco joins the team as a rookie, he made noise in Indy Lights last year having nine top-five finishes in twenty races.
Chip Ganassi Racing:
Chip Ganassi Racing took home its 14th IndyCar Series championship in 2021. Was it Scott Dixon? No, it was Alex Palou shocking the IndyCar world. The team remains unchanged moving into this season as all four drivers will be running a full-time season. Three of the four drivers all scored multiple wins in 2021 and placed themselves as the team to beat in 2022. For Jimmie Johnson, who showed improvement as the season winded down, will attempt a full schedule this year in the series and join Romain Grosjean as a pair who will make headlines during the Month of May
Dale Coyne Racing:
No team in the paddock has undergone as many changes as Dale Conye Racing for 2022. Romain Grosjean has departed the team and former Indy 500 champion Takuma Sato will pilot the No. 51 NURTEC ODT Dale Conye Racing with RWR Honda. Redemption will be the name of the game for Sato as he will attempt to win a race which he failed to do so last year. Which also marks the first year since 2016 that Sato failed to sit atop the podium on a given race weekend. Joining Sato is another rookie in David Malukas who is replacing Ed Jones in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports Honda. Malukas was another headlining driver in Indy Lights last year taking ten victories in the twenty-race season last year. Malukas only finished 13 points behind Kirkwood in the championship standings and had an average starting position of 2.0.
Ed Carpenter Racing:
Rinus Veekay brought the Indiana team to victory lane at the GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis last year and followed that up with a front-row start in the Indy 500. Conor Daly and Ed Carpenter shared the No. 20 ride last year. This year, Connor Daly gets the full-time driver duties as Veekay will share a ride with Ed Carpenter. As the team hopes to field three entries into the 500, but nothing is set in stone as of now.
2021 was not much to write home about as the team debuted at the Grand Prix of Portland late last year. Callum Ilott, who is a current member of the Ferrari Driver Academy is on tap to run full time in 2022. The team has rebranded itself with color changes and staff changes.
Meyer Shank Racing:
Helio Castroneves won his fourth Indy 500. That's it really for 2021. Jack Harvey departed the team late last year. In his place is Simon Pagenaud in the No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda. This is Castroneves first full-time season since 2017, Pagenaud was his Team Penske teammate at the time. Expectation of this team are high, especially when the Month of May rolls around. But look for these two to be championship contenders throughout the 2022 season. If Helio wins a race in 2022, it will break a tie with Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti with all-time wins in the series, moving him to tenth place.
Newgarden, Power, and 2021 Rookie of the Year Scott McLaughlin return to Team Penske in 2022. For Newgarden, he was only 38 points away from clinching his third series title after taking two wins last year. For Will Power, who took a win at the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix had a very up and down season last year. With that being the high point of his campaign and the ECU melting in the Michigan heat at the Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle. Scott McLaughlin's finishes at Texas and Gateway propelled him to a Rookie of the Year title, finishing one place ahead of Romain Grosjean in the series standings. After five years of having a four-car team, Team Penske has downsized entries to three for 2022.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing:
Graham Rahal is the only returning driver to the three-car team this year. In 2021, Rahal finished seventh in the standings at the end of the year and season was highlighted by top-five finishes at Texas. Joining him this year is Jack Harvey, who moved from Meyer Shank and will now drive the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda piloted last year by Santino Ferrucci. Christian Lundgaard made his debut last year by qualifying fourth at the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix at Indy last year. He will round out the team as the third full-time driver for the organization.
2022 Race Schedule:
February 27th: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg - 12:00 P.M. Est on NBC
March 20th: XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway - 12:30 P.M. EST on NBC
April 10th: Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach - 3:00 P.M. EST on NBC
May 1st: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama - 12:30 P.M. EST on NBC
May 14th: GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis - 3:00 P.M. EST on NBC
May 29th: The 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 - 11:00 A.M. on NBC
June 5th: Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix - 3:00 P.M. EST on USA
June 12th: Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America - 12:30 P.M. EST on NBC
July 3rd: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio - 12:00 P.M. EST on NBC
July 17th: Honda Indy Toronto - 3:00 P.M. EST on Peacock
July 23rd: Hy-Vee 250 at Iowa Speedway - 4:00 P.M. EST on NBC
July 24th: Hy-Vee 300 at Iowa Speedway - 3:00 P.M. EST on NBC
July 30th: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course - 12:00 P.M. EST on NBC
August 7th: Big Machine Music City Grand Prix - 3:00 P.M. EST on NBC
August 20th: Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway - 6:00 P.M. EST on USA
September 4th: Grand Prix of Portland - 3:00 P.M. EST on NBC
September 11th: Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey - 3:00 P.M. EST on NBC
For all IndyCar Series Practice, Qualifying, and Warm-Ups. Viewers will see them on NBC's streaming service, Peacock.
For more news, race analysis, and other IndyCar stories throughout 2022, you can read it all right here on Racing Refresh. Follow me on Twitter @TheCollinBest.