2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES team previews

Editor’s Note: This is the final day of a four-day series of 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES team previews. Today’s rollout will feature Ed Carpenter Racing at 10 a.m. (ET) and Chip Ganassi Racing at 2 p.m. Click here for Wednesday’s previews, here for Thursday’s previews and here for Friday’s previews.


Starting Lineup: Alex Palou (No. 10 NTT DATA Honda), Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Honda), Marcus Ericsson (No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Carvana Honda), Tony Kanaan (No. TBD The American Legion Honda for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge).

Chip Ganassi Racing2021 in Review: It was a dynamite season for Chip Ganassi’s organization, which won its 14th INDYCAR season championship, although many were surprised that it was Palou capturing the Astor Cup rather than Dixon, a six-time series champion. Dixon finished fourth in the standings with Ericsson sixth. Palou got rolling quickly with a victory in the first race (at Barber Motorsports Park), and he barely looked back. He led after 11 of the 16 races, won a series-leading three times (tied with Colton Herta) and had the most top-five finishes (10). Ericsson added wins on street circuits in Detroit and Nashville, and Dixon won at Texas Motor Speedway to set an INDYCAR record for most seasons overall with a victory (19) -- 17 of those have come in succession, extending his series record. Palou and Dixon each led eight races, tied for the most in the series. Dixon led the most laps in the series during the season (401). Johnson also got his first taste of INDYCAR, competing in 12 races. The team also was strong in the “500,” with Dixon winning the NTT P1 Award for the fourth time in his career. Palou led 35 laps and finished second to Helio Castroneves. Kanaan joined Palou in the top 10. Ericsson finished 11th.

New for ’22: Johnson trying his hand at INDYCAR’s oval tracks, especially Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he won four times in NASCAR, is the most significant change.

Keep an Eye on This: Dixon still only needs one win to tie Mario Andretti for second place on INDYCAR’s all-time wins list. History suggests he’ll get it. In addition to having won races in each of the past 17 seasons, Dixon has won at nine of the 15 venues where INDYCAR races will be contested this year.

Little-Known Fact: Johnson is truly an oval-track expert. Eighty-two of his 83 wins in NASCAR’s Cup Series came on oval tracks. He also won four oval-track NASCAR All-Star races, plus one oval race in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series, two in the American Speed Association and one in the International Race of Champions (at IMS).

Defy Everything: Most athletes have a period of uncertainty in their careers. Palou said his came following the 2016 season after he finished a disappointing 15th in Europe’s GP3 series. “It didn’t go well,” he said. “It was in January and February (in 2017) without a job. I didn’t have a seat and thought I would have to go back to karting. At that point, it was like the end of the world and your dream of being a professional race car driver was over. Then, suddenly, I got an opportunity to drive in Japan.” Palou won three races and five poles that year in the Japanese Formula 3 Series. That’s when opportunities began to present themselves to him, and within three years he was in INDYCAR.


Starting Lineup: Conor Daly (No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet), Rinus VeeKay (No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek Chevrolet), Ed Carpenter (No. TBD Chevrolet).

Ed Carpenter Racing2021 in Review: VeeKay highlighted the season with a victory in the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He qualified seventh and took the lead on Lap 48 of 85, pacing 33 of the final 38 laps for his first win in the series. VeeKay followed that performance with a front-row qualifying position for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge – he started third – and led 32 laps before finishing a career-best eighth. He then finished second in the first of two Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix races. A broken collarbone from a June cycling accident sidelined him for the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America, but he returned to action two weeks later at the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Daly and Carpenter shared the team’s No. 20 car throughout the season. Carpenter drove it in the “500,” finishing fifth. Daly had his best Indy 500 yet, leading a race-high 40 laps before his No. 47 car was struck by debris from Graham Rahal’s wall contact in Turn 2.

New for ’22: Daly is full time in the No. 20 car as Carpenter’s season only includes the ‘500” – at least for now. Carpenter hopes to again compete on the other oval tracks (Texas Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway).

Keep an Eye on This: Daly has competed in 80 INDYCAR races over eight seasons for seven teams, but this will be the first time since 2017 that he is scheduled to be with the same team all season.

Little-Known Fact: ECR certainly knows how to qualify for the “500.” Carpenter has won three of the past nine NTT P1 Awards at IMS and has started on the front row five times since 2013. In the past nine years, nearly 20 percent of the Firestone Fast Nine qualifiers have come from this team (16 of 81), and that’s with seven different drivers. Among them are front-row starts for Josef Newgarden (2016), Spencer Pigot (2019) and VeeKay (2021). Also, ECR is riding a streak of nine consecutive years with at least one top-nine qualifier, and twice it has had three cars in that group. Last year it had two (Carpenter and VeeKay).

Defy Everything: VeeKay thrives on stalking opponents on the racetrack. “Everyone knows I like to pass people, and I’m pretty good at it,” he said. “It’s the reputation that I wanted to have. So, when I’m behind another guy they think: ‘&%@*, that’s Rinus. Oh, no!’ I’m happy with that.”