Note: The editorial staff at INDYCAR.com is taking a look back at the 10 biggest moments of 2022 in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and INDY NXT by Firestone in this year-end series, with one installment appearing on the site per day in countdown fashion from Dec. 22-31.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is experiencing another set of glory days.
Before our eyes, the drivers competing full time in the 2022 season took steps toward cementing their legacy among the all-time greats of the sport.
A year after Helio Castroneves won a record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, Will Power set the record for the most poles in series history, and Scott Dixon moved into second place in career race victories.
Dixon tied Mario Andretti’s mark of 52 race wins July 17 by capturing the Honda Indy Toronto in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Dixon’s 53rd win came four races later in the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville. A.J. Foyt holds the all-time mark with 67 race wins.
“I love Mario, (and) I love Mario for so many reasons – what he’s done in the sport, achieved, what he gives back to the sport,” Dixon said in Toronto. “I feel extremely lucky to have the likes of himself and A.J. here most weekends. Even to sit and chat with (them), the generations that they raced in or the team they raced is a lot different from now.
“It means a lot to me to even be mentioned in the same conversation as these greats. I never thought it was possible.”
Dixon’s victories extended his series record of consecutive seasons with at least one race win to 18. Fittingly, Power joined Dixon in adding to his personal mark. Power’s victory in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on June 5 gave him 16 straight seasons with at least one race win, and that ranks second on the sport’s list.
Power has been the best qualifier of this generation, and he entered the season with 63 poles. But with only one pole in 2021 and only two in a 26-race stretch over three seasons, it appeared he might not be able to catch Andretti. Then the doubleheader at Iowa Speedway appeared on the schedule.
The qualifying format on that July 23 day set the starting positions for the two races on consecutive laps. Power said he focused his weekend preparation on that quick spurt and delivered laps of 18.0607 and 18.0796 seconds to earn the 65th and 66th poles of his career.
“I was thinking about them all season,” he said. “(I) put a lot of focus on this race for that race. If I got those two, it’s very realistic I could get that record.”
Power tied Andretti with the pole in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline at World Wide Technology Raceway on Aug. 19, then bested the racing legend with the pole run at the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sept. 10.