2022 Indy Road Course Race Report

Your 2022 Indy Road Course Race Report is full of crazy driving, bad finishes for drivers who didn’t deserve them, and an oversized role for Lady Luck.

Caution/Lead-O-Gram

We start the 2022 Indy Road Course Race Report, as is customary, with the caution/lead-o-gram.

There were five cautions for 15 laps: two stage end cautions and then one accident, one debris caution and one that I marked as a spin, but the caution was because the #3 got stuck in the gravel. I’m not sure how NASCAR classified that caution. They were probably to busy trying to figure out how Ross Chastain got ahead of Tyler Reddick on that last restart.

The number of cautions is comparable to last year (6 cautions), although they needed 10 additional caution laps last year. I believe that was because they had trouble with the kerbs coming up.

Seven leaders combined for nine lead changes, but there was only one leader who took the lead via a green-flag pass. That was Tyler Reddick, on lap 50. He only held the lead for a lap, then relinquished the lead to pit. All of the other lead changes were due to pit stops.

Of the leaders:

  • Briscoe finished 23rd
  • Blaney finished 26th
  • Bell finished 12th
  • Allmendinger finished 7th
  • Gilliland finished 4th
  • Hand finished 29th

There were 3,254 green flag passes this year, compared to 3,774 last year.

Road Courses Don’t Count Accidents

Here’s a real statistics issue. Most accidents on road courses — even ones that involve a half-dozen cars — don’t cause cautions. That’s just the nature of road racing. What the finishes don’t tell you is that Blaney was running 3rd when he got taken out. Kevin Harvick also had a promising day go south due to other drivers’ “driving”.

Just perusing the notes on the race that NASCAR provides, I counted 9 single-car spins, seven accidents, three or four cars leaving the track… Eight cars DNFd, the most for any track this year that isn’t a superspeedway or Charlotte.

A vertical bar chart showing the numbers of DNFS by Track in 2022

If I could bear to watch the race again, I would actually count all the cars involved. But I’m not sure I care to relive the experience. It was painful enough the first time.

Three rookies made the top five.

  • Austin Cindric had an average running position of 8.63 and finished second.
  • Harrison Burton had an average running position of 20.71 and finishes third.
  • Todd Gilliland had an average running position of 13.83 and finished fourth.

And…

  • Daniel Suarez had an average running position of 10.53 and finished 28th
  • William Byron had an average running position of 9.95 and finished 31st
  • Ryan Blaney had an average running position of 4.99 and finished 26th.

Reddick won the pole and ran strong the entire race. His average running position was 3.69. He deserved that victory. But the others…?

You tell me. After spending much of the last few days considering Ryan Blaney’s year, I can’t say I blame him for being spitting mad after the race.

There’s too much on the line for this kind of shenanigans as we approach the end of the regular season. And that’s before we’ve even gotten into NASCAR allowing Ross Chastain to take a shortcut, and then get back on track to race for the win?

I start to wonder if making the cars more resilient to banging and bumping was a good idea after all if it means drivers are acting like this is a giant game of bumper cars.

That’s your rather grumpy 2022 Indy Road Course race report.

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