By: Spencer Neff
April 10, 2022
Following a chaotic end to the afternoon, Josef Newgarden took home the win at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
After starting second, Team Penske’s superior pit stops helped put the two-time INDYCAR Champion out front, leading 32 laps (including the final 31). In earning his 22nd career victory, he overtakes teammate Scott McLaughlin as points leader, leading his teammate by five.
The Hendersonville, Tennessee native earned his first win on the famed street circuit. Previously, his best finish at Long Beach was second in 2019 and 2021. After Takuma Sato crashed into the Turn 8 barrier on the final lap, the 85-lap race ended under the fourth caution of the day.
Despite falling short of their fourth straight Long Beach win, Andretti Autosport’s newest driver Romain Grosjean finished second, earning the team’s first podium of 2022. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou rounded out the podium as he continued his title defense.
Team Penske has won the first three races of a season for the first time since 2012 and Chevrolet has won the opening three events for the first time since 2016.
After starting on the pole, Colton Herta got away cleanly and immediately began to put distance between himself and Newgarden. On Lap 6, A.J. Foyt Racing’s Dalton Kellett made contact with the outside retaining wall in Turn 1, prompting the first caution of the day.
Once the race got back under green for the Lap 10, the Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian driver kept the field at bay. Further back, Rossi and Rosenqvist would make contact on the entrance of Turn 1. Rossi took fourth while Rosenqvist fell back to 11th. The race leader made it 30 laps before he took his first pit stop of the afternoon.
Following the pit stops, Palou and Newgarden leapfrogged Herta for the lead. In that time, Palou also posted the fastest lap of the race. Thanks to his and his team’s quick work in and out of the pits, the driver of the No. 10 found himself nearly three seconds ahead of Newgarden and Herta.
With final pit stops nearing, Herta smacked the Turn 9 wall and the ensuing front wing damage ended the day for the pre-race favorite. Five laps later, Simon Pagenaud and Takuma Sato made contact in the Turn 2 fountain area, sending Pagenaud backward.
As he tried to get his No. 60 refired, the 2016 Long Beach winner stalled in the garden adjacent to the fountain. With Rinus VeeKay and McLaughlin involved, the caution flag was displayed for a second time on the day.
During the Lap 67 restart, Marcus Ericsson got loose between Turns 4 and 5. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver tagged his teammate Scott Dixon. While Dixon continued on, Ericsson’s day came to a premature end.
Back up front, Grosjean used the advantage of his alternate tires to make his way up to second and challenge Newgarden for the lead. With 10 laps remaining, Jimmie Johnson spun and collected David Malukas as both drivers crashed into the Turn 8 tire barriers.
The accident was cleaned up and the green flag waved in time for a five-lap battle for the win. Sato’s accident brought a premature end to the race.
While the next points race on the calendar is scheduled for May 1 at Barber Motorsports Park, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES enters the busiest portion of its schedule.
On April 20 and 21, teams will head to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for an open test at the 2.5-mile oval. Ahead of the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented By Gainbridge, coverage begins on 11 a.m. Eastern on April 20 and 10 a.m. on April 21.
Practice 1 for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama begins at 4:00 p.m. Eastern on April 29. Coverage for the 90-lap race is set for 1:00 p.m. Eastern on May 1.
IndyCar1909 will have ongoing coverage of all the latest NTT INDYCAR SERIES news and developments through our site and various social media platforms.
Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR