2021 IndyCar Grand Prix of Portland Preview

The NTT IndyCar Series is set to be back in action this weekend for the fourteenth race of the season which will take place at Portland International Raceway.

Pato O’Ward will begin the race weekend as the points leader in the driver standings. The Mexican has a 10 point advantage over second placed Alex Palou. This is after Palou was forced into retirement at the previous race at Gateway, where the Spaniard was classified twentieth. By comparison O’Ward went on to finish second in the race.

The winner at Gateway was Josef Newgarden who now occupies third in the standings and is 22 points behind O’Ward. The Penske driver’s victory last time out was his second of the season. Newgarden has a 21 point advantage over fourth placed Scott Dixon. The Chip Ganassi driver was forced into retirement after being involved in the same accident that led to the retirement of teammate Palou. Dixon would eventually be classified in nineteenth in the final oval race of 2021.

A quick note on Will Power who followed up his victory in the second race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with third place at Gateway. The Australian is ninth in the standings four points behind eighth placed Graham Rahal and 36 points ahead of tenth placed Takuma Sato.

Tear-aways” by Steve Grant is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

With IndyCar returning to a road course it means that all three of the 2021 series rookies are due to be in action this weekend. Scott McLaughlin is the highest placed rookie, thirteenth in the driver standings, after the New Zealander finished fourth at Gateway. He has a 23 point advantage over the next best placed rookie of Romain Grosjean who is fifteenth in the championship. The Frenchman made his oval debut at Gateway where he went on to be classified in fourteenth.

Jimmie Johnson didn’t participate at Gateway and will go to Portland twenty eighth in the standings. The Chip Ganassi driver is 27 points behind twenty sixth placed Max Chilton, although it is worth noting that the latter did participate in the double points scoring Indianapolis 500.

A quick note to mention that Oliver Askew is due to contest this weekend’s race with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team in a third entry. The American is also expected to be in the seat for the two rounds after Portland as well. Meanwhile the Juncos-Hollinger team are also expected to make its return to IndyCar at Portland as it gets ready for a full time campaign in 2022. Its car this weekend is due to be piloted by Callum Ilott.

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