Team Penske tested at Portland last week and it was certainly well worth their time. After leading every practice session and sweeping the top three spots in qualifying, McLaughlin won today's race from pole position as teammate Will Power finished 2nd to widen his lead in the championship standings heading into the final race next weekend.

This was the third win of the season for McLaughlin, who is in his second full-time season in the series. His margin of victory over Power was 1.1792 seconds. “The car felt really good on that first stint, but as the race went on, it got a little bit worse. I just had to work on concentrating where I wanted the strengths of the car and work with those, and the weaknesses, just try to make the best of them.”

McLaughlin's win also gives him a legitimate shot at the title next weekend. The driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet is 41 points out of the lead in 4th place. He will need some serious help to make it happen, but McLaughlin is just happy to have the opportunity.

"The team, the Thirsty Three’s, got the job done in the pits. We did exactly what we needed to do this weekend, and that was win and get max points and keep ourselves in the fight. We’re a long shot but I don’t care. We have a shot, and I’m looking forward to it."

“When Roger and Tim gave me the opportunity to come over here, I knew it was going to be hard but I thought one day we could win. The ultimate goal is obviously to be to win a championship and the 500 and I'm not going to stop until I get one of those or both. It's a long way to climb but you've gotta dream big to get it done.”

Power takes a 20-point lead into the season finale at Laguna Seca, putting him in prime position to win his second championship. The 2014 champion will win the title with a podium finish, regardless of what anyone else does.

“I want to win this championship for the guys that have been with me for more than a decade,” said Power. “It’s a lot less selfish for me this time around because they deserve it. I feel their pain over the years of losing so many, so I would love to win it for them.”

Scott Dixon had another sensational drive today, finishing on the podium after starting in the 16th position. It was a remarkable feat, considering there was only one caution flag during the race. His 3rd place finish leaves him with a shot at a record-tying 7th championship next Sunday.

"That was definitely a fun race," Dixon said. "We’ve got to work on qualifying and stop making it so difficult on us. The fuel mileage was exceptionally easy, which was a huge positive. The drivability was fantastic, so kudos to Honda as it made my day a lot easier. We’re still in the fight, and anything is possible. We’ve won on tiebreakers before. We’re in it, and we won’t ever give up as a team until it’s over."

2022 Grand Prix of Portland - Race Results
Pos Driver Team Engine
1Scott McLaughlinTeam PenskeChevrolet
2Will PowerTeam PenskeChevrolet
3Scott DixonChip Ganassi RacingHonda
4Pato O'WardArrow McLaren SPChevrolet
5Graham RahalRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda
6Colton HertaAndretti AutosportHonda
7Alexander RossiAndretti AutosportHonda
8Josef NewgardenTeam PenskeChevrolet
9Callum IlottJuncos Hollinger RacingChevrolet
10Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SPChevrolet
11Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi RacingHonda
12Alex PalouChip Ganassi RacingHonda
13Kyle KirkwoodAJ Foyt RacingChevrolet
14David MalukasDale Coyne w/ HMD MotosportsHonda
15Jack HarveyRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda
16Devlin DeFrancescoAndretti AutosportHonda
17Helio CastronevesMeyer Shank RacingHonda
18Takuma SatoDale Coyne w/ Rick Ware RacingHonda
19Romain GrosjeanAndretti AutosportHonda
20Rinus VeeKayEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet
21Christian LundgaardRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda
22Dalton KellettAJ Foyt RacingChevrolet
23Simon PagenaudMeyer Shank RacingHonda
24Jimmie JohnsonChip Ganassi RacingHonda
25Conor DalyEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet

Pato O'Ward tried to keep his title hopes alive, but came up short despite a 4th place finish. The Arrow McLaren SP driver made a daring move on Power in Turn 1 with 20 laps remaining, but ended up making contact with the No. 12 Chevrolet. The contact damaged his race car, and he was then penalized for blocking Dixon when he regained control of his car. Pato is mathematically eliminated as he is now 67 points out of the lead.

"We had to come up with the win to truly have a decent shot at it at Laguna, but I didn't have enough for the Penske boys. They dominated everybody all weekend," O'Ward said. "I tried to make the pass around Will and we had an injured left side of the car for the rest of the race. Just had to nurse it from there. We had to let Dixon by because apparently we blocked him, so I expect IndyCar to make the same call when somebody does that to me."

Graham Rahal rounded out the top five today, in what was shaping up to be a great day for RLL Racing. Christian Lundgaard was running up in 2nd place for a majority of the race, but he stalled his No. 30 Honda on pit road, then went off course trying to avoid Alexander Rossi later in the race.

Lundgaard dropped like a rock after picking up signage on the front of his car. He finished 21st while David Malukas came home in 14th position. The Rookie of the Year battle between these two drivers will also be decided next weekend, as Lundgaard holds a 5-point edge over the Dale Coyne Racing driver.

Neither driver was pleased with how the day went. "The primary tire just didn’t perform as well as we would have liked them to," Malukas said. "We had no pace and lost all the positions we had gained at the start. It wasn’t the result we wanted, but we were able to cut the gap to Christian. "Obviously, it was not the end that we wanted," Lundgaard said. "The start was good with taking second place and the overall pace was good but we will learn from our other challenges and move on."

Rossi finished in 7th, behind his Andretti Autosport teammate Colton Herta. Just behind them was Josef Newgarden, who had a very disappointing afternoon. The two-time series champion qualified 3rd but had to start from the 9th position due to an engine change penalty. With his 8th place finish today, Newgarden is now tied with Dixon in the standings, 20 points away from another championship.

"We couldn't predict that caution," Newgarden said. "We just got hosed when we had to restart with all red tires around us. I was blown away by how much better everyone was on them. It's a hard day when you end up eighth. Nothing really gained on a tough starting spot. We'll just regroup and go to Laguna and try to be fast."

"At this point, it is what it is. We're just going to try and win that race and go for broke. It's kind of been a weird year, everyone has done just such a good job on this No. 2 car, but something weird always happens, like, we didn't need that yellow today. We just seem to be on the odd end of these things. So I don't know how Laguna is going to play out but we're just going there to play to win and we'll see what happens."

Callum Ilott and Felix Rosenqvist were solid today, earning top-ten finishes for their teams. Just missing out on the top-ten were Ganassi teammates Marcus Ericsson and Alex Palou. The Indy 500 winner can still win the title next weekend, but will need an enormous amount of help as he is 39 points back, behind three drivers. Palou is 66 points out, meaning the reigning series champion has officially been eliminated.

"Starting from 18th, it was going to be a difficult task," Ericsson said. "The No. 8 crew did a good job to get us back up there in the field. We tried a few things with the strategy to get off-sequence. When we were in clean air, we were really strong. The pace was pretty good in the car. We made some good calls and made our way back up. On the re-start, we started from 16th and made our way to 11th and really showed our potential. It’s a bit disappointing result but it was a decent race."

The fight for the championship next weekend at Laguna Seca is essentially a three-horse race between Power, Newgarden, and Dixon. These former champions all know how to get the job done, but Ericsson and McLaughlin are both still mathematically in the hunt. Once again, the Astor Cup will be a battle between Penske and Ganassi.

This is the 17th consecutive year that the championship will be decided in the final race of the season. The last time five drivers had a shot at the title in the final race was in 2003 when the top five drivers were separated by just 30 points.

The picture is crystal clear after 16 of 17 races. Five drivers have the opportunity to win a championship next weekend. A host of others will be desperately seeking a win as they head into the off-season. One week from now, one deserving driver will hoist the Astor Cup at Laguna Seca. Coverage for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey begins at 3 PM ET on NBC.