IndyCar Eliminates Double Points For The Indianapolis 500
Will Power hated it. Josef Newgarden despised it. In fact, most of the drivers in the NTT IndyCar Series wanted to see the elimination of double points awarded in the Indianapolis 500.
IndyCar Series officials heard the complaints and acted by eliminating the extra points that were awarded just one race a year in the biggest race on the schedule.
Team owners were notified by IndyCar officials of the change in Thursday night’s Owners Meeting following the opening day of testing at The Thermal Club.
Team leadership was informed that, beginning this season, single points will be awarded for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The change comes after a review of the double points system, first used in 2014 as part of a three-race “Triple Crown” that also included 400-milers at Pocono, Pennsylvania and Fontana, California.
Over the years, the rule has proven to overly penalize full-time championship teams that have performed poorly in the “500.”
“For 17 consecutive seasons, the NTT IndyCar Series championship has been decided in the final race of the season,” IndyCar President Jay Frye said. “While double points at the Indianapolis 500 has not altered who won the season-long championship, occasionally it has had a negative effect on the final position of the full-time teams. As our entry list grows, this move will provide consistency for teams competing for championship positions while not diminishing the importance of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’
There is already plenty of prestige that comes with winning the “World’s Biggest Race” in addition to one of the biggest paychecks for a single race in international motorsports.
Double points ended up penalizing drivers that had a bad race in the Indianapolis 500 because of the 33-car field. If a driver won the race and a leading challenger for the championship finished outside of the top 10, the points gap often put them in a major hole.
“For over 100 years, the Indianapolis 500 has been the pinnacle of motorsports,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles said. “From the pre-race festivities, to drinking milk in Victory Lane to adding the champion’s likeness to the famed Borg-Warner Trophy, its rich traditions have made it a prestigious annual event.
“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway supports the change by IndyCar to enhance the integrity of the NTT IndyCar Series championship.”
Two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden addressed his attitude toward double points at Indianapolis on Wednesday during his availability at IndyCar “Media Day” at the Palm Springs Convention Center. This was before Thursday night’s announcement.
““I guess now that I’m really diving into it mentally, the only thing that I’ve not loved is the double points at Indy,” Newgarden said. “I was never a fan of double points anywhere. I like that it got pared back just to Indianapolis. In an ideal world, I would go back to just the standard points system at Indy, too.”