The New IndyCar Points System

trophyA golden opportunity missed. That is my takeaway from the news of today’s announced Verizon IndyCar points system. The big takeaway was that the ovals (mainly the Triple Crown events) will offer more points to drivers, to try to help offset the 2-1 ratio of road/street courses to ovals on the 2014 schedule. The three 500-mile races (Indianapolis, Pocono, Fontana) will reward drivers with double the amount of points. While I understand how they justify the changes, I simply can not help but wonder if this was the right decision, given the success of the past championship battles.

The IndyCar Championship seems to have come down to the final race of the season, every year for the past decade. There are no gimmicks, no tricks, and no smoke and mirrors. It’s just the way the racing shook itself out over the course of the year. They say if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. This was a prime example, in my opinion.

Formula 1 made changes to their points championship this year. It’s almost as bad as the sound of their engines, and the look of the noses on the cars. NASCAR completely revised their points championship too, to the point where it’s just laughable. It is feasible to win the first 35 races of the season, and finish in second place in the next race, and not win the title. If you’ve already won a race in NASCAR this year, what is your motivation for the next five months? Maybe I’m just not seeing the point of it all.

IndyCar had a golden opportunity to showcase how incredibly competitive the series is, and how great the racing is, without the need for “fixing” things near the end. If they wanted to “fix” things, they’re doing it in the wrong areas. There are plenty of other things they should be focused on. Giving more points on ovals isn’t going to change the disparity between them and the twisties. In essence, you’re just making the ovals mean more, but if someone crashes out in one oval race, it’s going to hurt twice as bad.

This was the one thing that IndyCar really had going for it, and I thought it was really going to shine bright this year. Why would you change the one thing that has actually gone really well? The qualifying points only further the notion that this is just a big gimmick. This isn’t great for guys like Takuma Sato, but it might help ECR win an owner’s championship.

Changing the engine penalties was a great move. This one, I’m hesitant to buy into.

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