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2018 Point Standings
After Texas
Rank Driver Points

RANK DRIVER TOTAL
1 Scott Dixon 357
2 Alexander Rossi 334
3 Will Power 321
4 Ryan Hunter-Reay 308
5 Josef Newgarden 289
6 Graham Rahal 250
7 Robert Wickens 244
8 Simon Pagenaud 229
9 Sebastien Bourdais 218
10 Marco Andretti 213
11 James Hinchcliffe 209
12 Ed Jones 183
13 Takuma Sato 169
14 Tony Kanaan 157
15 Zach Veach 147
16 Spencer Pigot 147
17 Charlie Kimball 139
18 Gabby Chaves 138
19 Matheus Leist 133
20 Ed Carpenter 128
21 Max Chilton 121
22 Zachary De Melo 85
23 Jordan King 70
24 Carlos Munoz 53
25 Jack Harvey 53
26 Kyle Kaiser 45
27 Helio Castroneves 40
28 Rene Binder 39
29 JR Hildebrand 38
30 Stefan Wilson 31
31 Oriol Servia 27
32 Santino Ferrucci 18
33 Conor Daly 18
34 Danica Patrick 13
35 Jay Howard 12
36 Sage Karam 10
37 James Davison 10
38 Pietro Fittipaldi 7

Rookie of Year Standings
1. Robert Wickens 244
2. Zach Veach 147
3. Matheus Leist 133
4. Zachary De Melo 85
5. Jordan King 70
6. Jack Harvey 53
7. Kyle Kaiser 45
8. Rene Binder 39
9. Ferrucci, Santino 18
10. Pietro Fittipaldi 7

Manufacturer Standings
1. Honda 667
2. Chevy 564

America was once in love with the car and racing boomed

by Stephen Cox
Friday, October 20, 2017

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Empty Grandstands for the GP of Indianapolis makes IndyCar look like a complete loser
Empty Grandstands for the GP of Indianapolis makes IndyCar look like a complete loser
The past few years have brought every gimmick imaginable to auto racing. NASCAR holds races that three people can win. The ever-changing playoff system (a gimmick in itself) functions like an automotive version of musical chairs.

Indycar's gimmicks are even worse. They tried mandating overpriced “body kits” to make their field of 33 identical Dallara chassis look like something other than a field of 33 identical Dallara chassis. Their “Fast Nine” and “Fast Six” qualifying gimmick hasn't revived interest in pole day although it's proven very effective at totally confusing fans.

Instead of trying to out-gimmick the competition with Disney-style entertainment to attract a generation of I-gadget slaves who can recite the Starbucks menu by heart but can't drive a straight stick, perhaps we should be asking why gimmicks are necessary in the first place.

Laurel Speedway 1925 - Huge crowd
Laurel Speedway 1925 - Huge crowd
After all, Indycar needed no gimmicks to draw global attention in 1985 when Danny Sullivan spun trying to pass Mario Andretti for the Indianapolis 500 crown. NASCAR needed no gimmicks to shock the world world when The King passed the spinning cars of Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison to win the 1979 Daytona 500.

So why now? Yes, the plague of I-gadgets has certainly had an impact. But it can't be the entire problem because Atari's 2600 home video gaming system brought digital entertainment to the masses back in 1977, yet race tracks had full grandstands and little need for gimmicks.

It's true that the economy has not been our friend. But the economy was awful in the late 1970's as well, yet people still turned out in droves to see Larry Rice and Pancho Carter and Gary Bettenhausen battle it out on dirt tracks every weekend. So that's not it, either.

Beverly Hills CA Board Track - 1920s
Beverly Hills CA Board Track - 1920s
University of Southern California and California Historical Society 
The problem is that fewer people care about cars today. The auto racing industry needs to get this, and get it good... people who don't care about automobiles will never, ever care about watching anyone else race them. If public interest in the automobile falters, then auto racing is doomed. And that is precisely what's happening right now.

226 million Americans bought about ten million new cars per year from 1976 through 1988. But over the past decade, 323 million Americans have bought between five and seven million new cars per year and that number is dropping precipitously. Americans just aren't buying cars like they once did.

Why? Because getting a driver's license is a creepy, invasive, Soviet-like experience that everyone hates. Because the price of mandatory insurance policies is skyrocketing and if you dare use your insurance for its intended purpose, they'll gouge you even more. Because even if you have a great sports car, you can't have much fun driving it because the penalties for the most minor speeding infractions are insanely high and surveillance cameras watch every move you make at stoplights around the country. Because we make cars with proximity warnings and rear view cameras and a mountain of gadgets that enable lousy drivers to think they're competent.

Phoenix 1964
Phoenix 1964
PIR Archives
So long as this situation continues, it really doesn't matter what auto racing does. There aren't enough gimmicks in the world to fix that. Remember, people who don't care about automobiles will never, ever care about watching anyone else race them.

America was once in love with the automobile because the automobile represented freedom. The enthusiasm Americans had for their automobiles directly translated into enthusiasm for automobile racing, which gave birth to a golden era of American motorsports.

The goal of the motorsports industry must be to restore the liberty, freedom and fun that was once synonymous with the automobile. When that enthusiasm returns, we won't need three winners at every race or multiple rounds of qualifying to con them back to the race track. They'll show up by themselves.

Stephen Cox
Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions
Co-host, Mecum Auctions on NBCSN

Stephen Cox Blog Presented by McGunegill Engine Performance


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