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2019 Point Standings
After Laguna Seca
Rank Driver Points

1 Newgarden, Josef 641
2 Pagenaud, Simon 616
3 Rossi, Alexander 608
4 Dixon, Scott 578
5 Power, Will 550
6 Rosenqvist, Felix (R) 425
7 Herta, Colton (R) 420
8 Hunter-Reay, Ryan 420
9 Sato, Takuma 415
10 Rahal, Graham 389
11 Bourdais, Sebastien 387
12 Hinchcliffe, James 370
13 Ferrucci, Santino (R) 351
14 Pigot, Spencer 335
15 Kanaan, Tony 304
16 Andretti, Marco 303
17 Ericsson, Marcus (R) 290
18 Veach, Zach 271
19 Leist, Matheus 261
20 Jones, Ed 217
21 Harvey, Jack 186
22 Chilton, Max 184
23 Carpenter, Ed 161
24 Daly, Conor 149
25 Kimball, Charlie 117
26 O'Ward, Patricio (R) 115
27 Karam, Sage 39
28 Davison, James 36
29 Castroneves, Helio 33
30 Hanley, Ben (R) 31
31 Mann, Pippa 28
32 Kaiser, Kyle (R) 22
33 Hildebrand, JR 20
34 Servia, Oriol 16
35 Enerson, RC (R) 13
36 King, Jordan (R) 12

Rookie of Year Standings
1 Rosenqvist, Felix 425
2 Herta, Colton 420
3 Ferrucci, Santino 351
4 Ericsson, Marcus 290
5 O'Ward, Patricio 115
6 Hanley, Ben 31
7 Kaiser, Kyle 22
8 RC Enerson 13
9 King, Jordan 12

Manufacturer Standings
1. Honda 1436
2. Chevy 1387

A Band-Aid for a Bullet Wound

by Brian Carroccio
Friday, March 21, 2014

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Takuma Sato celebrates his 2013 victory at Long Beach. This coming year, a Long Beach win will award fewer championship points than a seventh place finish at Fontana, Indy, and Pocono.
Do you remember Takuma Sato’s impressive drive in 2012 MAVTV 500 at Fontana? Funny, neither do I.

However, Sato driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing started the race 21st. With a fast race car, some strong pit work, and a little luck from attrition and such, ‘Taku’ was able to record a solid 7th place finish.

Why do I reference this non-descript, albeit professional drive by Sato, you might ask?

Well, with the newly-implemented points system for the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series, which I’m going to assume you have a working knowledge of, Sato’s very non-descript, albeit professional 7th place effort at Fontana in 2012, will award more points than his ballsy, throw-down-the-gauntlet breakthrough win last season in Long Beach, where he and A.J. Foyt Racing shocked the world with a performance for the ages victory (minus the bonus points he earned for leading the most laps).

Yes, at a time when both Formula 1 and NASCAR are under fire for implementing hokey, contrived championship formats; at a time when IndyCar could have differentiated itself as a pure, no frills, no gimmicks form of motorsport by keeping a points system that has served the series well for over a decade, what do they do? Make finishing 7th at Fontana and Pocono worth more than winning at Long Beach and St. Petersburg.

Now, I should be fair. I can understand the logic in making a 500-mile race worth more than a 200-miler. Granted, I would argue that such thinking is somewhat outdated in this era of relative engine reliability. I’d likewise contend that running 200 miles on a physical grueling track like Mid-Ohio in August and 500 miles at Pocono are different, yet equally worthy, skill sets. But those are different arguments for different days. The long and short of it is I could get on board with an argument for the 500 mile races being weighted fractionally more.

As for the decision to award a ludicrous amount of points for Indy 500 qualifying, the motivation is clear as day: because there will be no bumping, IndyCar and IMS are trying to provide some compelling reason to tune for qualifying on those precious network television precious company dates.

Also, with the double points at Fontana and Pocono, part of the motivation is clearly rooted in the fact oval tracks have fallen off the schedule in recent years. This, combined with the implementation of three street course doubleheaders in 2013, has resulted in an outcry for a greater premium placed on oval racing. Fair enough.

But wouldn’t the better course of action be to devote time and resources to creating new viable oval events? If I were someone crying out for more oval events (I’d ideally like to see a 50/50 balance, or thereabouts), the message here would be loud and clear: we really don’t see any possibility of adding viable oval races in the coming years.

Of course, the cheerleading sections in the I-465 media won’t see it that way. They’ll goo and gush about how the great Triple Crown tradition is back. They’ll note that the schedule has become too street race heavy, and this places a greater premium on oval racing in crowning an IndyCar champion (although such logic conveniently overlooks the fact it already is, as the champion every season since the IRL began has won at least one oval race). They’ll also talk about how IndyCar is becoming more fan-friendly, or somehow paying homage to its roots.

All that may be so. But if you look through the propaganda and the BS, this is simply a band-aid on a bullet wound; an indication that efforts aren’t being made to address the problems, just the symptoms of those problems. Yes, because we can’t create viable oval events, let’s just award more points to the few we have. Hey, it doesn’t cost us anything, and we don’t have to be creative in building a viable event.

Also, did anyone consider what message such a measure might send to loyal promoters in Long Beach and Toronto, who not only got left out of the network television slots, but now have their races marginalized within the overall championship?

Let the record show, that from the perspective of this one IndyCar columnist, the series did not improve its entertainment value, restore the luster of the Triple Crown, or provide any more compelling reasons to watch any event. Rather, they cheapened many of their longstanding events, and reinforced the notion they fail to understand the actual problems plaguing the sport in the process.

That, at the end of the day, is the biggest concern of all. 

Brian Carroccio is a columnist for AutoRacing1.com. He can be contacted at BrianC@AutoRacing1.com.

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