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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

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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