Photo: Josef Newgarden on his way to the Indycar championship at Laguna Seca. Photo by Kyle McInnes
The NTT Indycar Series announced today that due to the shortened uncertain season, the final race of the year will not be a double points race. As of now the 14 scheduled races shows Weather Tech Raceway as the final race, but if St. Pete can find a way to reschedule in October, the finale will shift to Florida.
I think the uncertainty of where the final will be and the shorter season contributed to this decision. I’m not even sure the season will begin in Detroit on May 30. Virginia has issued stay in place orders effective until June 10, just about two weeks ahead of the race at Richmond. It may be a struggle to get 10 races run in 2020. I think fewer events than that would make for a hollow championship.
Now that that the finale is not a double points race, I hope the series sees that there is no need to resurrect the concept for 2021. I have never been a fan of double points in general, especially for the final race. I’m surprised NASCAR didn’t think of this gimmick first. It does not in reality put more drivers in contention. Too many things have to happen for someone 70 points out of first going into the final weekend to have shot at the title.
Once Indycar sees that they can live without a double point finale, let’s eliminate the bonus points for the 500 as well. The drivers already know it’s the most important date on the calendar. The extra points has not given anyone an advantage in the standings overall. The last time the winner of the 500 won the series title was 2010, when Dario Franchitti was in his four year period of dominating Indycar. Since double points have been in effect, Juan Pablo Montoya tied Scott Dixon in points, but lost the Astor Cup on a tie breaker.
With the shorter season this year winning the 500 and 100 points will give the winner an advantage in the standings that may be difficult to overcome. I’m assuming the winner of the 500 will be one of the title contenders. I think that is a pretty safe bet this year.
I applaud Indycar’s move. It is definitely a step in the right direction. Let’s make this permanent and make all races the same amount of points.