Jul 14, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; IndyCar Series driver Scott Dixon in victory circle after winning the Honda Indy Toronto through the streets of downtown Toronto. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Indycar Drops New Point System Like A Bomb

So last night I discovered that Indycar had announced a whole new point system, to award 33 points for the Indy 500 pole winner and double points for the three “triple crown” events. I started writing last night and, I’m glad I didn’t post what I had because it started off, “Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, really hate Indycar’s new point system with a passionate fire that burns with the heat of five rather large stars.” I also accused Indycar of raping the purity its championship and called Scott Dixon, “The last honest Indycar champion.”

While I still despise this new development I’m a little calmer now, and after a night’s sleep I’m trying to figure out what problem this new development solves. Since the merger of CART and the IRL every championship has gone down to the last race. If anything, the “Triple double points plan,” allows a dominate driver to further pad his points lead and wrap up the series’ title earlier.

Another thing to consider is that the three big oval races tend to go to the teams with the biggest budgets. That makes it more difficult for smaller teams to compete for the title. Sebastien Bourdais’ title hopes, already a dark horse, just took a hit by this announcement.

Pocono Speedway was tweeting last night that the double points “Enhances the triple crown,” and respectfully I understand how. I would argue that double points in three races detracts from the value of other races, and it comes across as a gimmick that devalues the sport as a whole, but I’m trying to see it from their perspective. I guess proponents believe that somehow offering double points will somehow motivate more casual sports fans to buy tickets and watch the race.

I don’t buy that though. I can’t see the guy who only watches the Indy 500 saying, “Hey lets watch another Indycar race this year because they’re offering double points.” Or, “I wasn’t going to go to Pocono, but now that the Indycar race is offering double points lets buy tickets for the whole family.” The reality is only the dedicated fans will notice the change, and it won’t really change their viewing habits.

Again, I just don’t see what problem this solves. There’s an argument to be made that because there are more road and street courses this helps balance out the ovals on when it comes to championship impact. But American open wheel has never been an equal split between oval and twisty circuits. I can see how this is an effort to placate a hard core faction of the Indycar fan base that feels that Indycar should only race on ovals. They’re vocal on message boards, but there’s not enough of them to save the sport. Also, they don’t want ovals to matter more, they want more ovals on the schedule.

If anyone from the Indycar front office reads this I would say this. I don’t understand what this solves. I don’t understand how it improves the product. I don’t see what value this adds to the sport. I would also suggest it’s not too late to pull this back. April First is coming up, and you could just say it was a mistimed prank. Also, could you maybe seek fan input before radically changing the sport?

I’m not alone. IndycarUK put a poll up last night and as of my writing this only 21 percent of respondents thought the changes were  a good thing, 47 percent didn’t like it and 32 percent were willing to wait and see. Reaction lit up twitter.






Tags: Points System Triple Crown Verizon Indycar Series

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