Scott Dixon has a chance to end two historic IndyCar streaks pertaining to the championship as the 2020 season comes to a close.
While he did himself no favors on Friday afternoon with his third straight finish outside of the top eight as Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden took the checkered flag to close the points gap, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon is still positioned to make IndyCar championship history.
His first race of the Harvest Grand Prix doubleheader at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course did not go as he would have liked, but the five-time champion still holds a sizable 40-point lead in the championship standings with two races to go in the season.
Newgarden has closed that gap from 117 points four races ago, taking an average of 19.25 points per race out of the lead during that span.
The driver of the #1 Chevrolet has won twice during that span but still needs to make up an average of at least 20 points per race over the season’s final two races to win the title (20 or 20.5 depending on the wins tiebreaker, which Dixon currently leads four to three).
With a maximum of 54 points on the table for each driver in each race (50 for winning, one for taking the pole position, one for leading at least one lap and two for leading the most laps) and no double points on the table for the season finale for the first time since 2013, there are 108 points left on the table for both drivers, meaning that Dixon cannot be beaten no matter what happens if he scores at least 69 points OR if he scores at least 70 points with a win, since a win would clinch him the wins tiebreaker.
Provided neither driver misses a race, a maximum of 49 points are available to be made up on the other in each race, as finishes of 25th place or worse are worth five points.
The fact that Dixon still holds a 40-point lead with two races remaining means that he could very well secure the title in this afternoon’s race, as long as he is at least 55 points ahead of Newgarden (or 54 if he wins, since he would clinch the wins tiebreaker by being two wins ahead of his rival with one race remaining).
It also means that the championship could still go down to the wire for what would be the 15th consecutive season.
So Dixon is aiming to end two historic streaks in today’s race.
No driver has secured a championship before the season finale since Dan Wheldon did so back in 2005. While the last six season finales have been double points races, they still would have decided the championship as regular points-paying races based on the gaps between the top two drivers entering the events.
Additionally, no driver has led the standings after every single race on the calendar since Sam Hornish Jr. did so back in 2001. Sebastien Bourdais also did so in 2006, but that was during the Champ Car years.
Dixon won the season opener at Texas Motor Speedway back in June and hasn’t dropped out of the points lead all year.
Juan Pablo Montoya came close to pulling it off in 2015 when he led the standings after each of the 16-race season’s first 15 races, but it was Dixon who utilized a double points-paying season finale to tie him atop the standings at the end of the year and take the championship away from him via a tiebreaker.
Tune in to NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET this afternoon to see if Dixon can end both of those streaks in the second race of the Harvest Grand Prix doubleheader at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.