IndyCar: How does the point scoring system work?

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske, IndyCar (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske, IndyCar (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The last lap of the most recent IndyCar race at Texas Motor Speedway produced a massive points swing. How are points awarded in the series?

Team Penske teammates Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin produced the best finish at Texas Motor Speedway in a number of years in March’s XPEL 375 IndyCar race.

On the 248th and final lap of the race around the four-turn, 1.44-mile (2.317-kilometer) oval in Fort Worth, Texas, McLaughlin, who had led 186 laps after starting on the front row in second place, caught lap traffic heading into turn three.

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This allowed Newgarden to make a bold move to the outside of his teammate’s #3 Chevrolet — a move which very well could have ended up with his own #2 Chevrolet in the wall.

But Newgarden pulled it off, and he held on to win by just 0.067 seconds.

That 0.067-second gap ultimately produced a 20-point swing in the championship. Newgarden sits in fourth place with 65 points instead of in a fifth place tie with 55, while McLaughlin, who won the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, leads with 97 instead of 107.

Those 67 one-thousandths of a second are the difference between the two-time champion trailing his second-year teammate by 52 points and 32 points.

Just how are points awarded in America’s highest level of open-wheel racing?

  • 1st place – 50
  • 2nd place – 40
  • 3rd place – 35
  • 4th place – 32
  • 5th place – 30
  • 6th place – 28
  • 7th place – 26
  • 8th place – 24
  • 9th place – 22
  • 10th place – 20
  • 11th place – 19
  • 12th place – 18
  • 13th place – 17
  • 14th place – 16
  • 15th place – 15
  • 16th place – 14
  • 17th place – 13
  • 18th place – 12
  • 19th place – 11
  • 20th place – 10
  • 21st place – 9
  • 22nd place – 8
  • 23rd place – 7
  • 24th place – 6
  • 25th and below – 5

An additional point is awarded for leading at least one lap, meaning that a race winner is guaranteed to score at least 51 points.

An additional point is also awarded to the polesitter, and two additional points are awarded to the driver who leads the most laps. All in all, a driver can score up to 54 points in a single race.

For the Indy 500, points are doubled. However, the only points doubled are those included in the list above; the bonus are not doubled.

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Indy 500 qualifying also works differently. The top nine qualifiers score points, from nine points to the polesitter down to one point for the ninth place starter. So the maximum point total for any given driver in that particular race is 112 (50+50+9+1+2).