IndyCar gets its fourth different points leader in four days

Colton Herta finds himself atop the IndyCar championship standings for the first time in his career after a somewhat quiet run at Barber Motorsports Park.
Colton Herta, Andretti Global, IndyCar
Colton Herta, Andretti Global, IndyCar / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Entering last Wednesday, Team Penske's Josef Newgarden was the leader of the IndyCar championship standings after winning the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida and placing fourth in the following race on the streets of Long Beach, California.

The two-time series champion had not led the championship standings since April 2022.

But mid-morning on Wednesday, his St. Petersburg win was stripped as a result of his illegal use of the push-to-pass system, and so 45 days after that race, he was docked 53 points in the standings, demoting him to 11th place -- and making Arrow McLaren's Pato O'Ward the official race winner after he had initially finished in the runner-up position.

O'Ward retrospectively became the points leader after the season opener, a role he had not held since April 2023, but because the season's second race had already been run, it was Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon who actually led the standings heading into the season's third race at Barber Motorsports Park.

Dixon, the six-time series champion who had not led the standings since May 2021, won at Long Beach after finishing in ninth place at St. Petersburg, and his ninth place finish turned into a seventh place finish following the disqualifications of both Newgarden and teammate Scott McLaughlin, who originally finished in third.

IndyCar gets fourth points leader in four days

Now after Sunday's race at Barber, there is a fourth different points leader, and it is one who had never previously led the standings at any point in his career: Andretti Global's Colton Herta.

Herta did not have a particularly great day at Barber, but he was able to bring the No. 26 Honda home in eighth place while other title contenders such as Dixon and O'Ward faltered, finishing in 15th and 23rd, respectively.

Herta took the points lead thanks to a late restart, when he gained two spots and thus scored four extra points because of it. He leads the standings by just one point over Team Penske's Will Power, who was docked 10 points as a result of his team's violation in St. Petersburg, despite the fact that he personally did not take advantage of the system manipulation.

Herta has not finished lower than eighth place this season and has recorded two podium finishes. Power has recorded two runner-up finishes and has not finished lower than sixth. Chip Ganassi Racing's Alex Palou, who sits just three points behind Herta in third, has not finished lower than fifth. Dixon fell to seven points back of Herta after leading him by two entering the weekend.

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All four of these drivers have won at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course before, and that is where the series' next race is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 11. The Sonsio Grand Prix is set to be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET. Start a free trial of FuboTV and don't miss it!