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Polewinner to get bonus point.


In an unusual twist, Indy Racing League officials have altered the bonus points awarded during an IndyCar Series race weekend to match that already employed by the Firestone Indy Lights series.

Where changes are normally made to bring the supporting cast in line with the leading lady, this year's IndyCar Series will now feature a reduced two-point bonus for leading the most laps, with one point now up for grabs for the polewinner. It is the first time since 2000 that points will be awarded for qualifying performance as, from the 2001 season, all three bonus points were handed to the leader of the most laps.

It was confirmed that the pole winner will continue to receive the $10,000 PEAK Performance Pole Award prize for all races other than the 93rd Indianapolis 500, where a separate $100,000 bonus is on offer.

“The fight for the pole is full of drama on ovals, and on road and street courses,” explained series competitions president Brian Barnhart, “so it seems appropriate that the driver who can survive four laps driving on the edge on ovals, or who can make it through three elimination rounds on road and street courses, be rewarded for their efforts with a point towards the championship.”

The point system for each race - which descends from 50 for first place through 40 for second, 35 for third, and so on – remains unchanged, and the alteration to the bonus system has received support from those chasing the points.

“I think it's great that you're rewarded for pole position because it is such hard work and so difficult to get a pole in this series,” Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, who won three poles in 2008, noted, ” It's sort of the first race of the weekend, so to earn a point for it gives you a little more satisfaction.”

Applying the new system to the past three seasons would not alter the outcome of the title fight - in as far as Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish Jr would keep their crowns for 2008, '07 and '06 respectively - but it is interesting to note the 2006 battle would have resulted in a tie involving Helio Castroneves rather than Dan Wheldon.

Hornish would have received six points for leading most laps and four for poles, while Wheldon would have lost two from his original total with eight points for laps led and two for poles. Castroneves, meanwhile, would have received four points for laps led and five for poles, boosting his tally by three to share first place on 476 with Hornish. Unable to be separated in terms of race wins and second places - both had four and one respectively - Hornish eventually 'keeps' his title by having two third-place finishes to Castroneves' one.

For the record, last year's winning margin between Dixon and Castroneves would have increased from 17 to 21, while Franchitti's 13-point triumph over the Dixon, following the Kiwi's agonising last corner hiccup, would shrink to eleven as the Scot's total drops by two.


Related Pictures

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Indy Racing League. 24-25 Feb. 2009. IRL Homestead Test.  Homestead Internation Raceway. Homestead, Florida. Ryan Briscoe.
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Carlos Munoz celebrates his first IndyCar pole at Texas Motor Speedway
Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) celebrates pole at Long Beach   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 celebrates capturing the pole with the fastest lap Saturday, March 12, 2016 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. The four Penske Chevrolet`s were the fastest in qualifying and Chevrolet had the five fastest cars. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 captures the pole with the fastest lap Saturday, March 12, 2016 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. The four Penske Chevrolet`s were the fastest in qualifying and Chevrolet had the five fastest cars. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 captures the pole with the fastest lap Saturday, March 12, 2016 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. The four Penske Chevrolet`s were the fastest in qualifying and Chevrolet had the five fastest cars. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 captures the pole with the fastest lap Saturday, March 12, 2016 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. The four Penske Chevrolet`s were the fastest in qualifying and Chevrolet had the five fastest cars. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power wins the Verizon P1 Award for claiming the pole position for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power wins the Verizon P1 Award for claiming the pole position for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fifth fastest Saturday, August 29, 2015, for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Montoya is leading the Driver`s Championship in points heading into this final race of the season. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates after qualifying fastest Saturday, August 29, 2015, capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Power, the 2014 Champion Driver, has an outside chance to repeat during this final race of the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates after qualifying fastest Saturday, August 29, 2015, capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Power, the 2014 Champion Driver, has an outside chance to repeat during this final race of the season. (Photo by Sam Cobb/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest Saturday, August 29, 2015, capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Power, the 2014 Champion Driver, has an outside chance to repeat during this final race of the season. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power celebrates after winning the pole position for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates after winning the pole position for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates after winning the pole position for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates after winning the pole position for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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Don - Unregistered

March 13, 2009 1:02 PM

Giving the pole winner a point in addition to the money is a good move. It should increase the incentive to go all out for the pole, and improve the qualifying show. Three weeks till the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg!

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