IndyCar Series Scraps Double Points for Indianapolis 500

IndyCar has announced that the Indianapolis 500 will no longer award double points, beginning this year.
Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing
Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing

The 107th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing will still be the most important race to win, but the series has finally decided to pull the plug on awarding double points for the event. The first double points Indy 500 came in 2014, when there were three 500-mile races on the schedule. Despite the loss of those other races, the series has maintained awarding double points at Indianapolis until now.

Drivers will still earn bonus points for qualifying positions 1-12 but the maximum number of points has been drastically reduced. The winner will now receive 50 points, with a maximum of 65 if they start on pole and lead the most laps. The deficit from 1st to 33rd would now be 60 points, instead of 105 points when considering double points.

"While double points at the Indianapolis 500 has not altered who won the season-long championship, occasionally it has had a negative effect on the final position of the full-time teams," said IndyCar President Jay Frye. "As our entry list grows, this move will provide consistency for teams competing for championship positions while not diminishing the importance of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

"For over 100 years, the Indianapolis 500 has been the pinnacle of motorsports," added IMS President Doug Boles. "From the pre-race festivities, to drinking milk in Victory Lane to adding the champion’s likeness to the famed Borg-Warner Trophy, its rich traditions have made it a prestigious annual event. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway supports the change by IndyCar to enhance the integrity of the NTT IndyCar Series championship."

IndyCar Series Scraps Double Points for Indianapolis 500

For the last 17 consecutive years, the championship has not been decided until the final race of the season. The series also awarded double points in the season finale, something which finally stopped at the end of 2019 when Roger Penske took over the series from the Hulman George family.

This move will only make the battle for the title that much tighter. There is a little more wiggle room for error, and eases the stress on teams in those situations. This is something that drivers (and fans) have been wanting for quite a while.

"I’ve never been a big fan of it," said two-time series champion Josef Newgarden. "But at the same time, we knew the program going into the beginning of the year, so there’s no reason to complain about it."

Newgarden's teammate Will Power insisted that the 500 should be a double purse instead of double points. He said that it wouldn't matter if the race didn't offer any points at all. Just winning the biggest race in the world would mean more than anything to the drivers.

Teams and drivers will not have a different approach as they enter the Month of May, but a poor finish at Indy will no longer be a nail in the coffin in terms of fighting for a championship. It will also likely have more drivers with a chance to win the title at the end of the season. There will be at least 27 cars on the grid at every race this season.

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