IndyCar Ups The Ante For 500-Mile Races
INDIANAPOLIS – IndyCar has announced a revamped championship system for the Verizon IndyCar Series that features an increased emphasis on the three 500-mile events on the series schedule.
The enhanced format, which will be implemented at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 28-30, will award double points throughout the field during the 500-mile races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Auto Club Speedway. Race winners will receive 100 points at those three events instead of the regular 50 points.
The base points structure remains unchanged. All other events on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule will be worth 50 championship points to the winner.
“We looked at various ways to improve the way we decide our champions, and this will only make the championship battles more exciting,” said IndyCar President of Competition and Operations Derrick Walker.
Series officials also announced that the 10-grid-spot penalty levied on an entry whose engine was changed before it met the mileage threshold or surpassed the mandated number of engines for the season has been removed. Instead, 10 points will be deducted from the manufacturer’s total for each occurrence.
– Entrant-initiated engine change-outs will result in the loss of 10 driver and entrant points.
– An unapproved engine change-out by an entry will result in it starting from the rear of the grid in the next race. No engine change-out grid penalties will be served during the Indianapolis 500. Penalties carried over into or earned at the Indianapolis 500 will be served at the subsequent race.
“Fans didn’t like seeing drivers receive the 10-grid-spot penalty for engine changes, especially when it was out of the team’s control,” Walker said. “With the help from our manufacturers, we are able to enhance our races without adding more confusion to the people who follow the sport.”
IndyCar has also revised the format for the Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturers’ Championship to reward durability and performance in addition to penalizing competitors when warranted during the 18-race season.
Under the new format:
– Manufacturers will receive a 10-point award for each of their 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engines that reach the 2,500-mile change-out threshold set by IndyCar for 2014.
– The Manufacturers’ Championship format mirrors points awarded to the top five drivers and entrants in each race when running one of the four assigned engines allotted for the season.
– Bonus points will be awarded to the manufacturer that leads the most laps (2 points), leads at least one lap (1 point) and earns the Verizon P1 Award (1 point), with the exception of the Indianapolis 500. Points awarded to the top five in qualifying May 17-18 at Indianapolis.