Championship Countdown: Where Do The IndyCar Odds Lie

As the IndyCar season winds down, ATRL’s Eline Luna looks at who will hoist the Astor Cup once the checkered flag falls at Laguna Seca.

Eline Luna

September 9, 2022

How it stands

With only a single race to go, Will Power leads the IndyCar championship by 20 points. To some people this might seem like a done deal, but it’s far from that. Drivers are able to gather a total of 54 points in a single weekend, this means mathematically 5 drivers are still in contention. Realistically however, only the top 3 will have a shot to win the Astor Cup. Something extraordinary would have to happen for Ericsson or McLaughlin to clinch it, but never say never, it’s IndyCar after all.

James Black/Penske Entertainment

Previously at Laguna Seca

Colton Herta, who is not in the championship fight, has won the past two races at Laguna Seca. A win from him would drastically reduce the chances of someone taking the lead away from Power. However Andretti has been in poor form this season, so a win for them won’t be as easy said as done. 

 

Is it a done deal for Power?

If Will Power manages to finish the race at Laguna Seca this Sunday on one of the podium steps, it’s a done deal. But Power is known for the awful luck that has haunted him these past few seasons which finally seems to have been turned around. Will he be able to keep it away?

Newgarden is currently tied with Scott Dixon for second in the championship. He’s scored ahead as he has five wins compared to Scott Dixon’s two. 

However, Newgarden could’ve led the championship if the second race at Iowa didn’t end so dramatically for him. He was comfortably leading the race at a trackhe’s so good at when a failure made him crash out of the race. Though every championship contender will have their what-if stories and there’s no time to dwell on the past.

Chris Owens//Penske Entertainment

Huge amount of points to earn

Now will Power get his second, Newgarden his third, Dixon his seventh or will we have a new champion in Ericsson or Mclaughlin? 

The winner of a race earns 50 points but across the weekend driver will be able to earn bonus points as well. A pole position will land a driver an extra point. Leading a lap during the race will gain a driver a point as well, and leading the most laps is worth an additional two points.

These bonus points make for many variations on a potential championship outcome. Fans will be able to follow the points as they run on the IndyCar app, making it easier to keep track of as a viewer. 

 

The rookie battle and starting positions

The battle for the overall championship won’t be the only one going on. Christian Lundgaard currently leads David Malukas by 5 points in the Rookie of the Year battle. It’s all to play for between the two. 

Another important thing to note is, that only 2 races out of 25 at Laguna Seca have been won from outside the top 3. This means qualifying on pole will be important for the contenders, both for the point and track position.

James Black/Penske Entertainment

Consistency from Will Power

Power has got himself in this position by finishing in the top 5 in eleven out of sixteen races this season. So without those 50 points for the win, it becomes insanely difficult for Newgarden and Dixon. If they were to win the race Power would have to finish fourth without a single bonus point while Newgarden or Dixon would need at least two bonus points. Should Power finish fifth, Newgarden or Dixon would only need the win. Only from an eight place finish or lower for Power, a second place would give them a chance at the title as long as they score all the bonus points.

 

A breakdown of how Championship points will work based on the results of the final IndyCar race.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eline follows a variety of motorsports from Formula E to IMSA to Nascar to WEC. They hope to study Mechanical Engineering to work in motorsports one day.

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