Revised IndyCar manufacturer standings make debut in St. Petersburg

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This was a bit lost in the shuffle this past week, but good on the Verizon IndyCar Series for providing a 411 primer on how the new Manufacturer’s Championship points standings work after the opening round of the season, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

A simplified 9-6 points system was in play each of the last two years, for the top eligible driver from either Chevrolet or Honda earning the manufacturer points. Chevrolet has taken both of the last two championships.

Now, with the manufacturer points awarded to the top five drivers overall, there is a chance for greater fluctuation race-to-race.

Here’s why: After St. Petersburg, Chevrolet leads Honda 122-72. Via IndyCar.com, here’s the breakdown:

Chevrolet (122)

50 – Points to race winner Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske
35 – Points to third-place Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske
32 – Points to fourth-place Scott Dixon, No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing
2 – Bonus points to Power for leading the most race laps (74 of 110)
1 – Bonus point to Power, Castroneves and Mike Conway in No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka car for Ed Carpenter Racing for leading a lap

Honda (72)

40 – Points to runner-up Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport
30 – Points to fifth-place Simon Pagenaud, No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports
1 – Bonus point to Takuma Sato, No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing, for earning Verizon P1 Award
1 – Bonus point to Sato for leading a lap

More points will come both at the Indianapolis 500 qualifying rounds and the three 500-miler race weekends, where double points will be awarded.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.