IndyCar adjusts point structure for 2014

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NASCAR overhauled its Chase for the Cup this winter and Formula One added double points for the season finale at Abu Dhabi.

IndyCar, which had had its title go down to the final round of the championship in a pure, unaffected format since 2006, has now joined the points-changing party.

The Verizon IndyCar Series’ three 500-mile races at Indianapolis, Pocono and Fontana will all have double points.

A base for the win at the Indianapolis 500, for example, will be 100 points instead of 50, with second 80 (40), third 70 (35), fourth 64 (32) and fifth 60 (30). Points descend by four from there 56-52-48-44-40 down to 10th.

From 11th on back, the single point drop per position (11th-19, 12th-18, etc.) doubles as well. So it goes 38-36-34 and so on and so forth.

Additionally, to go along with the Indianapolis 500 revised qualifying structure, a new points format goes in there, too.

All qualifiers on the first day in spots 1-33 get points in descending order from 33 (first) down to 1 (33rd). On Sunday, when the fast nine is set, 9 points are on offer for the pole sitter and ninth will take home 1 point. A one-point drop per position fills the interim gaps.

In some respects, this counteracts the three double-header street course races that premiered in 2013. Scott Dixon racked up the most points from those six races last year.

There were other changes announced, too.

For manufacturer points, rather than 9 points to the top-scoring driver per manufacturer and 6 to the top driver of the second manufacturer per race, the top five will score per race. That descends 50-40-35-32-30 at the 15 non-500-mile races and 100-80-70-64-60 at the three 500-milers, for cars using one of their four assigned engines throughout the year.

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.

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.

Further details on the new engine changeout policy, initially revealed Tuesday on Trackside, were outlined as such:

  • 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 is 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.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”