IndyCar: Drivers can make up a lot of points in next month

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There’s a point to this story. Actually there’s a LOT of points to this story.

From May 14 through June 5, the Verizon IndyCar Series has plethora of points on offer in the standings to be earned in the next four races, as well as qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.

There’s this weekend’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, then the Indianapolis 500 qualifying, the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 (double points), and lastly the two-race Detroit doubleheader June 4-5.

Among drivers who could benefit the most in the next five races and really make a climb upward in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings are:

* Will Power: Missed the season-opening race at St. Petersburg with an inner ear infection. Even so, Power has mounted a surge in the next three races, to where he’s already up to seventh place in the standings with 94 points. But, he’s still 94 points behind Team Penske teammate and points leader Simon Pagenaud.

* Ryan Hunter-Reay: The 2012 IndyCar season champ and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner has one top-five and two top-10s, but is still mired back in the standings, currently ranked 10th with 87 points (101 behind Pagenaud). Is unlucky to not be higher because he’s run better than his results have shown.

* James Hinchcliffe: The Mayor of Hinchtown got off to a slow start and is still playing catch-up. Hinchcliffe comes into this weekend’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis ranked 12th in the standings with 75 points, 113 points behind Pagenaud.

* Marco Andretti: The grandson of Mario Andretti and son of Michael Andretti is mired in 17th place on the standings grid with just 61 points (127 behind Pagenaud).

MORE: IndyCar confirms 2016 rulebook updates, aero news, double points return

Following is a chart of how many points drivers can earn in each of the four races, as well as qualifying points and double points for the Indianapolis 500:

RACE FINISH POINTS (Indy Grand Prix and both Belle Isle races):
1) 50   2) 40   3) 35   4) 32   5) 30   6) 28   7) 26   8) 24   9) 22   10) 20
11) 19  12) 18  13) 17  14) 16 15) 15  16) 14  17) 13  18) 12  19) 11  20) 10
21) 9   22) 8   23) 7   24) 6   25-33) 5

* Most laps led (2 points); Led at least one lap (1 point)

INDIANAPOLIS 500 QUALIFYING RESULTS POINTS:

1) 42   2) 40   3) 38   4) 36   5) 34   6) 32   7) 30   8) 28   9) 26   10) 24
11) 23  12) 22  13) 21  14) 20  15) 19  16) 18  17) 17  18) 16  19) 15  20) 14
21) 13  22) 12  23) 11  24) 10  25) 9   26) 8   27) 7   28) 6   29) 5   30) 4
31) 3   32) 2   33) 1

INDIANAPOLIS 500 RESULTS DOUBLE POINTS:
1) 100   2) 80   3) 70   4) 64   5) 60   6) 56   7) 52   8) 48   9) 44   10) 40
11) 38   12) 36   13) 34   14) 32   15) 30   16) 28   17) 26  18) 24  19) 22  20) 20
21) 18   22) 16   23) 14   24) 12   25) 10   26) 10   27) 10  28) 10  29) 10  30) 10
31) 10   32) 10   33) 10

* Most laps led (2 points); Led at least one lap (1 point)

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Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III