What would an Olympic-style medals table look like in F1 and IndyCar?

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The timing of the Olympic Games in Rio couldn’t be better for racing fans.

In F1’s three-week summer break, we’ve got plenty of sport to keep us occupied before the grand prix season resumes at the end of the month in Belgium, while IndyCar’s lull between Mid-Ohio and Pocono has also come at a good time.

Naturally, the focus on Rio has led to the four-yearly debate as to why motorsport isn’t an Olympic event.

The closest thing we currently have to a nation versus nation battle is the Race of Champions, last won by England in London last November.

A1 GP was a series based entirely on nations going head-to-head, and proved to be a decent feeder series, with the likes of Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez, Oliver Jarvis, Loic Duval, Marco Andretti, JR Hildebrand and Charlie Kimball all racing before it folded in 2009.

So in the absence of motorsport at the Olympic Games, we have to play ‘what would be’.

Here’s how the medal tables would look like in Formula 1 and IndyCar, based on the results in 2016 so far.

Naturally, a first-place finish equals a gold medal, with silver for second and bronze for third.

FORMULA 1

When it comes to F1, it’s worth noting that the Olympic-style medals system was actually considered ahead of the 2009 season.

Bernie Ecclestone wanted to place a greater emphasis on winning races so that drivers would not just settle for second, so suggested that the champion be whichever driver won the most grands prix.

The idea was ultimately binned – thankfully, as Jenson Button won six of the opening seven races that year and would have wrapped up the title with three races to spare.

So what would the 2016 medals table look like?

POS NATION GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
1 Great Britain 6 2 1 9
2 Germany 5 4 3 12
3 Netherlands 1 2 1 4
4 Finland 0 2 3 5
5 Australia 0 2 1 3
6 Mexico 0 0 2 2
7 Russia 0 0 1 1

Just as in the actual drivers’ championship, Great Britain is on top thanks to Lewis Hamilton. His six victories in the past seven races vault Team GB ahead of Germany, the three-time world champion being responsible for all nine of its medals.

Germany is one of just two nations on the table to have more than one driver contributing to its haul, which is, in fact, more than Great Britain’s. Nico Rosberg offers five golds, a silver and a bronze, Sebastian Vettel chipping in with three silvers and two bronzes.

Despite only winning four medals, the Netherlands sits third thanks to Max Verstappen’s victory in Spain. Finland follows in fourth, its medals being split between Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas.

Daniel Ricciardo has been in superb form this season, sitting third in the drivers’ championship, but he has scored just three podium finishes to put Australia fifth in the medals table. Only Mexico (two bronzes via Sergio Perez) and Russia (one bronze thanks to Daniil Kvyat) rank lower.

INDYCAR

Despite having a greater number of different podium finishers (14) through the season than F1 (9), IndyCar’s medals table still only features seven nations – but only one appears on both tables: Australia.

POS NATION GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
1 France 5 3 0 8
2 Australia 3 2 1 6
3 USA 2 2 5 9
4 Colombia 1 1 2 4
5 New Zealand 1 1 1 3
6 Brazil 0 3 1 4
7 Canada 0 0 2 2

Much like F1, the leading nation in the drivers’ championship is the leading nation in the medals table.

Simon Pagenaud’s four victories have put him in prime position to win a maiden IndyCar title with three-and-a-half races to run, and it is also enough to give France top spot. However, his contribution is aided by Sebastien Bourdais’ victory in Detroit.

Australia sits second thanks to Will Power, with all but one bronze (scored with P3 in Long Beach) coming in the past five races.

Team USA has more medals than any other nation (9), but just two wins – Alexander Rossi at the Indianapolis 500 and Josef Newgarden in Iowa – means it sits third in the table. The silvers come courtesy of Graham Rahal and Conor Daly.

Colombia benefits from having multiple drivers on the grid to sit fourth, the decisive third-place finish to move it clear of New Zealand/Scott Dixon coming from Carlos Munoz last time out in Mid-Ohio.

Olympic host nation Brazil has four medals via Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan, while Canada ranks seventh thanks to James Hinchcliffe.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)