Breaking down the IndyCar Series Championship
As for anyone else?
Well, after yesterday's race, six drivers remain mathematically in the championship hunt. Simon Pagenaud of Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports sits a distant 92 points back in third place, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (-108), Juan Pablo Montoya (-114) and Scott Dixon (-130) all technically still in the hunt.
Realistically? That might be a different story.
And if you're looking to make sense of double-points, bonus points, tiebreakers and the whole two races but three races worth of points thing, well, you've come to the right place.
• 24 career Indy car wins
• 36 poles
• Best championship finish: 2nd three times
Can Power clinch the title at Sonoma?
No. There are scenarios, in which he can eliminate Pagenaud, Montoya, Hunter-Reay and Dixon. But Power cannot mathematically eliminate Castroneves from contention this weekend. Even if Power were to score maximum points and Castroneves didn't run, the Brazilian will go to Auto Club Speedway with a mathematical chance of winning the title.
But a win this weekend would go a long way to helping the title cause?
Yes. Should he win this weekend, Power would need no more than an eighth-place finish at Fontana in two weeks to clinch the title. A win also would eliminate Hunter-Reay, Montoya and Dixon. Further, if Power wins, and Pagenaud finished worse than second, the Frenchman would be eliminated from title contention.
The simplest way for Power to win the title in the last two races is….a finish of second or better at both Sonoma and Fontana clinches the title for Power, no matter what any of the other contenders do.
• 29 career wins
• 44 career poles
• Best championship finish: 2nd, three times
To win the title Castroneves must…Outscore Power by 40 points in the remaining two races (keep in mind Power has tiebreaker advantage, over Castroneves). While winning both of the final races will help, Castroneves does not control his own destiny, as Power can finish second twice and win.
• 4 career Indy car wins
• 1 career Indy car pole
• Best championship finish: 3rd once
Can Pagenaud be eliminated from title contention this weekend?
Yes. If Power outscores the Frenchman by 13 or more points, Pagenaud will be eliminated from title contention.
Presuming Power starts both races, to win title Pagenaud must at minimum...Finish in the top-two in one of the final races. Also, if Pagenaud finishes outside the top-3 at Sonoma, he will need to win Fontana and receive help to beat Power.
Pagenaud is also eliminated if…
Ryan Hunter-Reay, 494 points
• 12 career Indy car wins
• 15 career poles
• 2000 CART Champion
Montoya is mathematically eliminated at Sonoma if…He doesn’t outscore Power by at least 11 points, and/or Castroneves outscores him by 32 or more points.
Presuming Power starts both races, to have any shot at the title Montoya must…Win one of the remaining races, preferably Fontana. Even with a victory at Sonoma, anything worse than second at Fontana means Montoya would be relying on bonus points.
Montoya is also eliminated if…
• Power scores 44 or more points in the remaining two races.
• Castroneves scores 84 or more points in the remaining two races
• Pagenaud scores 137 or more points
• Hunter-Reay scores 152 or more points
• 34 career wins
• 23 career poles
• 2003, 2008 and 2013 IndyCar Series champion
Dixon is mathematically eliminated at Sonoma if…He does not finish sixth or better.
Presuming Power starts both races, to have any shot at the title Dixon must…Win both Sonoma and Fontana and get A LOT of help.
Dixon is also eliminated in the last two races if:
• Power scores 28 or more points
• Castroneves scores 68 or more points
• Pagenaud scores 121 or more points
• Hunter-Reay scores 136 or more points
• Montoya scores 143 or more points
Brian Carroccio is a columnist for AutoRacing1. He can be contacted at BrianC@AutoRacing1.com.
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