IRL announces 2 championships in one
The Indy Racing League announced today plans to institute oval and road title contests within the overall IZOD IndyCar Series driver championship beginning with the 2010 season.
Using the current championship points system, the highest-scoring oval and road/street drivers will be crowned champion of their respective racing discipline. The road title will culminate on Aug. 22 at Infineon Raceway, while the oval contest will conclude Sept. 19 at Twin Ring Motegi. The Oct. 2 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be reserved to honor the overall IZOD IndyCar Series champion.
Drivers will compete for bonuses presented to both category champions, with the purse to be announced at a later date.
"The IZOD IndyCar Series offers one of the most challenging and diverse schedules in all of motorsports," said Randy Bernard, chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League. "We want to recognize the drivers that master the disciplines that make up this sport as they pursue the ultimate prize - the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. We feel this platform will give added value to events on our schedule and creates more momentum behind the drivers and teams that excel at ovals and road races."
Fans will have an opportunity to select the name of the trophies awarded to both the oval and road champion, which will honor legends of the sport. Media representatives will be asked to nominate the greatest oval and road racers of all time. From those nominations, the top-five nominees from each discipline will be posted to a fan vote at www.indycar.com in late May through early June. The league will work with the legends to secure the rights to names for the trophies. The oval trophy honoree will be announced during the IZOD IndyCar Series event weekend at Texas Motor Speedway while the road trophy honoree will be revealed at Watkins Glen International.
"The sport of Indy car racing has such a long and storied legacy of so many accomplished legends that we feel this is a great way to honor their accomplishments," Bernard said. "Many of our current drivers admire these legends, so why not have them vie for a trophy named in honor of the drivers they strive to emulate."
There are nine road/street races on the 2010 schedule that will constitute the road championship, with scoring retroactively starting at the beginning of the season. Through the first four road/street events - Brazil, St. Petersburg, Barber Motorsports Park and Long Beach - Will Power leads the road championship over Helio Castroneves and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Races remaining include Watkins Glen International (July 4), streets of Toronto (July 18), Edmonton City Centre Airport (July 25), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Aug. 8) and Infineon Raceway (Aug. 22).
The equally challenging and competitive package of races eligible for the oval championship kick off May 1 with the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at the 1.5-mile, variably-banked Kansas Speedway. Succeeding oval races will be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (May 30), Texas Motor Speedway (June 5), Iowa Speedway (June 20), Chicagoland Speedway (Aug. 28), Kentucky Speedway (Sept. 4) and Twin Ring Motegi (Sept. 19).