Anybody got a calculator? Who can still win the IndyCar title?

The Verizon IndyCar season finale takes place this Sunday at the GoPro GP of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway in the wine country of northern California.

Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud has nearly an insurmountable lead over his teammate Will Power who is 43 points behind the Frenchman that has had the lead in the Championship battle for nearly the entire season.

It is not a total lost cause though as was the case last season, the final race pays double points. Last year that fact allowed Scott Dixon to catch Juan Pablo Montoya in points and snatch the title away from him as JPM tried desperately to pick up one more spot on the track to hang on to the points lead. Much like Pagenaud this year, JPM lead all of last season right up until the final checkered flag flew.

The scenarios are this:

If Pagenaud finishes ahead of power, it’s over. There’s nothing Power can do even if he grabs all of the available bonus points. Bonus points work like this:

  • 1 point for winning the pole
  • 1 point for leading a lap
  • 2 points for leading the most laps
  • 4 total bonus points available, max

Now if Power wins the race and collects the double points for the win, that would give him 50×2 or 100. If he grabbed all 4 available bonus points, that 104 points would put him up on Pagenaud by 61 points, forcing Simon to finish P4 or higher to hold on to his title. P4 in a double points race is worth 64 points so Pagenaud would win by 3 points.

P5 in a double points race is worth 60 points, so if Power wins, gets his 4 bonus points, but Pagenaud also picks up a bonus point by leading a lap and finishes P5, they finish tied on 616 points and Will Power would be the Champion by virtue of his 5 race wins to Pagenaud’s 4.

Bonus points could be big, but if Pagenaud finishes P4 or higher, he’s the new Champ even if Power gets them all and Simon gets none.

Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves are both 104 points behind Pagenaud tied for 3rd, but even if either of them were to win, collect all 4 bonus points, and Pagenaud DOES NOT DRIVE IN THE RACE, they would still only be tied in points and would not win the title because Pagenaud has won more races.

Got it?

Good. There will be a test later…

Image courtesy of

Eric Barnes @ebarnes442

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