FONTANA, Calif. -- Will Power takes a 17-point lead over Ryan Hunter-Reay into the championship-deciding MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships at Auto Club Speedway on Sept. 15.
How can Power clinch his first IZOD IndyCar Series title in the 250-lap race on the 2-mile oval? The bare bones answer is to finish ahead of his Andretti Autosport rival. Hunter-Reay’s possibilities for claiming his first title are more complicated (click on CHART HERE for championship points possibilities). In fact, there are 30 scenarios.
Even a victory doesn’t assure that Hunter-Reay will be hoisting the Astor Cup in the Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Victory Circle.
Both seem comfortable with their positions facing a 250-lap race on a 2-mile oval. Hunter-Reay joked that it’s fitting that he’s the hunter and Power the hunted.
“I definitely like the position we're in, chasing,” he said. “We've been doing that for most of the year. I think we've been getting better at it. We need to go out and focus on winning. That's really what it's going to be about. The race that we have in the first 250 is going to be a lot different than we have in the last 250. We could see a lot of comers and goers. It's going to be changing the entire time.”
A race victory is worth 50 points, while the runner-up is awarded 40 points. Third place receives 35 points and fourth gets 32. There is a two-point reduction for each position between fourth and 10th and a one-point reduction from 11th place (19 points) to 18th. Each entrant from 18th to 24th receives 12 points, and 10 points are awarded to entrants 25 and lower.
Bonus points also are crucial to the championship chase over the course of the season. The pole winner receives one additional point, while two points are awarded the driver who leads the most laps. Indianapolis 500 Pole Day bonus points are upped to 15 for the pole position to 10 for the 33rd qualifier.
Power has accumulated points from three victories, augmented by seven top-10 finishes and 10 top 10s. He’s also received 23 bonus points for five earned poles, leading the most laps in four races and 10 points for Indianapolis 500 qualifying. Hunter-Reay has garnered four victories, six top-five finishes and nine top 10s. He’s earned 17 bonus points for one pole, leading the most laps in two races and 12 points at Indianapolis.
CHAMPIONSHIP SCENARIOS QUICK LOOK
• If Hunter-Reay wins the race and takes the three bonus points, Power must finish second.
• If Hunter-Reay wins the race with two bonus points, Power must finish third with one bonus point.
• If Power starts the race and finishes 25 or 26th, Hunter-Reay must finish sixth or better to win the title.
• If Hunter-Reay wins the pole and the race, Power must finish third or better.
• If Hunter-Reay wins with no bonus points, Power must finish fourth with two bonus points or third with no bonus points.
• If Power starts the race and finishes 18-24th, Hunter-Reay must finish fifth or better, regardless of bonus points.
• In of a tiebreaker, Hunter-Reay has the edge with four wins over three for Power.
IZOD INDYCAR SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
1st = 50 points
2nd = 40 points
3rd = 35 points
4th = 32 points
5th = 30 points
6th = 28 points
7th = 26 points
8th = 24 points
9th =22 points
10th = 20 points
11th = 19 points
12th = 18 points
13th = 17 points
14th = 16 points
15th = 15 points
16th = 14 points
17th = 13 points
18th-24th = 12 points
25th-26th = 10 points
1 bonus point for winning pole
2 bonus points for leading the most laps.