Scott Dixon

Today’s question: How many wins will a driver need to win the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship in 2024?

Curt Cavin: Over the past 10 years, the average number of wins for the series champion is 3.5, but it seems to me titles are won more with top-end consistency. But I’ll play along with the question. Given that only Scott Dixon has multiple wins in this first half of the season, I’ll take the under on 3.5. I say that because six of the remaining 10 races are on ovals, and I expect Josef Newgarden to win at least three of those without taking the title. I continue to think Alex Palou will become a back-to-back champion, and he will do so on the strength of another road course win (maybe Portland) and his first career oval win (likely at Iowa). That’s three wins for the champ.

Eric Smith: Interesting that since the unification of the INDYCAR SERIES in 2008, 14 of the last 15 years the season champion produced three to six wins. With Scott Dixon being the lone driver in the paddock with multiple victories this season, trends say it will take at least two victories in the final 10 races to claim the championship. Also interesting is that over the last six seasons, the eventual champion rode consistency over the second half of the season to claim the Astor Challenge Cup with Palou scoring one win over the final seven races of his 2021 championship-winning season and a lone victory over the final eight races last season. Dixon went winless in the final five races of 2018 and final six of 2020. Newgarden was winless in the final five races of 2019. Power was winless in the final 10 races of the 2022 season. I agree with Curt and his assessment that Newgarden will win multiple times on ovals this season but not claim the championship, opening the door for a consistent run to claim the Astor Challenge Cup. With how close the margin is up top (11 points separate the top three) and parity we’re witnessing, it’s going to take three wins to claim this year’s title.

Paul Kelly: I think we’re looking at a year in which the champion won’t have the most victories, much like Will Power in 2022 when he won just once en route to the title while Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden won five races. In fact, I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if we see a repeat of 2022, with Power taking the title despite Newgarden ending up with four wins because, like Curt and Eric, I expect Joe New to win at least three of the six remaining oval races on the schedule. But I don’t think Power – or closest title pursuer Alex Palou – can get away with just one win and still take the title this year, like he did in 2022. It will take three wins to hoist the Astor Cup this season, whether it’s Power or Palou winning two more races or Scott Dixon winning one. That will hold steady with the trend of 14 of the last 15 INDYCAR SERIES champions earning at least three wins.