IndyCar Championship; It’s A Numbers Game

What is the magic number to remain in contention for the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series championship? Five-time series champion Scott Dixon hopes it’s no less than 62, which is how many points he is out of the lead with four races to go in the season. However, recent history is working against the veteran driver from Chip Ganassi Racing.

In the five years in which double points have been awarded in the season’s final race, only two drivers have come from behind in the last four races to take the title. One of them was Team Penske’s Will Power, who only trailed teammate Helio Castroneves by 13 points at this late stage in 2014, and the other was Dixon in 2015. Dixon erased Juan Pablo Montoya’s 54-point lead by tying him and winning the championship on a tiebreaker.

Dixon came from 39 points behind in 2013 while Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti rallied from 59 points down in 2010. In other words, big rallies are difficult to come by.

Heading into this year’s final four races, Josef Newgarden of Team Penske leads Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi by 16 points. Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud is 47 points out of the lead. Dixon stands fourth – 62 points behind — with the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway up next Sunday, Aug. 18 at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Realistically, those are the championship contenders.