It’s too early to tell if WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the original site of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season finale, will host the last race of the year, but wherever it ends up being held, there are no plans for the venue to deliver double points.
Under the original 2020 IndyCar calendar, the Indianapolis 500 and the championship showdown in Monterey were meant to pay double-points. RACER has learned that in reaction to the coronavirus-shortened calendar that currently has the May 30-31 Detroit Grand Prix as the championship opener, the series has abandoned its recent practice of doubling the points on offer for the last race of the year.
The revised plans only involve changing the season finale to pay standard points; the Indy 500 will continue to deliver double points.
Teams and driver have been divided on the topic of double points being attached to the season finale since it was introduced in 2015. The most notable benefactor of the double-points system was that year’s title winner Scott Dixon, who entered the last round at Sonoma sitting third in the standings, trailing championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya by 47 points.
With Team Penske’s Montoya at 500 points and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dixon on 453, vaulting past Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in second (34 points arrears) was the first order of business, After capturing the double-points win in the wine country, Dixon’s ascent to his fifth IndyCar title was aided by Rahal’s miserable day where he finished 18th, and Montoya’s unspectacular run to sixth, which left the Colombian and the New Zealander tied at 556 points. In the final tally, Dixon’s four wins on the season to Montoya’s two tipped the championship in his favor
“Dixon had a **** season all year and had one good race, and we paid the penalty,” the Colombian said afterwards, showing his frustration at leading the standings until the the conclusion of the last race.
Although the move to award single points for the 2020 finale has been made in reaction to the shortened season, it’s unclear whether IndyCar will return to using double points in 2021, or stick with the Indy 500 as the only double points race on the calendar.