ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Will Power expects the competition to be even more of a level playing field with the elimination of double points for the Indianapolis 500.
In recent years, in order to juice up competition and to place more importance on doing well in the “500”, the series made points awarded towards the series championship to drivers taking part in the race worth double what they would usually be for any other race on the calendar.
During the off-season, IndyCar announced that points for “the greatest spectacle in racing” will be worth the same as other races on the schedule.
“Let’s just say that it probably takes some desperation out,” Power said of the rule change. “They are all pay the same points this year, so it shouldn’t matter, but it allows you to have a lull and then still be in the game at the end.”
The Indy 500 in the last few years has been where drivers contending for a championship in the early part of the season have been able to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, making it difficult for others to catch back up over the remainder of the season.
Power added that this will also allow drivers to take more risks at Indy.
“It certainly allows you to attack more at Indy,” Power said. “You’re not as guarded if you are in the top ten or the top five when you could just sit there in 5th knowing you can’t get to the front and win, and just sit there and protect those double points. I’m glad it’s changed.”
The series will open its 2023 campaign this weekend as 27 drivers will take spots on the grid when the green flag drops at the Firestone GP of St. Petersburg. That is the highest amount of full-time drivers to compete in the IndyCar paddock in over a decade.
Practice starts tomorrow (Friday) with qualifying on Saturday and the race is scheduled to start a 12:00 pm EDT on Sunday.
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