Incredible championship run

By now, all NTT INDYCAR SERIES fans probably know the basic statistics surrounding the Race for the Championship with two races remaining in the season.

A quick review:

  • Seven drivers remain mathematically eligible to lift the Astor Challenge Cup as champion with two races to go. (WATCH: Driver Classification)
  • Championship leader Will Power is ahead of his Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden by just three points with two races remaining.
  • Just 17 points separate Power from fourth place Marcus Ericsson.
  • Any driver falling behind by 54 points or more after this Sunday’s Portland Grand Prix (3 pm ET, NBC and INDYCAR Radio Network) will be eliminated from title contention before the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Sunday September 11. Right now, Scott McLaughlin is sixth, 54 points behind, with Pato O’Ward seventh, 58 behind Power.

With the penultimate race of the season taking place this weekend at Portland International Raceway, it’s time to dig into the numbers of this incredible championship race.

  • The three points separating Power and Newgarden is the narrowest margin with two races remaining since 2008. The 43 points separating the top five drivers in the championship is the closest title fight since 2003, when 41 points separated the top five. The average deficit with two races remaining since 2008 is 24.3 points.
  • No point of advantage is certain in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Since 2008, one driver has erased a deficit with two races to go and won the series championship five times. Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon have done it twice. Franchitti trailed Ryan Briscoe by 25 points in 2009 and Will Power by 17 points in 2010; Ryan Hunter-Reay trailed Power in 2012 after dropping 36 points with two races remaining, Dixon overcame an eight-point deficit to Helio Castroneves in 2013 and finished third, 34 points behind Juan Pablo Montoya, in 2015.
  • Power took over the points lead following the Gallagher Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30. The lead has changed hands seven times between McLaughlin, Newgarden, Alex Palou, Power and Ericsson.
  • This is the fourth time in his illustrious career that Power has led the INDYCAR SERIES standings with two races remaining. He won the title in 2014, but passed for the crown in 2010 and 2012.
  • Portland International Raceway is a decent crystal ball to pick an INDYCAR SERIES champion. Eleven winners from the previous 27 INDYCAR SERIES races on the 1,964-mile, 12-turn natural road course have won the season title in the same year. That’s a strike rate of 41 percent. The latest came last year, when Palou won in Portland en route to his first title of the season.
  • Newgarden holds the championship tiebreaker card if it ends up deadlocked for the points lead at the end of the season. Wins are the first tiebreaker, and Newgarden has five. Dixon, McLaughlin and O’Ward are second in that category with two apiece with just two races remaining.
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Finally, here’s a look at the Championship Race with two races to go from 2008-22, for some historical perspective.

YEAR

LEADER

SECOND

LEAD

CHAMPION

2008

Scott Dixon

Helio Castroneves

43

Scott Dixon

2009

ryan briscoe

Dario Franchitti

25

Dario Franchitti

2010

willpower

Dario Franchitti

17

Dario Franchitti

2011

Dario Franchitti

willpower

5

Dario Franchitti

2012

willpower

Ryan Hunter-Reay

36

Ryan Hunter-Reay

2013

Helio Castroneves

Scott Dixon

8

Scott Dixon

2014

willpower

Helio Castroneves

39

willpower

2015

John Paul Montoya

graham rahal

9

Scott Dixon (-34)

2016

Simon Pagenaud

willpower

twenty

Simon Pagenaud

2017

Joseph Newgarden

Scott Dixon

31

Joseph Newgarden

2018

Scott Dixon

alexander rossi

26

Scott Dixon

2019

Joseph Newgarden

Simon Pagenaud

38

Joseph Newgarden

2020

Scott Dixon

Joseph Newgarden

40

Scott Dixon

2021

Alex Palou

Duck O’Ward

25

Alex Palou

2022

willpower

Joseph Newgarden

3

?

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