23 September 2010

The Hidden Points of Edmonton

First, it's been nine days since writing, which doesn't sit right with me.  I apologize - between transitioning jobs and the IZOD IndyCar Series closing the season on a bye week-race-bye week schedule, I just haven't had much to write about.

With that in mind, it's time we thoroughly examine something we have been harping upon for the better part of three weeks: the hypothetical scenario in which Helio Castroneves would be a championship contender if he had been given the win at Edmonton.

Looking at the numbers, if Castroneves had been awarded the win at Edmonton, he would still be out of the points title, trailing by 51 points entering the season's final race at Homestead-Miami.  In our mock results, Castroneves took first and 50 points, with Scott Dixon being awarded second and the 40 points (if blocking wasn't called on Castroneves why would it be on Dixon?).

With Will Power finishing third and receiving 38 points (for the pole and laps led bonuses), he held six more points than Dario Franchitti, who was fourth in our scenario, picking up 32 points.

Thus, in our mock standings entering Homestead, Power is the series points leader with 582 points; the Australian is actually the loser in the points rearrangement, as he leads Franchitti by just 10 points instead of the 12 he will carry into the series finale.  By moving from 43 points to 38 (while Franchitti went from 35 to 32), Power would be in a similar, but more precarious situation.

Castroneves would hold a 44-point advantage over Dixon for third, sitting on 531 points.

As the points stand now, Power can finish directly behind Franchitti and win the title, provided Franchitti does not capture the maximum 53 points.  In our mock championship, Franchitti could win and lead the most laps (or capture the pole and win) and win the title.

For Castroneves, it isn't Edmonton that served as the death knell for his season; instead, it was the wreck with Vitor Meira at Toronto that threw his championship aspirations out the window.  With a car capable of running up front, Castroneves jumped the gun on a pass of the slower Meira in an attempt to retake the lead - when the pass failed, Castroneves was out of the race with 12 points to show for it.

So instead of wondering where Castroneves would stand without Edmonton, perhaps its time to focus on how the points standings would be different for both Power and Franchitti if they had finished behind Castroneves in Alberta.

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