IRL Change Point System
Unlike the previous season, the race winner will not be awarded the same number of points as before – except for the best-case scenario when a driver would win from pole position and finish the race with the highest number of laps led.
Starting the season opener in St. Petersburg less than a month from now, the driver leading the most laps during a race will be awarded only 2 points at the finish line (not 3, like before), while the 3rd point will go to the pole winner. The change was introduced in order to spice things up in the qualifying sessions and give the drivers something to fight for on Saturday.
In addition, the pole winners in 2009 will also receive a $10,000 PEAK Performance Pole Award prize for each event, except for the famous Indianapolis 500 event, when multiplied by 10 (an impressive $100,000 prize for the fastest driver in the qualifying session).
Apart from the extra point for the pole sitter – no points were actually added, only subtracted from the previous 3 bonus points – no changes were brought to the initial point system. As before, the race winner will be awarded 50 points, the runner-up 40 points and 3rd place 35 points. The rest of the field will receive 32-30-28-26-24-22-20-19-18-17-16-15-14-13-12-12-12-12-12-12-12-10-10-10-etc, as before.
In a point simulation of the new system for the previous years, no alterations to the overall classification would have happened, except for the 2006 season. Sam Hornish Jr. then tied Dan Wheldon at 475 points, with Helio Castroneves finished 3rd with 473 points. With the new system, Hornish would have still won the series, only Castroneves would have come 2nd, level on points with the Penske driver.