Want proof that North America’s premier open-wheel series is competitive? For the 17th straight year, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, to use its proper name, will decide its season championship at its final event, coming up this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on the coast of central California. This year’s major difference is that for the first time, five drivers have a mathematical shot at the season crown going into the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. And unlike some other branches of motorsport, INDYCAR does not rely on a manufactured playoff system to anoint its champion.
Scott McLaughlin punched his way into the championship quintet by winning last weekend’s series stop in Portland, with a total of 482 points going into Laguna Seca. The other contenders are Will Power (leading with 523 points), Josef Newgarden (503), Scott Dixon (also 503) and this year’s Indianapolis 500 winner, Marcus Ericsson (484). Power can lock up his second season title – the first came in 2014 – by finishing third or better at Laguna Seca.