For the 2010 season, and counting retrospectively back to the start of the year, the IZOD IndyCar Series will be awarding a trophy to the driver who scores the most points on road and street courses, and the driver who scores the most points on ovals.
I think this is a fantastic idea. This is something no other major series can legitimately offer, the NASCAR Sprint Cup could do it but it only has two road course races. It doesn’t detract from the main championship and gives teams and drivers another means of generating publicity and sponsorship, something this series has been doing (or not) woefully inadequately in the past.
It also gives us fans (and bloggers) something else to talk about, and that’s never a bad thing. Fans of all sorts of sports love talking about different strengths and weaknesses and slicing up wins/points in different ways, and racing fans are no different. Now we can talk about drivers doing well in the oval points year after year and struggling on road courses, or vice versa – just as we always did of course, but this time we have a barometer to measure it with. Fairly arbitrary of course because it depends on the points weightings, but what sports ranking isn’t arbitrary, really?
Perhaps the only other type of racing the concept could apply to is rallying, they could offer a gravel trophy and an asphalt trophy. I wonder if that is something the WRC should consider? That’s potentially a whole other blog post.
The interesting twist to these two trophies is the fan interaction. The trophies themselves will be named for famous and/or notable drivers from the over-100 year history of Indy racing. The IndyCar media whittled down a large number of names to a choice of 5 in each category, and now it is our job to vote. Here are the choices:
- Mario Andretti
- Rick Mears
- AJ Foyt Jr
- Ted Horn
- Bill Vukovich
- Alex Zanardi
- Mark Donahue
- Dan Gurney
- Al Unser Jr
- Mario Andetti
Such a selection encompassing drivers from most eras, and a broad smile crossed my face at the inclusion of Zanardi. I’m not sure he’s right for the trophy but it was right that he was nominated. Mario is rightfully included on both lists, the only driver with that honour.
My picks? I reckon the Bill Vukovich Trophy and the Mario Andretti Trophy sound pretty damned good.
HERE is the voting page. Two polls on the page, and you can vote once per day in each poll.
The winner of the vote for the oval trophy will be named next weekend during the Texas weekend, and the road trophy will be named over the Watkins Glen round on the first weekend in July.
Interestingly while these will be named and of course the Indy 500 victor wins the Borg Warner Trophy (or a replica of it), the main series championship doesn’t have a name. Will that be next?
We are at the rebirth of Indy racing after many years of division and distrust. Now everyone is positive and looking forward and coming up with all these creative ideas, and it is such a delight and pleasure to behold. I’m really enjoying it.