The NTT IndyCar Series returns to historic WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. to culminate the 17-race season and crown a new champion at this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. Josef Newgarden, Alexander Rossi, Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon are the remaining title contenders as the NTT IndyCar Series makes its debut at the demanding 2.258-mile permanent road course. It also marks Indy car racing’s first appearance at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca since the Champ Car World Series race in 2004.
In addition to the NTT IndyCar Series championship being on the line, there are tight battles for rookie-of-the-year honors and the engine manufacturer’s crown.
Honda is pursuing its second consecutive engine manufacturer championship, owning a 34-point advantage (1,351-1,317) over Chevrolet heading into Sunday’s season-closing Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. Honda, buoyed by seven wins on the season, had a 73-point cushion going into the penultimate race at Portland, but a victory by Team Penske’s Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet) helped Chevrolet cut the deficit by more than half with one race to go. Chevrolet, which won six consecutive engine manufacturer crowns beginning with its return to the series in 2012 through 2017, has nine victories on the season, including four in the last six races.
The engine manufacturer championship points are awarded to the top two finishing full-season entrants for each manufacturer in a race using the same points structure as used for entrant and driver points (50 points for first, 40 for second, etc.). A car is not eligible to receive manufacturer points if it is using its fifth engine (or more) on the season. If that is the case, points are awarded based on the finish of the next highest eligible car for that manufacturer.
Those cars that already have exceeded that number heading into the season finale are the #2 (Josef Newgarden), #12 (Will Power) and #20 (Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter) for Chevrolet and #10 (Felix Rosenqvist), #18 (Sebastien Bourdais), #19 (Santino Ferrucci), #27 (Alexander Rossi), #30 (Takuma Sato) and #88 (Colton Herta) for Honda.
With this event being a double points race, it will be the same for the manufacturers on finishing positions. The engine manufacturers also are awarded an additional five points for a race win and one point for the pole.