Who Will Win the IndyCar Title at Homestead-Miami?

Dixon Wins in Japan

Dixon leads the IndyCar Championship heading into tomorrow's finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (photo courtesy: Chris McGrath, Getty Images Sport)

A little while back, reigning IndyCar Series champion—and 2008 Homestead-Miami race winner—Scott Dixon predicted that the 2009 Championship would be decided at Homestead-Miami Oct. 10.  Dixon was right and if qualifying was any indication of what tomorrow may bring in the Firestone Indy 300 - fans beware!

"It's what we expect for IndyCar," Dixon said. "It's going to come down to the final lap, the final corner of Miami."

Any driver within 53 points of the points lead is mathematically eligible for the IndyCar Series Championship Oct. 10 following the Firestone Indy 300.  Entering the Championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 10, three drivers can still win the title.  Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon leads his teammate Dario Franchitti and Team Penske pilot Ryan Briscoe heading into the IndyCar Series Championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 10.

After the race at Infineon Raceway, the IndyCar Series began its stretch run to the Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 10.  Infineon was the last road course on the schedule and the Championship would be settled on three ovals to conclude the season – culminating with the Firestone Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 10. 

For the fourth consecutive year, it will be a one-race shootout for the Championship, as the eight points separating first and third place in the points standings represent the second-closest margin in IndyCar Series history. Great seats for the Championship start at just $30, and all kids 12 and under are admitted FREE.

Dixon enters the Firestone Indy 300 on Oct. 10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with 570 points. Teammate Dario Franchitti is second with 565, and Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe has 562.  It's a winner-take-all scenario for Dixon and Franchitti - as it was in 2007, when Franchitti prevailed when Dixon ran out of fuel on the final lap at Chicagoland Speedway. 

Eight points between first and third is the second-closest margin in IndyCar Series history with only the Championship finale at Homestead-Miami remaining on the season schedule.  The five points between the first and second-place drivers is the fourth-closest in IndyCar history.  It will be the 10th time in 14 IndyCar Series seasons that the title will be decided at the final race.

"It's going to be a hell of a show at Homestead[-Miami Speedway]," Dario Franchitti echoed.

Dixon vaulted to the top of the standings with a victory in the Sept. 19 Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi, while Briscoe's miscue exiting pit lane led to an 18th-place finish and cost him a 41-point swing in the standings. Franchitti finished second at Japan—his 12th Top 5 result in 16 races.

"The good thing is that it's only eight points to Scott," said Briscoe, whose run of Top 5 finishes ended at seven (including two victories) following the race at Motegi. "I feel real good going into [Miami]. We've been strong on all the [1.5-mile] ovals this year, [but] it's going to be a tough one.”

The driver with the most points following the Firestone Indy 300 will clinch the championship. There are 276 scenarios to clinch the title based on a 23-car field entered in the race.  To clinch the title:

Scott Dixon must finish ahead of both Dario Franchitti and Ryan Briscoe regardless of where he finishes the race to clinch the title.  Franchitti needs to gain six points on Dixon and stay ahead of Briscoe. Dixon will clinch the title if he wins the race.

Ryan Briscoe needs to gain nine points on Dixon and four points on Franchitti to clinch the IndyCar Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 10.

o If Briscoe wins the PEAK Performance Pole Award and the race, he will win the IndyCar Series Championship.
o If Briscoe wins the race and leads the most laps, he will win the championship.
o If Briscoe wins the race but doesn't score any bonus points, Dixon can win the title if he finishes second and leads the most laps.

"It's going to be a crazy race," Dixon said. "Obviously, the three of us are going to be pushing to the maximum."

SCHEDULE of EVENTS

Friday – October 9, 2009

Time                                          Event
 9:00   AM                        Gates Open
 9:15  AM   10:45 AM        IndyCar Series PRACTICE
11:00 AM   12:00 PM        Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series PRACTICE
12:15 PM     1:15 PM         Firestone Indy Lights Series QUALIFYING
  1:30 PM     2:30 PM         IndyCar Series PRACTICE
  2:45 PM     3:30 PM         Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series QUALIFYING
  4:30 PM     5:45 PM         IndyCar Series QUALIFYING
  6:00 PM     7:00 PM         Firestone Indy Lights Series RACE

Saturday – October 10, 2009

Time     Event
 11:00 AM    Gates Open
   1:00 PM    Grand Prix of Miami – Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series RACE
   5:00 PM    Firestone Indy 300 – IndyCar Series RACE

Great seats are available now for the ChampionshipssmOct. 9-10 NextEra Energy Resources SPEEDJAM, featuring the series-crowning Championship finales of the Firestone Indy Lights, Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car and IndyCar Series. The Firestone Indy 300 is set for Oct. 10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with the Champion to be crowned under the lights. Great seats for the Championship start at just $30, and all kids 12 and under are admitted FREE.

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