IndyCar Series leader Will Power takes a 12-point lead over defending series champion Dario Franchitti into Saturday night's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
This is the fifth straight year that the IndyCar Series title has come down to the final race of the season, and as some open-wheel enthusiasts will note, the title is contested over a full season and not over the last 10 races, as some other series do to "manufacture" drama.
But as cool as the IndyCar title races have been — remember Scott Dixon running out of fuel to give Dario Franchitti the 2007 title on the last lap at Chicagoland? — it's a little disingenuous to give that line of thinking much credibility. The IndyCar Series schedule is only 17 races this season — less than half the total length of the Sprint Cup schedule. (After Race 17 this season, Kevin Harvick had a 105-point lead over Jimmie Johnson.) And remember, this is also the series that instituted oval and road course sub-championships. Those alone make any argument against NASCAR's format moot.
Still, the potential for "real" drama is very high, given Power and Franchitti's successes this season. Power, in his first full season for Team Penske, is probably the series' best driver on road courses but has struggled in only his second season racing on ovals. Franchitti may be the series' best overall driver and even the favorite to take the title thanks to his success on ovals and wins at Indianapolis and Chicagoland.
If you don't get your racing fix from the Nationwide Series Saturday afternoon and Florida-Alabama turns into a rout, flip on over to Versus Saturday night. And all you vehement anti-Chasers, season-long title races that come down to the last lap are what you love, right?