Thursday, October 22nd, 2020


2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion to Be Crowned at Season Finale For 15th Consecutive Season

Qualifying from St. Pete Begins Saturday Live at 3 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold; Encore Presentation on NBCSN Saturday at 8 p.m. ET

Leigh Diffey Speaks with Dixon and Newgarden ahead of Championship Finale

“We’ve got two champions that represent power teams in the sport both trying to add to their championship tallies.” – Leigh Diffey

STAMFORD, Conn. – Oct. 22, 2020 – The 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Championship will be decided this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, as five-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon battles reigning champion Josef Newgarden for the season title at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

The result of Sunday’s season finale will have historic ramifications. Some notable information on both contending drivers is below:

  • Dixon and Newgarden have combined to win 5 of the last 7 championships, including the past three:
    • Dixon: 2018, 2015, 2013
    • Newgarden: 2019, 2017
  • If Dixon wins,
    • He would capture his sixth series championship – second-most all time behind A.J. Foyt (seven)
  • Newgarden won the season opener at St. Pete last year, with Dixon finishing second.

Dixon has never won the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and has not finished better than eighth in his four prior starts, but is coming off a win in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta last weekend.

Trailing Dixon by only 32 points, Newgarden has an opportunity to win the title over Dixon if he finishes second or better and Dixon finishes 23rd or worse. Dixon, on the other hand, will clinch the championship with a finish of ninth or better, regardless of what Newgarden does.

Live INDYCAR coverage from St. Pete begins this Saturday with practice exclusively on NBC Sports Gold’s INDYCAR Pass at 10:55 a.m. ET. On Saturday afternoon, qualifying will be featured live at 3 p.m. on INDYCAR Pass, while an encore presentation will be shown in the evening on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET.

Sunday’s season finale green flag will wave shortly after 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

NBC Sports’ lead INDYCAR broadcast team of Leigh Diffey (play-by-play), 2003 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg winner Paul Tracy (analyst), and Townsend Bell (analyst) will have the call of the Championship race. Marty Snider and Kevin Lee will provide reports from pit road.

Diffey spoke with both Championship contenders earlier this week. You can view his interview with Dixon here and his conversation with Newgarden here. A few highlighted quotes from the drivers as well as Diffey and Bell previewing the Championship race are below:

Dixon on mentality heading into the season finale: “You’ve got to keep it simple. You don’t want to complicate things, make things cloudly, say ‘we only need to be ninth, doesn’t matter where we qualify,’ that kind of thing. You don’t want to put yourself in that situation because then you become more vulnerable…I would much prefer the situation we’re in then the situation Josef (Newgarden) is in, but it doesn’t guarantee you anything…We’re going there to win and that’s what we’re going to try and do.”

Newgarden on Streets of St. Petersburg race circuit: “The fun of a street course at St. Pete is that you don’t really know what is going to happen. It can cause some chaos, which is not a bad thing, it spices up the race…For me, it says opportunity is going to be present.”

Townsend Bell on Sunday’s championship race: “Obviously, Scott Dixon going for his sixth championship is the most significant storyline, but statistically this weekend represents a bit of a perfect storm. Josef Newgarden won last year’s race at St. Pete, and Scott Dixon coming off what is essentially the worst four-race stretch in his career since 2005. But Dixon won at Road Atlanta last weekend in the IMSA Petit Le Mans, and anyone who knows Scott Dixon knows he’s the last guy in the paddock to panic when the pressure is ratcheted up.”

Leigh Diffey: “We couldn’t ask for more – for the 15th consecutive year, the title is going to be decided at the last race of the season. We’ve got two champions that represent power teams in the sport both trying to add to their championship tallies. Scott Dixon is trying to create a history mark in the sport as he aims for his sixth career championship, something that hasn’t been done in 45 years.”

Below is this weekend’s INDYCAR coverage from St. Pete across NBC Sports:

Date Coverage Network/Platform Time (ET)
Sat., Oct. 24 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – Practice 1 NBC Sports Gold 10:55 a.m.
  Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – Qualifying NBC Sports Gold 3 p.m.
  Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – Qualifying* NBCSN 8 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 25 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – Warmup NBC Sports Gold 10:40 a.m.
  Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg NBC 2:30 p.m.

* same-day delay