The IndyCar championship will be decided on Saturday night with either Will Power or Ryan Hunter-Reay winning the title. That might not be the biggest story though as Penske Racing is said to be trying to convince Hunter-Reay to sign with them at the end of the season.
You would think that the battle for the IndyCar championship between Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay would be the top story heading into Saturday night’s season finale at Fontana but that may not be the case. Hunter-Reay is in the last year of his current contract with Andretti Autosport and guess who is courting him? Yep, it is Penske Racing, who just happens to have Will Power as one of their top drivers. It makes for a lot of intrigue in Saturday’s MATV 500 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
Hunter-Reay is having his best IndyCar season as he already has four wins and heads into Saturday’s season finale at Fontana trailing Power by 17 points for the points lead. It is definitely no coincidence that Roger Penske is said to be courting Hunter-Reay at this time. Hunter-Reay has said that he has not made a decision whether to sign a new deal with Andretti and he probably won’t make a decision until after the race. Whatever happens, Penske made a brilliant move timing it this way as now Hunter-Reay has to think not only about Saturday’s race but also about a potential move to Penske. And it already looks like it has worked. Hunter-Reay crashed on Wednesday while testing at Auto Club Speedway and because he will have to change engines he will be penalized 10 spots on the starting grid. The Penske team already has Power and Helio Castroneves signed for next year but there may be an opening on the third team as Ryan Briscoe is not guaranteed a spot.
The MATV 500 will be televised by the NBC Sports Network on Saturday night beginning at approximately 7:30 pm Eastern Time. Even though Power and Hunter-Reay are 1-2 in the standings they are not the betting favorites for Saturday night. Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti are the top two choices in the sports betting odds followed by Castroneves, Power and Hunter-Reay.
Power will win the championship if he finishes in second place or better no matter what Hunter-Reay does. Not factoring in race bonuses for laps led, Hunter-Reay has to finish at least sixth or better to have any chance of winning the championship and then he would also need Power to finish at least 16 points behind him.