In spirit of Olympics, France leads mythical INDYCAR Nations Cup

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While watching the Olympics along with much of the rest of the world, I was reminded that the site of many competitions for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was once a racetrack.

The Jacarepaguá road course hosted numerous racing events from Formula One to MotoGP. Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna made his F1 debut there in 1984. The layout also featured a trapezoid-shaped “roval” – an oval that drove like a road course – which hosted Indy car races for five years.

Another Brazilian, Andre Ribeiro, thrilled the home crowd by winning the inaugural Indy car race on the Rio roval in 1996. Other Indy car winners included Paul Tracy, Greg Moore, Juan Pablo Montoya and Adrian Fernandez – an international cast of Canadians, Colombians and Mexicans befitting of the Olympics.

Since the Olympics is a sporting event that captures our imagination and most of us swell with a bit of national pride, it reminded me of a time when Indy car racing awarded a championship based on drivers’ home countries. It was akin to the nations' medal count so emphasized at each Olympiad.

From 1995-2007, CART and Champ Car awarded the Nations Cup, a season-long championship where a country scored the same points as its highest-finishing driver in a race. Brazil and the United States each won the Nations Cup four times, but France won the last three Nations Cup titles. Not surprising since one Sebastien Bourdais was in the process of collecting four consecutive Champ Car drivers’ championships from 2004-07.

Using the same scoring method, it’s no surprise to find the same three countries battling over a mythical 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Nations Cup.

Here’s a look at what the standings would be through the 12 completed races, with points earned from the top finisher for each nation at each race, including bonus points. With Bourdais and Simon Pagenaud collecting a total of five race wins to date, it’s no surprise that France again leads the way:

NATION

STP

PHX

LB

BAR

GPI

IMS

BI-1

BI-2

RA

IS

TOR

MID-O

TOTAL

France

43

40

51

54

54

59

51

44

18

34

27

52

527

United States

36

30

20

41

33

124

41

36

36

53

20

32

502

Brazil

32

32

39

26

41

81

30

26

40

26

40

18

431

Australia

1

35

26

32

14

73

11

51

54

40

51

41

429

Colombia

51

23

32

30

24

115

36

17

26

18

13

35

420

New Zealand

26

53

41

20

26

69

12

30

8

36

28

8

357

Canada

11

12

24

29

35

95

12

9

16

22

35

30

330

Japan

28

15

30

17

12

32

19

20

13

19

30

22

257

Russia

30

13

14

13

17

40

15

13

14

30

28

16

243

England

19

26

16

11

16

42

9

11

19

15

12

14

210

Spain

12

60

72

Italy

10

10

13

12

16

61

From the fans