IndyCar is no stranger to bifurcations. Splits in the league, splits in the driving style, and now, splits in the championship. Rather than crowning a single champ at the end of each season, IndyCar is planning to move to a three-crown system, awarding trophies for top road course, top oval, and top overall drivers.

The move is intended to highlight the split personality of the series, as well as draw in fans from other series--namely oval fans from NASCAR and road course fans from F1 and touring car racing. It's a novel approach to marketing the series, and it may drum up more competition as specialists in each discipline now have a chance to shine despite being out of the running for the overall championship.

The additional championships are the brainchild of Randy Bernard, currently in the midst of his first year as head of the IRL. The trophies haven't been named yet, but speculation is running toward the oval championship being named after A.J. Foyt and the road course championship after Mario Andretti.

It's an interesting idea, perhaps not as wild as some of the prototype chassis we've seen proffered up for the 2012 season, but nonetheless a fresh take on the long-running series' unique mix of road and oval racing.

[N.Y. Times Wheels Blog]