Thursday, August 27, 2009

Should the NASCAR Points System and the Chase for the Sprint Cup be updated?

One of the biggest hot topics in NASCAR since especially in 2004 when the chase was added, has been the NASCAR Points System and the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

When it comes to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points system, let alone NASCAR in general, the system that is in place is over 35 years old and for those people who believe in “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”, well all I have to say is the current points system is broke and needs to be fixed.

Now this should be no surprise to some whether you are a fan, media or person in the garage area, the points system needs a few simple changes so everyone can follow it, it makes for better racing and its fair throughout the entire field.

Under the current (old) points system, drivers are rewarded more for consistence and not for going for the victory. The system needs to be able to reward for both, by giving drivers the chance of winning the championship even if they have a few of bad races.

Another issue within the current points system is; at any given NASCAR race, if there happens to be a wreck or “The Big One”, those drivers that were involved in the wreck, would go to the garage area and fix their cars. Once the car is fixed, those cars would then return to the racetrack several laps down, trying to maintain minimum speed and would drive around the racetrack trying to pick up positions, each position is worth at least 3 points. Sometimes, these drivers driving with damage would lose a piece from the car or get in the way that could result in another wreck, case in point, Talladega.

So after taking into account both factors and several more including how to reward before and during the chase, this is what I have come up with.

First and for most, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the concept of having two separate points systems, one for the 26-regular season and another for the chase isn’t right for NASCAR. I believe in making things simple and having two separate systems isn’t keeping it simple, plus having one system will keep everybody on an equal playing field, 36-races, one points system.
Second, the winner of each NASCAR race receives 150 points.

The runner-up in each event scores 130. From there, the point total declines in three-point increments for third place to 32nd place. The 33rd to 43rd or last-place driver, gets 33rd place points each. (Hopefully this keeps wrecked cars off the track and if a driver has a bad race, they don't loss as much and can still rebound.)

Bonus points, the simpler points system would still award bonus points after every race:

- 5 bonus points for leading a lap
- 5 bonus points for leading the most laps.
- 20 bonus points for winning a race.

Currently in 2009, the points system doesn’t really award for winning a race, but it should. I know that some NASCAR fans or media member especially wanted 50 bonus points, but I believe 20 bonus points would be a fair playing level. One thing, the 20 bonus points is for winning a race, and not to be confused with the 10 bonus points you get for a race win going into the chase.

What about the driver that leads the points after 26-races?
Every year since the chase for the Sprint Cup was put in place hasn’t awarded the point’s leader after 26 races, so how about giving 20 bonus points for winning the 26-race points standings. Those 20 points would count like two race wins in the first 26-races. So in addition to receiving 10 bonus points for each win in the 26-races before the chase, the points leader going into the chase would received 20 more points.

For example, using three drivers, but not 2009 stats, 1st in points is Tony Stewart who has two victories going into the chase, Jimmie Johnson who has three wins going into the season and Mark Martin who has five wins going into the chase, Mark Martin would be first with 50 bonus points, Tony Stewart would be second with 40 bonus points and -10 behind the leader and Jimmie Johnson would have 30 bonus points and would be -20 behind the leader.

The chase for the Cup?
First things first, I like the way the chase for the cup is setup right now.

- 10 bonus points for each win in the regular season works
- The reset for final 10-races with 12 drivers’ works
- No wild card entry
- 10-race chase works, not 12-race chase

I have heard the suggestion of a wild card entry that would be a driver with the most wins that is not already in the chase be admitted into the chase doesn’t work for me. The chase is about the best 12 drivers in the 26-race regular season that received the most points, hopefully by winning races and being consistence, NASCAR doesn’t need to reward a driver that has a few victories, but just had bad luck in the rest of the 26-races.

What races should be in the chase and who should host the final race of the season?
One of the biggest issues with the chase right now is, should NASCAR have all four types of racetracks represented in the chase that would be course races, superspeedway races, short track races and intermediate tracks. So I believe the following race should be in the chase:

In no particular order: 1. Infineon Raceway or another road course (Watkins Glen wouldn’t work), 2. Talladega (since Daytona isn’t moving a date), 3. California Speedway (that’s there one race of the season, got to make it good and under the lights), 4. Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5. Martinsville, 6. New Hampshire (with the COT, it’s a good race), 7. Texas Motor Speedway, 8. Phoenix International Raceway, 9. Dover and 10. Homestead.

As for the final race of the season, that one needs to be somewhere special. Remember NASCAR is business, NASCAR wants to be able to make money off of every race especially there crown jewel final race, so…

First and for most, no, to having Atlanta Motor Speedway as the final race, it use to be that way years ago, but weather was an issue and so was attendance.

So I’m about three racetracks, first is the current one, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead is exciting, but they only hold around 65,000 seats. Second would be Las Vegas. Las Vegas Motor Speedway is more for business. Las Vegas isn’t a bad race to watch on television, but its location is prime. This would be LMVS’s only Cup Series race of the season.

Third would be my choice, Phoenix International Raceway. Phoenix is cool short type track, it’s not really a short track, but it shows racing like one and full of excitement. Phoenix already hosts triple headers and is the second to the last race of the season, so moving it shouldn’t be a problem and they have the weather.

What do you think?