All this time, we thought NASCAR was only considering making changes to the Chase format. But as it turns out, officials may overhaul the entire points system itself.
Associated Press auto racing writer Jenna Fryer reported Monday evening that NASCAR may scrap the current points system – which is complicated and ranges from 185 points for first place to 34 points for last place – in favor of a simpler format.
Fryer's story said the new system could be as easy as awarding 43 points for first place down to one point for last.
If this report ultimately reflects NASCAR's final decision (apparently the sanctioning body has yet to fully make up its mind), this could be a major positive for fans.
While many of the sport's longtime followers may reject the idea at first – the hardcore fans aren't big on major changes – the 43-1 format would be so much clearer and easier for everyone to understand.
After all, even the most fervent NASCAR fan likely can't name the amount of points for every position. Think fast: How many points does the eighth-place finisher get right now?
The answer is 142. How would anyone know that?
But under the new format, an eighth-place finish would get a driver 36 points. It's simple to figure out.
At the same time, Fryer reported NASCAR is backing off its idea of eliminations during the Chase. That's great news for fans, because mid-Chase eliminations would have been completely contrived and given the champion somewhat of a phony feel.
It's actually a relief NASCAR is backing off the proposed eliminations; some fans had said it would have been the final straw among recent developments of which they didn't approve.
Another move we like: Fryer wrote NASCAR would set the Chase field by selecting the 10 highest drivers in points, followed by the next two drivers with the most wins who weren't in the top 10.
That would solve problems such as last year, when Jamie McMurray won both the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 in the "regular season" but failed to make the Chase. Drivers could potentially go for wins more often, knowing that two or three wins in the first 26 races would all but seal up a Chase spot no matter how they had performed in the other weeks.
Overall, it sounds as if NASCAR is moving in a positive direction with the points system and Chase format rules. If officials end up choosing the reported overhaul of the points system, it could be a real boost for the sport's disillusioned fans – once the shock of more changes wears off, of course.