Opinion: Rewarding the regular season champion

FONTANA CA - OCTOBER 08: Jimmie Johnson driver of the #48 Lowe's/Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevrolet waits in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi Max 400 on October 8 2010 in Fontana California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images for NASCAR)

With four races remaining until the Chase cutoff, the battle for the regular season points lead is one of the closest in NASCAR history -- and it won't mean a damn thing.

Jimmie Johnson leads the standings by just one point over Greg Biffle with Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. two and 17 points out respectively.

That means little, as the classification will reset after Richmond, leaving drivers with the most wins ahead to start the playoffs. NASCAR calls it Chase seeding but wrongfully ignores the regular season champion.

In most stick and ball sports, the teams with the best record receives a first round bye and a home field advantage. That doesn't translate well to motorsports, and they try their best with Chase seeds. And yet, more should be done to reward the best overall performer from the first 26 races.

And just like NASCAR, I'm just not sure how.

In an ideal world, seeding isn't required. Reset all drivers to 2,000 points and the best team after 10 races wins. That won't happen as NASCAR is on a decade-long crusade to make race wins more valuable - and understandably so.

But shouldn't the regular season champion be slotted as the top seed? The status quo doesn't even award prize money for a team's hard work and effort over the first 26 races. I'm suggesting that the regular season leader should at least receive three bonus points (equal to a race win) and at a maximum receive equal number points to the regular season wins leader.

Perhaps this is too radical of a concept, or too much of a gimmick, but the Chase was never about integrity to begin with. With that in mind, NASCAR should step up and find some way to reward their regular season's top performer.

Where do you stand on the topic? Has the Chase seen too many changes over the past few seasons or does it require one more overhaul for the regular season champion? Tell us in the comments section below or on Twitter at @MattWeaverSBN or @NASCARRnR

Weekend Schedule

Camping World Truck Series VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway // 12 p.m. EST // SPEED Channel

NASCAR Nationwide Series Napa Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villanueve // 2 p.m. EST // ESPN

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway // 12 p.m. EST // ESPN

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