NASCAR's points system could be getting a major overhaul in the coming days.
1 Total Update since January 17, 2011
over 2 years ago Update 4 comments
Much of the racing media is unhappy with the proposed NASCAR point system changes, and writers are instead suggesting all sorts of alternative ideas. If you missed it, NASCAR is considering overhauling the current points system to award 43 points to the winner and one point to last place.
The main complaint about the 1-43 model, it seems, is NASCAR may not do enough to reward winning (Note: Click any of the red links below to read the related stories).
ESPN.com's Terry Blount, for example, wrote NASCAR's idea is half-good, but doesn't go far enough.
"The overall points change for each race would not emphasize winning," Blount wrote. "It would increase the problem of points racing that has plagued NASCAR for years.
"Unless the winner receives a big bonus, the difference between winning and finishing second is a smaller ratio than the current system. The incentive to win is diminished because it doesn't bring enough of a reward."
Similarly, SceneDaily.com's Bob Pockrass opined that though the system would be simpler for fans, more tweaks are needed.
"Such a new system also could make winning less important," Pockrass wrote. "Depending on the number of bonus points awarded, there could be even less of a difference between first and second under the proposed system."
On Twitter, Speed.com's Tom Jensen said the 43-1 points system would be simple and help keep the Chase closer, but tweeted he was "STUNNED NASCAR won't reward winning."
USA Today's Nate Ryan tweeted about how well a top-heavy points scale had worked for IndyCar and Formula One, adding "My take on best points system always has been a sliding scale with winning getting heavy weight but little for spots outside top 20."
Reid Spencer of the Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service tweeted simplicity wasn't necessary, and anyone seeking to figure out how many points 15th place paid could easily find that information.
"Points system developed by Bob Latford was well thought out, putting a premium on gaining positions within the top five, for instance," Spencer tweeted. "The 1-43 system would destroy some of the small but significant subtleties of the Latford system."
David Newton of ESPN.com had a different idea altogether. He tweeted a suggestion that NASCAR institute four divisions, then "let division winners and next four on wins get in and have at it."
My take? In this instance, I sided with NASCAR and continue to believe the 1-43 points system is a good idea. There will certainly be bonus points for winning, but the real emphasis on winning will be in how drivers qualify for the Chase.
The biggest reward for winning may not come in the form of points, but in a postseason berth instead.
As Jenna Fryer tweeted: "The top 10 in points making Chase and the other two spots going to race winners is what puts the emphasis back on winning races."
over 2 years ago Update 8 comments
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.