Why the NASCAR Playoff System Is Flawed

Anthony HammettCorrespondent IJune 4, 2009

DOVER, DE - MAY 31:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet, burns out after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway on May 31, 2009 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

There he is. Your reigning back-to-back-to-back NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion—Jimmie Johnson, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a remarkable feat within itself. But why is it compared to championships that Jeff Gordon or Richard Petty or Dale Earnhardt won?

I realize that most sports have a playoff system. It all starts with the regular season. For NASCAR, that would be the 26 races prior to the Chase For The Cup.

But why even have them? All your points go away after those races and you're left with a 10-race sprint for the championship.

I've said it a thousand times here, but I am not a fan of Kyle Busch. However, it is unbelievable how far he ran away from the rest of the field in the first 26 races last season. He was head and shoulders better than any other driver on the circuit.

His points reset after 26 races and he had a horrible 10-race stretch.

Jimmie Johnson, on the other hand, began the chase outside of the top five. He finished consistently for the last 10 races and had the championship won by his last start.

Again, I get it. The Tennessee Titans can go 15-1 in the regular season and choke in the playoffs and it is all over. I understand that.

But NASCAR was never judged on this scale before. Petty, Earnhardt, and Gordon dominated the field on a weekly basis throughout the entire season in order to be crowned champion.

But that got boring and viewers began to tune out the last races of the year once the championship had already been decided.

So NASCAR implemented this new playoff system and it has sparked viewer interest, but it has also stepped on the toes of traditions.

My resolution is simple: I would implement half-championships.

Think about it. You still have the 26 races to run as hard as you can to win half of a championship, and you still have your playoff system to earn the other half.

For guys who are simply good at sprint runs, this would make it more challenging to win a whole championship rather than just be handed one for a few good races.

What do you guys and gals think?