When NASCAR decided a few years back to go to this current points system from the old one, it was partly to encourage winning and discourage "points racing." It was also supposed to create parity in the sport. So, how is it working? Not too well.
Jimmie Johnson has won a record four Sprint Cup Titles in a row. And it only took six years of Chase racing to do it. Where's the parity? What was supposed to keep more drivers in it until the last race, a re-shuffling of the deck with ten to go, has not worked out. Instead, Jimmie Johnson has dominated. Partly because his team is just really good, but also partly because in years such as this one, where he has not dominated, he lurks around until the Chase starts. Then he dominates.
Right now Johnson is in fifth, 328 points down. But in four more races he'll be within a few points. Then it's go time. So instead of his team feeling pressure, they are right where they want to be, on the brink of making it five in a row.
Then there is Jeff Gordon. 22 starts. 0 wins. Yet he is second in points. He has become a "points racer". He finishes in the top five consistently, but never wins. In fact, Johnson and Denny Hamlin have each won five times, yet they sit fifth and sixth in the points.
Supposedly there was going to be more emphasis on winning when the Chase started. What happened to that? I'm all for penalizing guys for finishing 38th. But can we add some more bonus points for winning please?
Or how about this: You only get points at all for finishing 20th or higher. That way we can eliminate guys bringing wrecked cars out on the track "to pick up points." If you aren't in contention and your car looks like junk, park it and get out of the way.
Then the points can go something like this:
Now there is incentive to win the race. Of course this could be tweaked a bit, maybe give finishing second place a few more points, but you get the point. This system gives you added little bonuses to finish in the top 15, top 10, top five, top 3, and, of course, first.
You won't see a lot of guys happy running where they are late in races, just trying to bring it home in one piece. You will see them trying their best to get to the front and keep it there. You also won't see guys with no wins in second place while others with five wins are in sixth. And there will be no need to reshuffle the deck with 10 to go. With a possible 2000 points still out there, everyone will still be in the running.
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