From the beginning, NASCAR decided its champion by giving it to driver who scores the most points. This system worked well and all the NASCAR legends won their titles this way. It meant you had a great season with few bad races and lots of good finishes.
It was truly a special accomplishment because so many things can happen to spoil a season, but you persevered and now you will be rewarded.
Through the '90s and into the 2000s NASCAR's success a popularity grew. Attendance rose and television ratings were high.
Then in 2003, Matt Kenseth "eighth placed" his way to the last Winston Cup Title with only one victory. A small number of people voiced displeasure over the champion only winning one race and something had to be done to fix it!
Newly appointing NASCAR head Brian France stepped in a made a drastic change to how the Championship was awarded.
Since 2004, NASCAR fans have endured this failed gimmick called the Chase for the Championship.
Race attendance has been in steady decline and television ratings have dropped every year.
After already attempting to "fix" the Chase in 2007, rumors are circulating that even more changes are coming with more eliminations and more crazy rules that will confuse and frustrate the fans.
It is time for NASCAR to admit the Chase was a mistake.
It is time for a traditional points system that NASCAR fans know and love.
Here is what I recommend: let's start with the point system we use today, but eliminate the 10-race chase for the championship. After 36 races, the driver with the most points at the end of the season wins the championship.
Now, for those who want winning to count as much as consistency, the winning driver of each race will receive 240 points. The bonus points for leading laps will remain the same, so a winning a race guarantees you 245 points. Leading the most laps and winning the race would award 250 points. That is a 75-point gain over the second place finishing driver. In other words, if you win a lot of races, you will be in contention.
The point drop-off would also be less deeper in the field. One of the reasons the original system led to some runaway championships was if a driver had a problem and finished 43rd, they lost over 150 points to the winner. In the new system, you would not lose as many points as before, limiting the damage to your season.
I would also stop the point drop off at 36th position. Drivers finishing 36th through 43rd would receive the same amount of points. This will deter cars with severe damage from re-entering the race.
Here is the points system described above:
Lead a lap: 5 Lead most laps: 5
1 240 11 130 21 100 31 80 41 75
2 170 12 127 22 98 32 79 42 75
3 165 13 124 23 96 33 78 43 75
4 160 14 121 24 94 34 77
5 155 15 118 25 92 35 76
6 150 16 115 26 90 36 75
7 146 17 112 27 88 37 75
8 142 18 109 28 86 38 75
9 138 19 106 29 84 39 75
10 134 20 103 30 82 40 75
This system would reward consistency while also allowing someone to win several races and make a charge in the points. This system pleases both sides of the NASCAR spectrum, rewarding both consistency and winning.
The chase does not. It rewards a 10 race hot streak and uses the largest portion of the season as a qualifier. A points system like the one above would re-energize the fan base, reward big winners, and make the Sprint Cup Championship something special again.
The season is 36 races long, let's make all 36 count for something.