NASCAR is talking about a new points system for the upcoming season.
This new system would be a simple one: You beat somebody, you get a point. It is supposed to be for the fans so they can better keep up with the points.
But is this really just an attempt to crown a different champ this year?
The new points system proposed would give the last place driver one point. For every position a driver finishes above that he/she would get one point.
So if you win you get 43 points. Second place would get 42, third would get 41 and so on all the way down to last place getting one point. Sounds pretty simple. It's easy to follow. Here's my problem with it.
This system almost punishes guys who run up front. There needs to be more of a reward for running near the front and, most of all, for winning the race.
If they give a bonus point for leading a lap and a point for the most laps led, that gives a driver a 45-point maximum. The second-place finisher would get 43 points if he leads one lap.
That means a driver who leads nearly every lap and wins easily would get a two-point win. A two-point win in a basketball game is a nail biter; a two-point win in a football game is a cliff hanger; even a two-run win in baseball is a close game.
The point system needs to tell the story of how the race went.
In this new system, a bunch of guys fighting for a win who get in a crash at the end are penalized too much.
If Tony Stewart runs up front all day and is fighting Denny Hamlin for the win and they both wreck and finish out of the top 20, and Boris Said never runs higher than 20th all day but finishes on the lead lap, he'll get more points for the day than Stewart.
That doesn't seem right.
It will give drivers even less incentive to go for the win and risk wrecking. If you get 42 points for coming in second, is it worth losing 15 or 20 points to get the win and gain one point?
How about this? At a quarter of the way, give points 43 through one, do it again at halfway, three quarters and at the end double the points? That could be interesting. It would make people want to run up near the front all day.
Plus, if a guy dominates a race, he could possibly make up 10-12 points on the field. You could see more lead changes within the season.
If NASCAR goes to this system they are talking about, there will be almost no incentive to race hard.
Why risk it? For one point?
I do like that the new system will be easier for the fans to follow. But this still doesn't solve the main problem with the points system—and that is that it does not reward winning.
Whatever points system change, it needs to give guys a reason to race hard.
If this new system is designed to stop Jimmie Johnson, it won't work. He and Chad will figure it out in no time.