NASCAR Changes for Sprint Cup Series 2011: Again, They Went a Step Too Far

Jim FolsomContributorJanuary 27, 2011

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JANUARY 21:  Kasey Kahne, driver of the #4 Red Bull Toyota, and teammate Brian Vickers, driver of the #83 Red Bull Toyota, test their drafting skills against Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, and Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, during testing at Daytona International Speedway on January 21, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

NASCAR, in its everlasting effort to reach new fans and try to level the playing field, has once again gone a step too far.

They have made changes to the Chase and Points systems and also qualifying. Some of the changes I like. Others I do not.

I think most fans would agree that sometimes, change for the sake of change is a bad thing.

Here are the changes I like:

1. The points system has been changed to make it simpler. I like this. Now a driver gets one point for finishing in last place (43rd). For every position above that a driver gets one point. Simple enough. A Driver who comes in second place gets 42 points. Third gets 41. Great! I don't need to wait until after the race to see the updated points. I can figure it out myself. Also, the winner of the race gets three bonus points for winning and a point for leading a lap. So the minimum a winner can get is 47. I like this. Also the driver who leads the most laps gets one point. This I like also.

2. The Chase is now made up of the top ten drivers by the points after 26 races. Sounds good. Also two "wild card" drivers will be in the Chase. These will be the two Drivers with the most wins out of the rest of the field. I like this too. Both of these changes will put an emphasis on winning the race and also trying to lead the most laps if possible. These are good.

Here are the changes I don't like:

1. Drivers must pick a series to run for the championship. I hate this. This is a bad move that NASCAR will regret. This will discourage Sprint Cup drivers from running in the other series. If Kyle Busch or Carl Edwards wants to try and run all the events in the Nationwide Series to win a championship, then I see no reason why they should not be allowed. This can only help to keep fans interested. Now they have killed that.

2. Qualifying. Running orders will now be determined by practice speeds? Really? Now we are going to have crew chiefs worrying about practice other than trying to work the bugs out? Now it actually means something? This is like baseball making the All Star game determine home field advantage for the World Series. It's practice, people. It's not supposed to matter.

This is like when NASCAR ruined the Twin 125s with their "top 35 in last year's points" rule. The old way was fine. The fans liked it. Nobody complained about it. NASCAR changed it anyway. For these two changes, I have three words for Brian France: change it back.