This Chase has brought on more conversation about "how points SHOULD be" than any in the past. You can take your pick of topics. Too spread out. It's not quite exciting enough. Rained out qualifying gave Jimmie Johnson an advantage. What should be done to fix the qualifying system in order to avoid Johnson starting in the front? And it goes on and on.
First off, leave qualifying alone. There are 500 miles, or laps, or 400 miles, depending on the race. The pit strategy has evolved to a point, where yes, it may be considered a chess game, but it is possible to advance through a race that long.
Now, with the integration of the current points system, Johnson has a commanding 141 point lead over Carl Edwards. There is an outside shot that the Office Depot team could walk away as the champion, but that would involve Johnson having a very bad day.
More than likely, we are looking at our first three-time consecutive champion since Cale Yarborough, but never say never.
To some fans, this is considered "boring.” It is too much of a long shot, and there is only one other team with any sort of chance to win the championship.
Alright, lets entertain anyone with this thought for a minute. Let's look at some other possibilities.
Lets go to the Classic Points System. Courtesy of Jayski, we see Johnson still has a lead over Edwards, but in this scenario, only by 56 points. Now that sounds like it would be a closer chase, right? All Johnson has to do is sneeze or swat at a fly in his car, and the championship is handed over!
As a NASCAR fan, is that really how we want it to be?
Realistically, Johnson and Edwards still finish neck and neck to each other, but Johnson is still champion. This scenario is much like how critics see Edwards as an outside shot to get the Nationwide Title from Clint Bowyer, where the separation is oddly enough, 56 points.
If you are one that still thinks that sounds better, we are still seeing a two team battle for it. The biggest winner of this format, Kyle Busch, would be third. But 163 points out of second place.
Now lets go to another format. Bill Webber was on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, and mentioned one possible change that could be made, if any, would make a special point format for the Chase drivers. Interesting.
Let us run with that notion. Everyone starts at zero, or 6000, whatever makes you happy. You can decorate this system with bonuses and incentives, but if what we really want to see is tight points action where everyone has a shot when we get to Miami, lets stay simple.
The 12 chasers are equal with 10 races to go. Twelve points would go to the top finishing chase driver. Eleven to the second best, and so on. Tony Stewart could be sixth, but the top finishing chase driver, and would get the twelve points, Denny Hamlin gets ninth, but was second best, so gets eleven points.
Any guesses on what happens next?
Jimmie Johnson leads Carl Edwards by 90 points to 82. Considering you can only get 12 points at best, and at least get one point for starting, Carl would have to gain 10 points to win the championship. Thus again, looking for Johnson to have a bad day.
On a side note, most drivers maintained the point’s position they currently have.
After going through all of this, and a lot of drive-time thinking, I have come to a conclusion that for the most part, the people doing the crying are the ones that do not want to see another Johnson/ Hendrick championship.
Bend the points how you want; they have it together on that team, and will prevail.
I am not really fond of the #48 team, but I cannot deny the unbelievable run they are having. Any respectful fan of the series has to recognize and appreciate that.
If or when they walk away champions after Homestead, they will have flat out earned the right to be recognized as the very best in NASCAR. Alter the point system however you would like, however that will not change the outcome, just the display on the screen.