By admin | December 10, 2009
By Richard Allen
There are a number of things that need fixing in NASCAR, in my opinion. The racing has to improve or else it is not going to matter what flash in the pan, media frenzied â€˜starâ€™ comes to the sport next.
One thing that could go a long way toward improving the competition would be for NASCAR to rework its points system. Now, this column is not necessarily going to address the Chase for the Championship. That is a topic to be targeted later. The main issue for this piece is the need to reward winners more and encourage more competition on the track.
There is far too much settling for â€œa good points dayâ€ in modern day NASCAR.
Formula One is considering an approach that it would do well for NASCAR to take a look at. F1 has proposed that the number of points awarded to a winner be more than doubled. Currently, the winner of an F1 race receives 10 points while second place takes eight points. Only the top-8 finishers receive points in that series.
F1 is considering a plan that would give points to the top-10. And more, the winner would receive 25 points while second place would take 20.
I believe F1 has the right idea in not awarding the entire field points. However, since NASCAR has more cars in each race than the open wheel series, they would need to give out points for more than just the top-10.
Perhaps the top-25 or maybe the top-30 could get points. One thing this would serve to do would be to eliminate damaged cars coming back onto the track after being crashed. For those who might argue that such a system would be unfair to smaller teams, I do not necessarily think so. Over the course of a long season those teams would run in the top-25 or 30 a number of times, and thus would build up points.
Whatâ€™s most intriguing about the F1 system is the separation from 1st to 2nd. Five points does not sound like that much, but percentage wise, it is. Consider it like this. If the two numbers are multiplied by eight the difference is more clearly evident.
First place in the proposed F1 system gives 25 points with second getting 20. Since the NASCAR system would have to award points to more positions, first place could get 200 (25 X 8)points while second could get 160 (20 X 8).
NASCARâ€™s current system allows the first place finisher 185 points with second getting 170 before lap leader bonuses are figured in. Obviously, the winner has to have led at least one lap so the winner now gets no less than 190. If the second finisher happens to have led the most laps he would receive 180 points. Thatâ€™s only a difference of 10 points.
Formula 1 does not provide any sort of bonus for leading laps. NASCAR does.
NASCAR should not only continue to do so, but make the reward even more pronounced than it already is. Drivers should be encouraged to race for the lead rather than find a spot and sit comfortably through the middle sections of a race. The driver who leads the most laps should be given something on the order of 25 points for so doing. The driver who leads the second greatest number of laps should be awarded 15 points and the driver leading the third highest total could get 10 bonus markers. Any driver who leads a lap could continue to receive 5 points.
I believe such a system with a more pronounced difference between finishing positions and more points awarded for drivers running up front would create better racing throughout the pack, but especially where it matters most, at the front.
The bottom line is that a number of things need to be done to improve the on-track product NASCAR is providing. The CoT, the Chase and wide variety of issues ought to be addressed over the next couple of years. A new points systems could be a step easily taken that would force drivers to race harder throughout the entire event and provide a better show for the fans.
It is issues such as these, rather than attracting new personalities that will provide an initial media pop but do nothing to enhance the product, that can make the difference between success or failure for stock car racing.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
Topics: Articles |