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« Lessons learned in NASCAR 2009: Fixing Junior will not be easy | Main | Lessons learned in NASCAR 2009: The CoT is a terrible race car »

NASCAR would do well to follow the proposed F1 points system

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 ‘star’ 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 “a good points day” 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.

What’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).

NASCAR’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. That’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 |

7 Responses to “NASCAR would do well to follow the proposed F1 points system”

  1. Steve Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Finally someone is saying what I have been saying for a long time. If you use a F1 type system, limit the number of positions that are awarded points, you wouldn’t need the chase because things would stay close all season. A driver also wouldn’t get hurt as badly by having a bad race, which is where you get alot of complaints with the chase system. Denny Hamlin anyone?

    Something makes me think that nascar is too stubborn to use a variation of something someone else already thought of, which is why they haven’t done this already.

  2. Joe in Pittsburgh Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 10:02 am

    One thing I would add to the items you list that I wholeheartedly agree with would be addressing the issue of one team dominating the sport. Hendrick motorsports and their satellite teams are ruining this thing as well. And now we have Danica with all her glitz and what-not going where? JR motorsports (read Hendrick lite). Let’s say she is successful down the road,who would she drive under? I am so sick of this that my mantra has become ABH (anybody but Hendrick). I could not possibly imagine how the NHRA fans endured 10 of 12 years with John Force winning titles. Rant=over. Thanks for the forum to vent on. I enjoy your articles immensely.

  3. Brice Beach Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I agree that the point’s should get a boost, but the main problem is the chase-it wasn’t broke before, so why fix it? NASCAR’s point’s system was formed to reward the drivers for the season-how many championship’s would Earnhardt have won with the chase format? Tony Stewart (certainly NOT my driver) should have won the 2009 championship under the old and preferred system-give them more point’s for winning and let them race for the entire season

  4. Brian Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Like the idea but my opinion is that there should be no lap led bonus points and reward points for leading say 5 green flag laps, 5 points, lead 50 green flag laps 10 points, lead most laps 20 point bonus over above. This would also lead to better racing as a driver or team could not just “stay out” to lead a lap under caution to get points. It would put a premium on strategy and give incentive to try and lead more laps. There is still a premium and such for leading most laps but it gives a bigger premium to try and lead more than one lap.
    This also does not “hurt” the small teams as no one would get single lap led points and would earn the points instead of being gifted them.

    I personally am against a large disparity in between 1st and 2nd. I think the current spread is plenty. Where the disparity is and needs to change some is the purse distribution. The money should be spread out better among the field versus the huge disparity between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd and the remainder of the field. This helps the small teams and allows for incentive of the start and park teams to stop doing it. Read somewhere a few weeks back that a driver “quit” and placed 39 and received only like $1600 less than a driver that finished the race but in the back of the field. If I was in business, I just lost money finishing the race due to tire bill and wear and tear on the equip. equating to more than this difference.

    This is where a major shake up is needed to help the small race teams continue to compete. They have the same expenses at the track and race weekend the big teams do, just a slightly smaller scale, same cost for tires, ssame cost per room for hotel, food bill, transport to and from track before, during, and after the event.

  5. txGreg Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    While I’m not sure about how the rest would work out, I’m certainly willing to give your plan a try. However, I’d suggest one further change. You say: “Any driver who leads a lap could continue to receive 5 points.”

    I’d change that to say “Any driver who leads a lap under green flag conditions, or after a caution comes out immediately after their taking of the lead under green flag conditions could continue to receive 5 points.” I don’t want to see any more drivers getting rewarded for nothing more than pitting late. :)

  6. Charles Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    I agree that in order to make racing better a new format for the point title should be in order!

    I like what you said about more importance in leading laps!

    My thing is leading laps is what racing is about! If you create a point system that gives incentive to leading or exchanging positions for the lead this will stop some of this “take a top 5″ mentality that is make racing boring!

    I say paying points to lead laps is a better idea for creating excitment on raceday!

    In all my 40 plus years of going to a Nascar Race not once did I buy a ticket to see who was winning a point title, I went to see a exciting race!

  7. JReilly Says:
    December 22nd, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    I would love to see a revamped point system. The F1 idea is a good start. I would also like to see the 5 points for leading a single lap be done with. They also need to stop the Lucky Dog as well. They must continue to enforce the no racing back to the line . If you can’t get a lap back while racing than so be it. How frustrating must it be to put Jimmy Johnson or Kyle Busch or any other competitor for that matter a lap or 2 down, give him a couple of lucky dog passes and he comes back to finish 1,2,3,4, or 5. Nascar needs to give these teams something to shoot for for having a good day. Widen the point range for winning and if a racer falls behind in a given race , if you can’t race your way back then your out of it for that race. where you finish is where you finish. If you give the top 5 teams in the sport free passes every time bad luck hit’s they will get there car’s right and be in the picture for the win. They just don’t want the big teams to have bad day’s. Just another way NASCAR makes sure the big teams are the winners.

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