By admin | October 4, 2011
By Richard Allen
During the most recent off season for the Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Chairman Brian France addressed fans, competitors and media to explain a new points system that was to be implemented for the 2011 campaign. It did not take too keen of an eye to see that the new system was set up to assure the appearance of a close finish in the final ten race run for the title known as the Chase for the Championship. After three playoff races, it appears as though things are going to plan.
Under the new system, the winner of a race gets 43 points with a three point winners bonus added in. Leading a lap during the race earns one additional point while leading the most laps assures one further point. At the minimum, the race winner will be guaranteed 47 points with the potential of 48.
Behind the winner, the 2nd place driver receives 42 points with lap leader possible bonuses. Each following driver is awarded one less point than the driver in front of him all the way through 43rd place.
The previous system used much larger numbers with a graduated drop off between certain of the positions.
The real benefit of the new system is one that is more psychological than real. The smaller numbers give the impression of a tighter race, whether that is actually the case or not. That is exactly what is taking place this season.
As of now, the top-9 drivers are only 19 points apart with ties for 1st, 3rd and 6th in the standings. The reaction of anyone who may not necessarily follow the sport very closely after a look at the Sprint Cup rundown might well be, “Wow! Look how close the NASCAR points race is!” And that was no doubt the intent when the change was announced.
The smaller numbers make for the appearance of closer competition. And the truth is, the competition is close. But that appearance garners more attention on websites, newspapers and SportsCenter.
The bottom line is that the new way of accumulating points in NASCAR is doing exactly what the sanctioning body intended. The race would be close whether the old system or the new was used. This way just makes it look better.
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