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Stewart’s four Chase wins refute France’s claim that wins mean more under new system

By admin | November 16, 2011

By Richard Allen


Before the 2011 season began NASCAR Chairman Brian France announced that the points system used by the sanctioning body since the early 1970s would be replaced with a new system. That system would accomplish two things.

First, according to France, the new scoring arrangement would create a tighter championship battle and provide fans and competitors with a ‘Game 7’ type finale. With Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart only separated by three points going into the season ending race at the Homestead- Miami Speedway on Sunday, it would be hard to argue that the new system did not deliver.

Second, France assured everyone listening to his pre-season press conference that winning would carry more weight. The phrase “A good points day” was to be a thing of the past due to the fact that a bonus would be given to race winners that would serve to separate them from the pack.

In the 43 to 1 system, a three point bonus is added for winning a race. Also, a one point addition is given for leading a lap which means the minimum amount a top finisher could achieve would be 47. One more point can also be added for leading the most laps which could bring the winner’s total to 48. Potentially, a race winner can earn as many as six points more than the runner-up.

While all of that gives the appearance that race champions do indeed have the opportunity to distance themselves from the pack in the championship standings, the results of this year’s Chase for the Championship seem to indicate otherwise.

A quick look at the nine races held so far in the playoff shows that Stewart has won on four occasions in that time period while Edwards has not won a single Chase event. So, Stewart is way ahead in the standings, right?

Well, as stated earlier, Stewart actually trails Edwards by three points going into the 2011 finale. Coming into the Chase, Edwards had one win and Stewart had none. Winning a ‘regular season’ race provided a three point bonus per victory after the points were reset. That addition essentially provids Edwards with his current advantage.

Over the course of the nine Chase races, Edwards has been remarkably consistent. He has had no finish worse than 11th in that time. However, he has not managed a win in those races.

Stewart, on the other hand, has scored those four previously mentioned Chase victories. However, he has not matched Edwards’ consistency. In particular, a 25th in Dover and a 15th in Kansas have sabotaged his efforts.

But if winning was to mean more under this new system, shouldn’t four wins overcome one poor finish and one mediocre result? Well, obviously, winning races has not proven to be as much of a boon as was portrayed by France’s speech.

Of my friends who are not close followers of NASCAR, one of their most frequently asked questions is “Why is there not more of a reward for winning?”

Obviously, that question has not been sufficiently answered if one driver can win almost half the Chase races and still trail a driver who has not won a single playoff race. That is especially true when it is taken into account that that the driver to have won those four races has not had an abundance of disastrous results in his other races.

Consistency should be rewarded in racing. However, there should be a significant incentive for winning races. The current standings in this year’s Chase indicate that this has not been the case.

Topics: Articles |

15 Responses to “Stewart’s four Chase wins refute France’s claim that wins mean more under new system”

  1. Bill B Says:
    November 17th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    So what do you suggest… +10 points for a win?

    I’d be OK with that.

  2. Richard Allen Says:
    November 17th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I believe the winner should get 50 before lap leader bonuses. So a potential of 52.

  3. Sue Rarick Says:
    November 17th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I think 5 points for a win and get rid of the point for leading a lap. Right now just staying out during a pit stop rotation is worth 1/3 of a win. That seems out of proportion. I would still keep 1 point for most points led and pole position. Those two require a lot of effort which the leading one lap doesn’t.

  4. Glen H Says:
    November 17th, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    The lack of emphasis on winning has always been an issue in NASCAR’s various points systems and the latest system is no better. If I were king of NASCAR, I would set the bonus points under the new scoring system as:

    Win = 10 points.
    Most laps led = 5 points.
    Lead at least 5% of the scheduled number of laps = 1 point.

    If NASCAR did something along these lines, running up front and challenging for the lead would be a lot more important.

    You want that extra point for leading? You’re going to have to lead for 10 laps in a 200 lapper, 25 for a 500 lapper. No teammate pulling over to let you lead a lap and get a point, you’ve got to earn it.

    Want maximum points? Win, lead the most laps and at least 5% of the total scheduled laps and get yourself 59 points.

    What if the winner snuck in at the end a stole a victory leading only the last lap? If second led the most laps and at least 5% of all laps, he would get 48. The winner would get 53, 5 more than second - again a premium on winning.

    It’s not hard to come up with a system that would promote running hard for the lead and winning. NASCAR just needs to decide if consistency is more importnat than racing for the lead and win.

  5. Jim Says:
    November 17th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Yep, they really thought this out well. Let’s see… 1 point for leading a lap. 1 point for leading the most laps. That’s 2 bonus points for the guy that leads the most laps. So, if we give the winner 3 points, that should cover the winner just fine. Time for another drink.

  6. Brian Says:
    November 17th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    So what would you to Rich? Instead of complaining about it what is a solution. I can find a hole or argument in almost any scenario posed. Yep I win 5 of ten and finish 43rd in the other 5. Champ I think not. In any form of motorsports that has season championships the journey is part of it. Average finish is actually a better gauge of success than wins. What if four drivers have won twice each plus an outside chaser wins a couple. The four chase drivers would have the same amount of points for the wins and it falls back to highest finishes and the points associated with said finishes. Now you have the same issue as you do now. What would the difference be in this case as opposed to what is currently happening? It is the same argument and still goes back to having better non-winning finishes than the other drivers. Argument can now be over as it is completely stupid for the media to continue to harp on this. Plus you would explain it to the other person just as I have above.
    Any other scenarios and you convolute the points system again causing issues. I do like the previous posters idea of 50 points for 1st and add the two bonus points. Still clean and adds 2 or 3 points so not outrageous. or do 48 points for win and the one point for lap lead and one point for most laps to total 50 maximum points for a win. 44 max for second. Personally I would remove the lap led bouns point out of the equation entirely and award 2 points for most laps led since that is earned and not “given”.
    The 99 and 14 each have accumulated the same number of points in 9 races. So it was done two different ways. Four wins, 3 good finishes, 1 so-so and 1 poor versus 9 good finishes.

  7. T Says:
    November 17th, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    NASCAR is about consistentcy. If you don’t like it, change the channel. Carl could easily have 2 Chase wins (Dover and Phoenix). Tony lucked out in Chicago and New Hampshire on fuel mileage.

    Think about it race by race:
    Chicago - Lucky win on fuel mileage
    N.H. - The 24 or 33 should win (Tony on fuel mileage)
    Dover - Carl rallies from late penalty to almost win
    Kansas - True championship effort by the 99, taking a junk car to 5th
    Charlotte - Solid race by both
    Martinsville - By far Carl’s worst track, he finishes 9th.
    Talladega - Don’t agree with it, but played it safe to his WORST Chase finish (11th)
    Texas - Even when Tony beat him, he was 2nd
    Phoenix - Tony led the laps, Carl got the finish (winning-capable car)

    Looking at that, how can Carl NOT deserve the title, best from start to finish. Not just part of the season.

  8. Richard Allen Says:
    November 17th, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Sorry Brian, but I had to snicker a bit at your post. You spent all that time giving me heck then went on to say you agreed with the previous poster who proposed 50 points to the winner plus lap bonuses.

    Did you happen to check the name of that poster?

  9. Jim Says:
    November 17th, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    T said, “NASCAR is about consistency” It is, but it shouldn’t be. Consistency is boring. Passing, and passing for the lead is what racing is all about.

  10. Russ Edwards Says:
    November 18th, 2011 at 9:37 am

    No other sporting series, that uses a “playoff system”, gives a headstart to anyone. If the goal is to have a “playoff” then start everyone with the same points. Or, eliminate one each race.

    As usual, taking half measures, gives the result that you have here.

  11. Charles Says:
    November 18th, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Jim I agree with you,, paying points to lead laps is the best fix for boring races!!

    I dont go to see who wins the Chase, and dont believe many fans who buy tickets do..they keep changing the system but each time it promotes the Chase and not ‘raceday: action!

    Nascars priority should be the” raceday experience”"not the Chase title!!

  12. NaBUru38 Says:
    November 18th, 2011 at 9:51 am

    My perfect points scale is 100-70-55-45-35-etc for the top finishers, no points for drivers with less than 80% of the winner’s laps completed, and 10 points for the polesitter.

    Also, I’d do two qualifying races with split grids, and a feature race, where the grid has the heat 1 drivers on one file and heat 2 drivers on the other:

    Short ovals: 25-30 mile qualifying races, a 200 mile final race.
    Intermediate ovals and superspeedways: 40-50 mile qualifying races, 300 mile final race.

    Top 10 finishers in qualifying races would get 25-18-15-12-10… like in F1.

    A few races would remain like now - Daytona 500 in February, Talladega 500 in April, Charlotte 600 in May, Sonoma 350 in June, Watkins Glen 220 and Indianapolis 400 in July, Bristol 400 in August and the final race in November. Those would award double points than in regular feature races: 200-140-110-90-70-etc.

  13. Larry Says:
    November 18th, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    I think 25 points would be a fair number for winning. I like consistency but racing was always about winning and by giving someone meaningful points for doing it will make competition better because it forces drivers to go for wins instead of trying to get a consistent finish. Just too many drivers just trying for a good finish instead of going for wins. Something needs to change that.

  14. Steve Says:
    November 18th, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    T is obviously a Carl fan based on his post. I could go through every race and tell you all the bad things that COULD have happened to Edwards, but I won’t. Using fuel mileage to state your case does not give you much credibility, considering fuel mileage almost surely helped Carl too and a bunch of timely cautions.

    If you point means that Edwards should win with no Chase I absolutley agree with you. But when everyone essentially starts equal with the Chase, there is something seriously wrong when someone wins almost 1/2 the Chase races and the others do not. I don’t care what his other finishes were. Its not like his poor finishes were 35th and 37th. That would be a different story.

    I agree nascar should be more about winning, not consistency. Use consistency as a tiebreaker if you have to but not to determine a champion.

  15. T Says:
    November 25th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Nope. Definitely not an Edwards fan. I’m a Gordon fan. I am a fan of what has NASCAR where it is now, winning being the ultimate goal, but consistently getting there. NASCAR cannot be all about winning because even taking an out of the ordinary wins year like Jeff had in ‘98, he won 13/33 races. That is a ridiculous winning percentage in racing, but numbers like that in stick & ball sports, your fired.

    NASCAR is not a playoff type sport, and should quit trying to imitate them. I guess a good comparison for the Carl 1 win vs Tony 5lucked would be like an NFL team that wins the division, consistently good play all season, but they are a low scoring, defensive team. Tony’s season would be like the team that can go score 40 easily, but somehow still loses games they shouldn’t.

    Point being, while “Tony’s team” is the more exciting team to watch, it does not make them a more deserving champion.