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No Chase needed to assure tight points battle in any NASCAR division

By admin | August 30, 2012

By Richard Allen


On this weekend in which all three of NASCAR’s top divisions will be in action on the same track, a look at the standings reveals that there are three tight points battles in progress at this late stage of the season. And almost certainly, the contests in the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series will go right down to the wire, even without a Chase for the Championship in those divisions.

Of course, the Sprint Cup standings will be reset after next weekend’s race in Richmond so as to artificially place twelve drivers in contention for a championship, even though several of those drivers would not have any chance of winning were the points counted over the entire season. Such a system would seem to cheapen the title and bring about a feeling of illegitimacy to the process.

The best title fights in NASCAR history have been those in which the full season was taken into account and the result was still in doubt going into the final race. The years of 1979 in which Richard Petty just edged Darrell Waltrip and 1992 when Alan Kulwicki won a battle in which five drivers went into the final race in Atlanta with a chance to win.

Championships aren’t always decided by such close margins when the whole season is taken into account but sometimes one driver and team simply proves to be the class of the field for a year. Dominance isn’t always a bad thing.

In 2012, four drivers are within 26 points of the lead after 24 Sprint Cup races. Another three are close enough that they could have emerged as factors in the title run had that run gone the full length of a 36 race campaign. Nothing would have to be contrived to make this a close battle. And the eventual winner would have the satisfaction of knowing he had earned his victory without a reset.

Furthermore, those drivers not close enough to be in the points fight would have nothing to do other than go out and try to win races. There would be no need for over one-third of the field in every race parading around in fear of losing a precious point should they attempt a bold move for the win.

Instead, however, that is exactly the type of racing NASCAR’s top division offers. Every race is a points race first and a race for the win second.

Sure, the Chase creates the possibility that each and every season can end like last year when Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards battled to a draw in the standings with a tie-breaker having to be employed. If fans don’t mind trading 35 “good points day” races for one with actual drama.

And more, the other 41 drivers on track last year in Homestead looked as if they were skating around on thin ice as they went out of their way to avoid even coming close to Stewart and Edwards.

The real points battles in NASCAR this season are in the two lower classes as four drivers run within 35 points of each other in the Nationwide Series and five drivers are within 31 points in the trucks. No resets required.

It’s a shame that NASCAR’s hierarchy allowed one season(2003) in which Matt Kenseth secured the title prior to the final race to determine the sport’s way of crowning a champion just so the TV networks would have something to talk about other than just the race itself.

Topics: Articles |

9 Responses to “No Chase needed to assure tight points battle in any NASCAR division”

  1. SB Says:
    August 31st, 2012 at 6:09 am

    I’ve been a fan long enough to remember when each race was the ’star’ of the weekend, and who won the championship was almost an afterthought. Ah, the good old days. Nothing like making 70% of the season irrelevant and then making 75% of the field irrelevant foe the last 10 races of the season. Yet Nascar wonders why attendence is down? If only the fans were as gullible as the media seems to be.

  2. Sue Rarick Says:
    August 31st, 2012 at 6:49 am

    I’m in the same boat as SB. I too remember when each weekends race win was the most important part of Nascar.

    This year I have yet to watch a full race. I haven’t even watched one quater of a race. And for the first itime in ages I haven’t gone to a race. Next year I plan on going to the Izod race at Skip Barbers in stead of either Talladega or Bristol. Why? All the news has been about that weeks track win first and their championship second.

    I’m in the music industry and there is an old adage that people can love you or hate you … but don’t ever let them be bored by you. And rigth now Nascar has become boring.

  3. Tony Geinzer Says:
    August 31st, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I would like to make an offer.. Why not delete Sprint and the Chase and have a National Championship of Stock Cars? I would deeply offer Pensacola after the Snowball, but, that would go as smooth as at all.

  4. Russ Says:
    August 31st, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Inevitably, you will see sponsorship contingent on making the Chase.
    In other words sponsors only paying for the first 26 races with an option on the last 10 IF you make the Chase. After all why pay if you aren’t going to be on TV or mentioned.

    Wait - forget it - there aren’t enough full season sponsors left anymore for it to matter.

  5. The Mad Man Says:
    August 31st, 2012 at 9:06 am

    80% of the fans still have a strong dislike for the Chase for the Chumps last time I checked. I have a solution for NASCAR. Why have a 36 race playoff system that runs from February through November? Whoever has the most points after the last race wins the play-offs? Oh wait. That’s the old system that actually worked and one that fans liked.

  6. Longtime Says:
    August 31st, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    all of you so called race fans including Richie Allen would complain reguardless of the points structure. Sure ther has been a few close races for the championship in the past but very few. Go back and look at how many were won by 300 or more points and you’ll find most of them were not even close. You have to enjoy racing to not want to change the way it is and Richie I think should report on racing and whats going on in racing instead of trying to come up with ways to fix something that isn’t broken. Mad Man says 80% don”t like the Chase. So wrong. He should do some research before saying that.

  7. Jerseygirl24 Says:
    August 31st, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Agreed, Rich. It used to be that EVERY race counted, now we have points racing and gimmicks with the whole wild card deal. Longtime, I think you are the one who’s wrong about a large number of fans not liking the chase. Let’s go back to racing for a championship for the whole season.

    How many trophies would Johnson have then?

  8. Tyler West Says:
    September 2nd, 2012 at 7:15 am

    I HATE the Chase! Winning races is to me the most important thing, not finishing good in points. Brian France is a jackass!! He completely destroyed the sport! The only who like the Chase are the idiots on TV blowing it out of proportion. Well, I can’t stand them either. Who cares about a points championship without wins? In all other sports usually the champ with has a good portion of wins from the season. This crap does not work for auto racing! Now it’s more of a soap opera than it is motorsport. It sucks! I don’t care if there is a close championship race, I’m sick of guys playing it safe for points. The Chase is a damn gimmick and it is garbage! It’s BS!

  9. midasmicah Says:
    September 2nd, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    As long as the chase remains in use the sport I was once fanatical about will continue it’s downward spiral. As long as the heads of nas$cash keep their collective heads up their posterior nothing will change. All we’ve got now is 26 races with drivers tip-toeing around each other to make the “play-offs” And once the chase begins the rest of the field is supposed to “not race hard with the chosen ones”.