By admin | July 22, 2009
By Richard Allen
The NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule is made up of 36 points paying races. Each race pays the same number of points. With that said, some races are still more important than others.
The Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600, and the Southern 500(although more so in its traditional Labor Day date) are races that every driver should want to be able to say he won when his career comes to a close.
Along with those races mentioned above is the Brickyard 400. Even though the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has only been a part of the NASCAR schedule since 1994, a victory on the track should be considered a cherished prize.
After all, itâ€™s the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. What driver who has ever sat in a racecar of any kind would not want to win at this most storied of all places in American motorsports?
No driver should ever enter this race hoping for a good points day. No driver should ever walk away from IMS pleased with anything other than victory. Getting out of the car after 400 miles and expressing happiness with a 4th place, proclaiming it a good points day and thanking sponsors should not take place on this track.
Professional golf has four major tournaments. Those four stand out above the rest. When golfers discuss the tournaments they play in, they talk about the regular PGA Tour events and then they talk about the majors. Those tournaments are put up on a pedestal above all others.
Golfers realize they have only four chances per year to win a major and they have only so many chances in a lifetime to win a tournament that will be remembered forever. Their careers are not judged by how many regular tournaments they won or where they finished in the season long standings. At the end of it all, a golferâ€™s career is measured by the number of majors he won.
Racing should be the same way. For four weeks a year, letâ€™s just forget about points altogether. The biggest races on the schedule are big enough in their own right. Winning those races should be all that matters.
A driver and team should not go to Indianapolis, Daytona, Darlington or Charlotte worried about making the Chase for the Championship or holding on to a position in the standings.
To illustrate how points obsessed the sport has become, on the first lap of this yearâ€™s Daytona 500 television commentator Larry McReynolds pointed out that Martin Truex had earned five bonus points for leading a lap. That was the biggest race of the year and the first lap of the season!
How about not awarding points for the four â€˜majorsâ€™ in racing? Let the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600, the Southern 500 and the Brickyard 400 stand on their own merits. To take away the points would not diminish those races, but instead, it would serve to emphasize the importance of winning those races.
Just think of how hard the drivers race in the Sprint All Star Challenge with no points on the line. Winning is all that matters in that race. Shouldnâ€™t the same be true of the sportâ€™s four biggest events?
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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