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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

“Simple” points system would be simply stupid; reward winning more instead

NASCAR is trying to get more fans in every way it can, but some ideas just aren’t so hot, and one of those is the rumored “simple” points system they would put in place.

It would allegedly be very basic … 43 points for the win, 42 for second, … etc … and 1 point for last place.

Apparently, NASCAR thinks that this change in how points are handed out would make fans come back to some degree. But they are wrong.

It makes no sense, and goes against the very concept of what a points system should do: Reward winning. If there is only one point between 1st and 2nd, why would you fight harder for the win. Instead of a one-point difference, there needs to be a huge difference between first and second. That way, the people who win will finish higher in points more easily.

This idea, if the reports are accurate, is just straight up silly. Instead of a whole new re-imagining of the points system, just leave the current one and add about 20 to 30 points more to the winner. That’s it. Under this scenario, I’m pretty sure Jamie McMurray, who won big races but didn’t perform great every week, would have made the Chase in 2010.

Winning is what matters. While the drivers might like that consistency gets you a championship, fans want drivers to win on their way to a title. Otherwise, it feels like a cheap title. It’s human nature; seeing a guy who finishes 6th every week win the title is boring. We would rather see the guy who wins 5 races in the Chase but finishes 20th in the other five take the trophy.

So I hope cooler heads prevail, and this radical “simpler” points system doesn’t go into place. There’s no need to dumb down the sport in an effort to get more fans. People can be dumb, but they’re not children, so don’t treat them that way. (I do, however, like some other proposed changes; such as allowing the 8 drivers with the most wins into the Chase, regardless of points position, then taking a few winless drivers who are high in points to round out the Chase field.)

The formula for NASCAR to get more viewers is simple: Make it about winning. If the drivers are racing harder for wins, the action will be better and more people will watch. End of story.

Another Wallace in the 500
I hope the spotters in the Cup series are on top of their game next month at Daytona … because here comes Steve Wallace.
Rusty’s son has long been known for finding the wall in the Nationwide series, but all kidding aside he is actually a decent driver when he decides to be. So when he jumps behind the wheel of the #77 Toyota (yes, those Penske points guarantee him a starting spot in the race), he’s going to make his debut in Cup in the Daytona 500.
He will be the fourth Wallace to race in the Daytona 500, following Rusty, Kenny and Mike.

"Starting my first Daytona 500 is definitely going to be the most exciting day of my career-make that my life-so far,” Wallace said. “It's something that every kid wanting to be a racer-including me-dreams of doing one day.

Rusty was excited for his son, saying: "This is a big event for all of us-for Steve, our team, our family and our sponsors," Wallace stated, "He's grown by leaps and bounds as a driver in the Nationwide Series over the last few years and we think he's ready for this opportunity. I really believe that the new pavement at Daytona is going to be a great equalizer among the teams. The cars will have a ton of grip and it's going to make handling a much smaller part of the equation.”

Bill Elliott to #09 car
On the opposite end of the spectrum is nearly four-decade veteran Bill Elliott, who is still at it and will race for the Phoenix Racing team at least 18 times this year. That opens up the #21 Wood Brothers car for Trevor Bayne, who will likely be able to run enough races to compete for Rookie of the Year, and should win that award easily.

Interesting stat: This is the first time in his career Elliott will start the season driving a Chevy, hard to believe after all these years in the business.
"It's big for us and big for Chevrolet to get Bill Elliott," owner James Finch said. "It's the first time in his career that he's committed to race a Chevrolet."

Elliott, who is testing the car this week at Daytona, said he's excited about the move to the team that won in 2009 with Brad Keselowski at Talladega.
"I think this will be a really good deal," he said. "James has really good race cars, and there's no doubt about the Hendrick equipment. After all, look at all the championships they've won."

Former driver stabbed
Former NASCAR driver and current engine supplier Joey Arrington (9 Cup starts) was seriously injured in a stabbing on Jan. 15. He was treated at the Martinsville Memorial Hospital for two stab wounds to his chest and later transported to Carillion Hospital in Roanoke Va. where he was treated and released. He told police his ex-girlfriend came to his home, which led to an altercation that resulted in the stabbing.

Best of luck in his recovery.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt, in other words, why even have a points system at all. Just run 36 races and the winners of those races are the only teams eligible for the championship. The team with the most wins is the champion. In the case of a tie, fans vote in the winner. There you have it, winning and popularity are all that count, right?

January 20, 2011 at 1:49 PM 

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