A couple of weeks ago Mark Bechtel wrote on si.com about how silly the NASCAR points system is, and I agree. Did you know that a driver could win half the races and not win the championship? Not only that, but he could lose to a driver who finishes 10th in every race? Look at the numbers (with no bonus points factored in):
Driver A: 18 wins x 175 points + 18 x 91 = 4788 total points Driver B: 36 x 134 points = 4824 points
That means Driver B could finish 10th in every race and score 134 points each, and beat Driver A who wins 18 times, finishes 12th 9 times and finishes 36th 9 times (24th place = 91 points) for the championship. That is just wrong.
Right now Matt Kenseth has a more than 200-point lead over Dale Earnhardt Jr. That means Kenseth could skip a race and still retain his points lead. Surely that means Kenseth is dominating Earnhardt on a weekly basis, right?
Hardly “dominating”, I’d say. Looking further down the standings, Bobby Labonte is currently 5th in the standing despite TEN top-5 finishes (2 more than anyone else), pretty much tied with Jimmie Johnson (4th) and Michael Waltrip (6th), even though they have 10 top-5 finishes COMBINED. Still further down the standings, Terry Labonte sits in 13th, one spot ahead of Tony Stewart. They must be having similar results, surely.
I guess not. I much prefer the old CART points system which awarded points for 1st through 12th places (20-16-14-12-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1). Bechtel’s article (and some serious time to kill) compelled me to look up each of the previous races this year and apply that points system to the results. I also added one point for winning the pole (having the fastest car in qualifying should mean something) and one point for leading a lap. I added a two-point bonus for leading the most laps, so in my system dominating the weekend (winning pole, leading the most laps) but suffering a bad break and a DNF leaves you with 4 points, the same as someone who just rides around all race to finish 9th. That seems fair to me.
I also like the idea of stopping the points awarded at 12th. I’ve never seen a “big one” claim so much of the field that less than 12 cars were really racing at the finish. Plus that eliminates the need to place the cars in a “big one” in order at the end of the race. Currently, if seven cars are damaged beyond repair in the “big one” they must be placed in order from 37th to 43rd. That’s 18 points difference from 37th to 43rd, a pretty big difference when you’ve had a championship margin of 10 points (Alan Kulwicki, ’92). Just give ‘em a “DNF” from now on.
Here is my current top ten (current Winston Cup rank in parentheses) after 20 races. I’ll update this periodically if people show interest.
1. (2) Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 180 points 2. (1) Matt Kenseth – 174 points 3. (5) Bobby Labonte – 167 points 4. (9) Ryan Newman – 152 points 5. (8) Kurt Busch – 146 points 6. (3) Jeff Gordon – 142 points 7. (14) Tony Stewart – 106 points 8. (4) Jimmie Johnson – 103 points 9. (6) Michael Waltrip – 103 points 10. (7) Kevin Harvick – 87 points
Another positive side to changing the points this way is that it would still allow for drivers to get injured and miss some races but contend for the title. I also did the Busch Grand National races (it was a LOT of time, I had) and while the top three in standings would be exactly the same, Kevin Harvick would be in fourth, despite only starting 8 races. But why shouldn’t Harvick be in fourth? Here are my current top five BGN racers:
1. Scott Riggs – 2 wins, 8 top-4’s, 11 top-12’s 2. David Green – 2 wins, 8 top-4’s, 15 top-12’s 3. Jason Keller – 1 win, 5 top-4’s, 13 top-12’s 4. Kevin Harvick – 2 wins, 6 top-4’s, 8 top-12’s 5. Brian Vickers – 0 wins, 5 top-4’s, 12 top-12’s
I know Harvick is Busch-whacking, but the injury scenario applies here. What if Harvick had been injured and missed the races instead of just not competing in them? Missing thirteen races would kill his title chances (he’s actually in 25th) and he might be compelled to try and come back to try and get higher in the standings. Instead, by my formula, he gets much more credit for the 8 races he’s raced in than damage for the 13 races he’s missed.
(edited by JayJayDean on 29.7.03 1139) Washington Huskies, 2003 Pac-10 football champs. Coming soon.
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