In the second part of a moderately-ongoing series, I take a look at a particular aspect of Nascar (in this case, the points system), and give it a makeover from square one.
I think that the moment after Bill France Sr. introduced the idea of a Championship Points System for the Strictly Stock Series, people immediately complained that it didn't reward winning enough. Since then, Nascar has gone through a slew of different points systems, none of which have pleased everybody. Thankfully, in THIS article, I'm operating outside of reality and don't have to worry about everybody (or anybody for that matter). So here's MY plan to improve the Sprint Cup Points System:
--First of all, the Chase stays. Yes, its gimmicky. Yes, its unnatural. Yes, it seems to benefit drivers who excel at cookie-cutter tracks. But you know what? Its STILL better than the old system, where anybody who could avoid lots of DNF's could win a championship. So sorry, old-timers--the Chase stays in the picture.
--Something I don't understand--if you manage to swing pit strategy so that you can stay out one lap later than the field, you can lead a lap and get a bonus point. Meanwhile, if you dominate a race thoroughly to lead the most laps you get…another bonus point? Lets make that "Most Laps Led" bonus worth two points (thus, the driver who leads the most laps would get three points--1 for leading A lap, and 2 for leading the MOST laps).
--A driver who wins would get 47 points. That way, the most points a driver could accumulate in a single race would be 50, a nice, round number to shoot for. By the way, this paragraph could be the closest the number 47 ever gets to winning in Cup.
--Second place gets 43 points. Yes, its a steep step down from first place (47 points). But what have we always wanted? More emphasis on winning! This way, we can have more drivers gambling on track, and more teams rolling the dice with set-ups off it.
--Going from 2nd place to 35th place would decrease by one point each, staying with the current system. Thus, 3rd place gets 42 points, 4th place gets 41, etc., down to 10 points for 35th place.
--Anybody finishing below 35th place gets NO POINTS. That's right--you want to start & park? Fine, but you won't get any points for doing it. You have to try to run the full race to try to stay in the top-35. ***NOTE***--This assumes that we stay with the current rules for qualifying, which I'll tackle in a future article.
--I'd like to see prize money purses changed the same way--same money for each driver from 35th on back, so that way anybody with no legitimate intent to run the full race can get out of everybody's way on lap 1.
--At the end of the "regular season", the Top-10 drivers in points automatically qualify for the Chase. They're then reseeded much as they are now, by wins (with each win counting as three bonus points). This is an aspect of the current system that I love.
--As was brought up by a fan in an ESPN chat, the points leader at the end of the regular season should get something. That's why I will gladly lift David Newton's idea that the regular-season leader should get first pit stall choice for the entire Chase. Just a little something to give them "home field advantage".
--The current wild card rules stay (Points positions 11-20, first by total wins, then by total points). But here's the new catch--a driver MUST HAVE AT LEAST ONE WIN to qualify for the Chase as a wild-card.
--My kookiest idea yet--The Wednesday before the first Chase race, allow the other 8 drivers in points positions 11-20 who didn't qualify to run a "Last-Chance Race". The winner would qualify for the Chase as the 13th driver, with a significant points hurdle, but still with a shot. The race would also be limited to two drivers per team, so as to not allow one team to gang up on the rest of the field. It would be gimmicky, crazy, and entertaining as anything.
--The Chase drivers would be seeded as such: Top 10 get a "base" 1,000 points, plus 3 points each for each win. The two wild card drivers get 990 points each with NO bonus points for wins. The Last Chance Race winner would get 950 points (again, with no bonus points).
--The Chase races unfold much the same as they do now--same points as the regular season (albeit with the new points system as described above). The driver with the most points at the end wins, but MUST HAVE WON AT LEAST ONE RACE THAT SEASON (regular or Chase).
--And that's it! I'll patiently wait for a phone call from Brian France.