Jamie McMurray made some interesting comments the other day regarding the importance of getting off to a good start to the season. His references to finishing position were in regards to the existing points system. To read the entire article, click here. Here are Jamie's comments:
"On our bad days, we ran 20th, which is not great. But if you finish 20th on your bad days, you still accumulate enough points to make the Chase, if you have enough good days. When you finish 30th, you just can't make up the difference. It's a deep hole.
"If you finish 30th, it literally takes a month of good races just to get even again. On our bad days, we would finish 16th to 20th, and those were days when you went home miserable."
This is before the bad days when finishing 43rd is 17.4% of the winner’s max points. Under the proposed new point system, getting 1 point for finishing 43rd now is only 2.3% of the winner’s points (43), and that’s before bonuses. Here we go, putting too high a value on consistency! If it took a month to recover from a 30th place finish in the old system, one DNF under the new points system means missing the chase. Here’s hoping your favourite driver doesn’t wreck in the Daytona 500. Can you imagine Mr. Five Time himself wrecking at Daytona and missing the chase because of it, never having a shot at the championship? Think 36 races is a long season now? Wait till you’re already practicing for next year in race #2!
What is the incentive to race for the next position if it means only gaining one point in the standings? Sure, if they put a big bonus on the win, second will try for first. But why would you risk a wreck to get to 4th from 5th and going from a 37 point day to a 14 point day? Especially if you're closing in on the chase or the championship and you've built yourself a bit of a cushion? The risk out weighs the reward! Not to mention how much more emphasis is on consistency with this system. Imagine with the new proposed system a driver winning 6 races with no bonus points also has 5 DNF's & pulls a 12.0 average finish the rest of the 'regular' season. He'd have earned approxamately 743 points under the proposed new system. Now imagine a driver finishes in 13th position in all 26 races. He'd have 806 points. Does this make sense to you?
I've put some thought into it, and came up with the following point system which I believe fairly rewards finishing higher in the standings, but does not punish a blown engine or getting caught up in someone else's wreck so severely.
1st - 100
2nd - 90
3rd - 81
4th - 73
5th - 66
6th - 60
7th - 55
8th - 51
9th - 48
10th - 46
11th - 45...
30th - 26
31st - 43rd - 25
5 Bonus points for leading at each 50 lap interval except for the final lap, i.e. 50,100,150...
5 Bonus points for leading the most laps
5 Bonus points for sitting on the pole
No cars are locked in to the top 35
Every race is impound
Fastest 43 cars qualify
With this method of scoring, it keeps competition up throughout the entire race with competitors trying to get to the front to lead at each 50 lap interval (5points) and it rewards running at the front (most laps 5 points) & it rewards improving your position (points pay more and more per position the closer you get to the lead) & it ensures that the best race cars make the race (Impound & fastest 43).
Max points with this system is 155 - (500 laps @ Bristol = 9 x 50 lap intervals @ 5 points each + 5 for the most laps and 5 for the pole) Finishing 31 - 43rd pays 25 points which is 16.1% of the winners points, with no incentive to return a wrecked car to the race track.
I believe if NASCAR is going to mess with the points system, this is the way to do it. What has been proposed will only go back to having someone win the championship with 1 win ala Matt Kenseth 2002. It is important to be consistent, but it's also important to go for the win each and every week. The 43 - 1 points system is not the way to make that happen!