No matter how the proposal is packaged, this writer still
canít find the logic in holding a ten-race post season in
the midst of a 36-race regular season.
The current NASCAR point system has always been about
chance, about not putting too much distance between first
and second or first and fifth or fifth and tenth. Everyone
always felt that no matter what happened in any one
particular race, a team and their driver always had a chance
to make it up in the next race.
Should NASCAR adopt a system that prevents a driver and a
team from pushing hard over the final ten events to win a
coveted 10th place position? I think not. Racing isnít
supposed to be just about who takes the checkered flag
first. Racing is about a team effort that never gives up. Locking in
the top-ten with ten races remaining is a death knell to the efforts
of those outside the top ten. Where, beyond the dollar differences
paid to each position, is the incentive to perform?
No, the NASCAR points system isnít broken and it certainly
doesnít need changing for the sake of change.
While a move to a playoff system might sound good for
television, it would hardly help sell tickets. It takes 43
drivers to fill the stands. Yes, the majority of the seats
are holding butts wearing the clothing of the top-ten;
however, maximum profits come by filling all the seats, not
just the majority.
Why are we even talking about changing the point system? Is it
because there is nothing else nearly as important on the
agenda? I doubt that.
Weíre all aflutter about changing the point system because
Matt Kenseth put together a year of consistent finishes that
simply left his competition in the dust. The more consistent
Kenseth ran, the harder his competition tried and the more
mistakes they made. Kenseth didnít beat the competition to
the checkered flag, with the exception of the one win at Las
Vegas in March. What Kenseth did was stay on the track while
his competition hit walls, blew engines and made mistakes in
Quite simply, Kenseth and crew chief Robbie Reiser found the
formula that worked in 2003, which is not to say the same
formula will work in 2004.
The rules are changing in 2004, with or without a change
in the point system. Changes in body shapes, spoiler heights
and tire compounds that should put the driver back in
control of the racecar; changes which have already proven
successful in the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR
Craftsman Truck Series.
With all of the changes planned for 2004, changing the point
system on top of it all could be destructive to the
popularity of the sport. When a race team falls behind the
first thing they start doing is making all kinds of changes,
despite the knowledge that changing too many things at one
time means youíre less likely to know what worked and what
It might be nice for NASCAR to wait a year before changing
the point system, just to make sure the changes already
announced are all that is needed to provide a tight points
race in 2004.
The author can be contacted
to discuss this article