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Jolly's Weekly NASCAR
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Old 10 Dec 2003, 10:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Jolly's Weekly NASCAR

the second edition people. this week is about the points system
Last Lap: NASCAR's playoff idea a bit drastic
Whoever among the top 10 scores the most points in the final 10 races would win the title, while all other drivers are simply racing for 11th place. A radical idea? Sure, but NASCAR isn't joking around.

"It's definitely more than a trial balloon," NASCAR communications director Mike Zizzo said Tuesday. "We've been looking at different scenarios for the past several months regarding the points system.

Mike Zizzo

"We're seriously considering the system we've been discussing of late. We've talked to owners, we've talked to drivers, we've talked with our management team, our competition folks -- we're looking at this very seriously."

The actual points distribution wouldn't change much, Zizzo said.

Matt Kenseth won the 2003 championship in a runaway, clinching the title with one race to go. But under the proposed system, Kenseth would have finished seventh, with Jimmie Johnson winning the title by scoring the most points in the final 10 races.

Johnson, who said Tuesday he was not in favor of the proposed system, finished second to Kenseth in the actual standings.

Had the system been in place this year, Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Bobby Labonte, Kurt Busch, Terry Labonte and Michael Waltrip would have raced for the championship, as they were the top-10 drivers after the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond, the season's 26th race.

Johnson would have beaten teammate Jeff Gordon by 55 points, based on six consecutive top-three finishes to close the season. As it was, Johnson fell 90 points short of Kenseth, mostly because Kenseth blew an engine and finished last in the final race of the season.

The idea, Zizzo said, is to create added excitement.

"It would create a playoff atmosphere for us that would be similar to other sports," Zizzo said.

The Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series titles came down to the final race. Six drivers were eligible for the Busch title, with Brian Vickers beating David Green by 14 points.

Travis Kvapil won the NCTS championship by nine points over Dennis Setzer, with fourth-place Brendan Gaughan -- who led into the final race but crashed -- 40 points behind in fourth.

Zizzo said the target date for picking a points system is mid-January. NASCAR holds testing at Daytona International Speedway in January, with the Nextel Cup cars testing Jan. 6-8 and Jan. 13-15.

There are some other minor changes being considered. For instance, if a driver is close enough to the top 10, he could be included in the race for the championship.

"Say they're 50 points out of first place, and they're in 11th or 12th place, we might extend that window of people who are eligible," Zizzo said.

If such a system was in place in 2003 - without the added provision -- neither defending Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart nor Bill Elliott would have been able to scramble inside the top 10.

Also, more points could be awarded to the winner. That was one of the criticisms this year, as Kenseth won only one race, while Ryan Newman won a series-leading eight but finished sixth in the points.

"(We're) still considering that," Zizzo said.

And that could be included in the new system

"The scoring system as you know it will virtually stay the same, outside of a couple of tweaks - if we go with them - such as giving more points to the race winner, and even possibly scoring the same amount of points for some of the finishers at the tail end," Zizzo said.

For example, positions 35th through 43rd could receive the same number of points. That would help alleviate some problems caused by slower cars returning to the track after an accident, just to try to pick up one or two positions.

"If you look at it, you've got cars going out there just to score points, so they're just running around," Zizzo said.

To go along with that, NASCAR is considering raising the minimum speed at each track, Zizzo said.

Analysis of the final standings since 1975 -- the first year the points system was used -- showed that 13 of the 29 champions would have been different:

The first was in 1980, when Cale Yarborough would've added a fourth title, winning instead of Dale Earnhardt -- who claimed the first of his seven titles that season.

Darrell Waltrip would have made it three consecutive titles in 1983, winning instead of Bobby Allison.

Harry Gant would have won two championships, the first in 1984 instead of Terry Labonte, and the second in 1991, denying Dale Earnhardt.

Earnhardt would have also been denied in 1987 by Bill Elliott and in 1993 by Rusty Wallace.

Kyle Petty would have won his only championship in 1992 instead of Alan Kulwicki.

Other changes: Earnhardt, and not Jeff Gordon, would have won in 1995; Gordon, and not Terry Labonte, would have won in 1996; Jarrett, and not Gordon, would have won in 1997; Bobby Labonte, and not Jarrett, would have won in 1999; Sterling Marlin, and not Gordon, would have won in 2001; and Johnson, and not Kenseth, would have won, in 2003.

The biggest loser would have been Earnhardt, who would have been a four-time champion instead of a seven-time champ. And Gordon would have only two titles and not four.

The champions who remained the same were in 1975 (Richard Petty), 1976-78 (all Cale Yarborough), 1979 (Petty), 1981-82, '85 (all Waltrip), 1986 (Earnhardt), 1988 (Elliott), 1989 (Rusty Wallace), 1990, '94 (Earnhardt), 1998 (Gordon), 2000 (Bobby Labonte) and 2002 (Tony Stewart).

But that's all speculation, of course. NASCAR hasn't decided yet.

"There are a lot of options," Zizzo said. "We want to investigate every different option."
i think thats not a good idea. maybe they could just do the last 3 to 5 races or something. not 10!

your thoughts?
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Old 10 Dec 2003, 11:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Not a bad idea....but I really dont know about it.
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