Racing/NASCAR

NASCAR’s Proposed Points Change Isn’t Ideal

NASCAR is considering a change that would simplify their points system. Instead of a driver getting 185 points for a win, he would receive 43. Second would get 42, and so on down to last place getting a single point. There are also bonus points awarded for leading a lap during the race. Basically, the math gets real easy. Apparently, that’s not a good thing.

The new system would make winning less important and could cause drivers to be more passive. Passive, careful drivers lead to less accidents and we all know that the aggressive driving that leads to accidents is a big part of the allure of the sport.

ESPN’s Terry Blount points out that it would greatly widen the gap between the top and bottom of the standings.

The proposed system also would bring a bigger points penalty for a bad finish. In the current system, excluding bonus points, first place is worth 5.1 times as much as last place.

In the proposed system, first place is worth 43 times as much as last place. That’s a gigantic penalty for someone who blew an engine. That’s not emphasizing winning. It’s destroying the loser.

Obviously, this proposed system would keep the points tighter among the top 10, but it’s a bit of an artificial closeness. It means fewer points between each position, but it also would be more difficult to catch up once a driver fell behind.

SI’s Tom Bowles sees the races becoming less exciting.

No, to me the main problem with NASCAR is the mere concept of a point system burdened with consistency taking hold: Drivers knowing on lap 100 that a fifth-place regular season finish, should they coast to the checkers, is better for them in the long run than risking a race win and crashing out. It’s the boring midsection of races, drivers running single-file and saving their aggression for the final 20 laps and not all 500, that has left younger fans running for the exits. The sport needs to do something aggressive to bring a “Boys, Have At It” mentality from the drop of the green to the drop of the checkered flag.

The idea of more convenient addition problems is nice, but less exciting races won’t be good for the sport these rule changes are supposed to help.

[SI.com / ESPN, Image via Getty]

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