The New Points System and Rules Set by NASCAR

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After finding some time to revamp the existing point system to make things easier both for fans and drivers, NASCAR announced that it has changed some rules for the game. For one, it changed the point system for its top three series.

NASCAR president Brian France hopes it will make the sport much simpler for fans to follow.

Also, the governing body will set the qualifying order according to practice speeds, as well as set the starting order on practice speeds if qualifying is rained out. Before this change, the qualifying order was set by a draw and starting order was determined by points.

The new points system is the first wholesale change, as the last one had been in place since 1975, and it is as follows:

1. The first place driver will receive 43 points, second place 42, and a pattern of subtracting one point for each subsequent position all the way to last place;
2. The winner will be given three bonus points;
3. The driver that leads a lap gets one bonus point, and another bonus point will be given for the driver that leads the most laps;
4. A maximum is set for the winner, at 47 points, and minimum at 48; the second-place driver will be awarded 42 points minimum and 44 points maximum.

This new points system was announced by France at the NASCAR Hall of Fame at the end of Day 3 of the Media Tour before the season starts.

If this new points system had been in place last season, Jimmie Johnson would still have won the championship, his fifth straight one, kicking out Denny Hamlin with five points. But with the old system still in place, he enjoyed a victory of 39 points over Hamlin, and 41 points over Kevin Harvick.

The large discrepancy was because the old system worked as follows:

1. The winner will receive 190 points if he won and led a lap, 195 if he had led the most laps;
2. The second place winner got 170 points minimum and 180 points maximum;
3. The last place driver would get about 20% of the total points, versus only about two percent in the new scoring system.

Although some people believe that this new system will reward consistency over winning, NASCAR president Mike Helton defended it, saying that they can still continue to stir up the desire to win, depending on how they applied the bonus points to a basic simple structure. Reportedly, NASCAR has already discussed the revamp with Sprint Cup organizations individually before arriving at the final decision. Sources said that officials debated over the bonus points from one to three, and two turned out to be the most favored number.

Last season’s champion and five-time winner Johnson said himself that he did not think the change could make a big difference in the results of the championship. He believes that consistency has always been a key to winner. He was seconded by four-time champion Jeff Gordon, who said the new system made more sense, admitting that he had often been confused by the points system. Richard Petty, seven-time champion, also agreed on the advantages of a simpler point system, but did not agree with bonus points being given for anything.

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