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Friday, August 23, 2013

More tweaking needed for Chase field

NASCAR needs to reward winners over points

I read an article recently that just made such perfect sense, that I thought I would share it here. It was written by Bill Fleischman for the Daily News in Philadelphia. I happened to catch it on

Fleischman proposed that the Chase for the Championship include drivers in the 11th through 20th position who have won races. He said they should be automatically included in the Chase. That makes sense, since there are several drivers in the top 10 that have not won a race all year. Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Brad Kezelowski, and Kurt Busch have not won races this year. Yet, Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex, Joey Logano, and Ryan Newman, all outside the Chase as it now stands, have won races. Kahne has won two.

While NASCAR has tried to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup more geared to winning races, it is still conceivable that a champion could have a winless season. That just isn't right.

The way it stands right now, and of course this could change with the running Saturday night at Bristol, and the subsequent races at Atlanta and Richmond, four drivers, not including Tony Stewart who is out for the season, but who has won a race) there are four winning drivers in the top 20 that are not eligible for the Chase, and four winless drivers in the top 10 that are.

Fleischman pointed out the following:

"2010: Jaimie McMurray finished 14th in points, despite collecting three wins. Newman (15th), Juan Pablo Montoya (17th) and David Reutimann (18th) had one victory each."

2011: Clint Bowyer (13th), Kahne (14th), Menard (17th) and Marcos Ambrose (sic) (19th) all had one win.

2012: Kyle Busch (13th), Newman (14th), Logano (17th) and Ambrose (18th) each won once."

Fleischman contends that winners in the top 20 should be Chasers.

I agree, but would like to take it a little further. I would propose that all winning drivers be included in the Chase, since rarely are there drivers outside the top 20 that win a race.

Drivers that finished the season in the top 10 without winning a race all season include:
In 2010, Matt Kenseth, (5th); and Jeff Gordon, (9th).

In 2011, Dale Earnhardt, (7th).

In 2012, Martin Truex, Jr. finished in 11th over several other drivers who won races.

I like the way the points now determine the top drivers, but when the field is reset for the Chase, it should be focused on winning drivers first, and the highest number of points for non-winning drivers second. That is the opposite of the way it is now.

Once the field is reconfigured, the points should be set back to 0 for the Chase.

Winners need to be rewarded. Points for position don't take into consideration a bad break, having tire problems, or getting wrecked and not finishing a race. The positions should be based on driver's ability, not luck or points racing.

There really is no excuse for winning a race and not being in the Chase for the Championship. As Fleischman pointed out, a Chase run is good for sponsors and good for fans.

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