It’s no secret that the higher-ups and officials of NASCAR have made some bad decisions in the past. There are bad decisions in every sports league almost every day. One of the more despised decisions that NASCAR has made in the past ten years is the points system introduced in 2014. It’s time for a new points system in the sport.
Why is there a need for a new Points System?
The points system originally introduced in 2014 had an idea if you win one of the first twenty-six races of the season, you will automatically qualify for the playoffs, or what was called the chase at the time. To qualify for the playoffs, you would have to have at least one win during the regular season or be in the top 16 in points. 16 drivers would qualify for the playoffs originally. The playoffs take place over the last ten races of the season. Every three races, there would be an elimination race. During these elimination races, the bottom four in points would be eliminated from the playoffs. Their season would essentially be over. That would just leave four drivers to compete for the championship at the last race of the season. At first, it wasn’t a terrible idea. But that was before the playoffs even started.
When the playoffs started, that’s when the fans eventually understood how bad of a system this was. It was evident not only during the 2014 season but every season since then. Jeff Gordon, who quite possibly was en route to his 5th championship, was eliminated in the final round of the playoffs by one point. Kevin Harvick, who was the next best driver in the field that season, would go on to win the championship. This is the issue with this system. You have very talented drivers who are more than capable of winning the championship being eliminated due to a part failure or something ridiculous. But unfortunately, this is not the only way that this system is an issue.
Why the System is an issue in 2022:
As of this past weekend’s race in Richmond, which was the 24th race of the season, there have been 15 different winners. Which leaves only one driver to make it in on points or win their way in. Here’s the problem with that. Whoever doesn’t make it in, the bottom line is that one of the Sport’s most successful drivers will not make it in. Either Ryan Blaney makes it into the playoffs via points and Martin Truex Jr doesn’t, or vice versa. Either way, you look at it, it’s an outrage for the sport. The fact that there have been five first-time winners doesn’t help with this, but that’s to be expected with the young talent. Unfortunately, either the driver who is second in points or fifth in points won’t be contending for the championship. It’s a shame. They are both championship-caliber drivers.
At this point in the season, we very well could have had more than 16 winners. We very easily could have had at least 18 different winners at this point in the season. Bubba Wallace could have won in Michigan. Corey Lajoie could have won at Atlanta in July. Then what would we have been talking about? More than likely the same issues we’re discussing now but then it would be about who has more points out of all those drivers to make it in. This system needs to change, not just from a fan’s viewpoint but from a professional viewpoint as well.
What is the Ideal Points System?
The one thing that NASCAR could do to fix the current points system would be to get rid of it entirely. Scrap it. Throw it away. This would please the fans and solve any remaining issues with this system. The other and best possibility that NASCAR could do is that they reform the system into a new system. This would make more sense from an official and professional view. But what would the Ideal Points System be for the drivers and the fans to be happy with? The current points system is to create drama, that was NASCAR’s hope when they came up with the idea of this system. Some fans have been coming up with their own ideas for a perfect points system.
Some fans want to go back to the old points system that was used up to 2004. The old system would give drivers their points based on their finishing position. That’s back when they would let the championship play out on its own. Some other fans have been coming up with ideas of combining the old system with new elements. A new idea could be to bring the old system back but keep stage racing in the races. Points should be handed out for consistency. 16 drivers should still be allowed to compete for the championship. The 16 drivers who make it into the playoffs should be the Top 16 in points. No more win and you’re in. No more elimination-style playoffs. The championship should be decided and awarded to a driver who has accumulated the most points over the season and was the most consistent.