Sunday, January 30, 2011

NASCAR Announces New Points Format, Chase Changes, New Qualifying Rules

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Citing the need to make the championship format "simpler," NASCAR chairman Brian France formally introduced a new points system for the three national touring series Wednesday and also announced slight changes to the Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff format and race qualifying procedures.

As has been rumored during the last two weeks, the new points payout will be 43-to-1 -- paying 43 points to the race winner with each position decreasing in one-point intervals, with a single point going to last place in the 43-car fields.

The race winner will also receive a three-point bonus. There are one-point bonuses available for leading one lap and for the driver who leads the most laps, meaning there is a maximum of 48 points available for a race winner who leads the most laps.

"So now everyone will know, when a driver is down by 10 points, that he needs to pass 11 more cars to take the lead in the point standings,'' France told a crowded room of reporters at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in downtown Charlotte.

"Very much a simple, easy to understand system for us."

In other significant news, France announced the third major change to the Chase playoff format since its inception eight years ago. The top 10 drivers in points after the 26-race regular season will qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. And in an effort to emphasize winning, NASCAR will now make the 11th and 12th place Chase qualifiers the drivers outside the top-10 with the most wins -- giving it a sort of wild-card feel.

The top-10 drivers will be reseeded as before, with a three-point bonus given for each win, compared to the 10-point bonus previously handed out. The 11th and 12th place drivers will be reseeded but will not receive bonus points for their wins.

"These guys are going to be driving like their hair is on fire,'' Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said.

"Give NASCAR credit for placing the emphasis on winning races with the new points system. The points championship should be secondary to winning races week in and week out. If you do that, championships take care of themselves."


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