Thursday, February 10, 2011

NASCAR President Mike Helton Confirms Points System Change Imminent

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR President Mike Helton, Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton and Sprint Cup Series director John Darby held a competition update news conference Friday at Daytona International Speedway, confirming that the sanctioning body is looking at a "simpler" points system that would be introduced in all three national series for the 2011 season.

Speaking to reporters during downtime from a three-day preseason test session at the Daytona Beach track, the trio spoke on a wide range of issues. First, Helton made the news official that drivers must now select only one of the three national series to earn points toward a championship. He also indicated NASCAR was considering changes to the 1, 3 and 7:30 p.m. race start times introduced this past year.

Pemberton said that the proposed fuel injection systems would not be used this season but are progressing well in tests and Darby explained that the introduction of ethanol to fuel this year was actually an easier transition than when NASCAR switched from leaded to unleaded fuel in 2008.

The hot topic, unquestionably, was a change to the points system -- which would be the first since NASCAR formed in 1958 -- even if none of the officials would confirm what the new format might look like.

"We're in the middle of the conversations, telling the competitors where our mind is,'' Helton said. "The goal for some time is to create a points system that is easy to understand, easy to explain, easy to talk about but also be credible at the end of the season. So it's a function of taking the current one that has established credibility and come up with one that you can sit and have a conversation with someone and they say, 'well, that's pretty simple.' ''

"We're close. And we're getting a lot of good feedback from the drivers about tweaks that would go into that.''


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