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Now if the NASCAR champion were determined strictly by Best Average Finish over the entire season...... | NASCAR Racing Breaking News: Trackside Live, Every Week, Every Sprint Cup Race - MikeMulhern.net


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Now if the NASCAR champion were determined strictly by Best Average Finish over the entire season......

   Whoa! Let's check all these numbers again....but it looks like Tony Stewart is the man who has had the best season in NASCAR -- Wonder if it's time for NASCAR execs to rethink this whole points system? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   On the way in from Phoenix, we came up with some interesting figures to ponder, while Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and car owner Rick Hendrick prepare to celebrate the conclusion to their amazing season here in this weekend's Sprint Cup tour finale.
    And no wonder the mood in the rest of the NASCAR garage is decidedly downbeat. 
    For everyone but the Hendrick clan the end of this frustrating season can't come soon enough.
    From Richard Childress to Jack Roush, and even Joe Gibbs – the other three car owners in this sports' Big Four – 2009 has been a very forgettable year. Little if anything to celebrate.
    Childress' four teams are still winless after 35 races; Jeff Burton scored the last victory, at Charlotte last fall. Kevin Harvick hasn't won since the first race of 2007. Clint Bowyer and Casey Mears are struggling too.
    Roush at least boasts the Daytona 500 trophy, and those wins at California and Talladega. But his men, like Childress' and Gibbs', have never been a factor in the championship chase. At least Denny Hamlin put Gibbs in the playoffs, after Kyle Busch missed by eight points; but Hamlin has been too erratic.
     So what next, after Sunday's  celebration, or coronation?

    In fact it is somewhat surprising, perhaps, that – while NASCAR cracked down and changed rules dramatically after Matt Kenseth's runaway championship in 2003 for Roush, and while NASCAR cracked down again after Roush put all five of his teams in the title playoffs in 2005 (though rival Tony Stewart won the championship for Gibbs) – NASCAR executives have said virtually nothing about changing things for next season during these past few weeks, even though Hendrick is on the verge of becoming the first team owner in NASCAR history to sweep first, second and third in the championship system.
    Why is it some in NASCAR garage are becoming skeptical about NASCAR's stance in all this?
    Well, maybe Jimmie Johnson is the best driver in NASCAR history, and Chad Knaus one of the great crew chiefs.
    But somehow there is the sense there is more going on here than just superior talent.
    Level playing field? Here are the numbers; you decide.

    So just how dominant have Rick Hendrick's guys been this season?
    Consider these points, for the tour's Big Four:   
    (based on the season's total average finishes)

    Team Hendrick      
    Jeff Gordon              10.286       (led 827 laps)
    Jimmie Johnson       11.257       (led 2210 laps)
    Mark Martin             13.714       (led 805 laps)
    Dale Earnhardt Jr.    23.114       (led 146 laps)
    Average:                  14.59275    (total laps led 3988)

    Team Stewart
    Tony Stewart           10.114       (led 371 laps)
    Ryan Newman         14.429       (led 214 laps)
    Average:                  12.2715     (total laps led 585)

    Team Hendrick-plus-Team Stewart
    Average:                  13.819       (total laps led 4573)

    Team Gibbs
    Denny Hamlin       13.514        (led 1309 laps)
    Kyle Busch            15.571       (led 1156 laps)
    Joey Logano          19.886       (led 36 laps)
    Average:               16.3236      (total laps led 2501)

   Team Roush
   Greg Biffle               13.971       (led 551 laps)
   Carl Edwards           15.286        (led 164 laps)
   Matt Kenseth           15.457        (led 245 laps)
   Jamie McMurray     21.543        (led 33 laps)
   David Ragan            24.171        (led 4 laps)
   Average:                 18.0856       (total laps led 997)

   Team Childress
    Clint Bowyer          15.029     (led 40 laps)
    Jeff Burton              18.429      (led 77 laps)
    Casey Mears           19.857     (led 24 laps)
    Kevin Harvick        20.429      (led 103 laps)
    Average:                 18.436      (total laps led 244)

    Now here's a twist:
    Yes, Jimmie Johnson is all-but assured of that fourth straight championship.
    But, consider this: If the Sprint Cup title were based strictly on overall season performance – how well you finished in every race – Johnson would be only third going into the finale.   
     The top 12 in the championship playoffs, based on their overall season's average finishes

     Tony Stewart                10.114
     Jeff Gordon                   10.286
     Jimmie Johnson            11.257
     Kurt Busch                   13.057
     Denny Hamlin              13.514
     Juan Pablo Montoya    13.571
     Mark Martin                  13.714
     Greg Biffle                   13.971
     Ryan Newman              14.429
     Kasey Kahne                15.229
     Carl Edwards                15.286
     Brian Vickers               17.257

    So, let's see….under this point system, if Tony finished last, 43rd, Sunday, and Jeff won, a 1st, Jeff would finish with an average finish of….
    Well, that may take us a while to figure out.

    OBTW, how about the season's lap leaders? That's typically a good way to judge domination.
    The 12 men in the playoffs, based on laps led over the season
     Jimmie Johnson          2210
     Denny Hamlin            1309
     Jeff Gordon                  827
     Mark Martin                 805
     Tony Stewart                371
     Kurt Busch                   695
     Kasey Kahne                248
    Juan Pablo Montoya     388
    Greg Biffle                   551
    Carl Edward                 164

    You'd perhaps prefer to compare miles led, rather than laps led:
    (Again, the 12 men already in the playoffs)

     Jimmie Johnson             2,797.969 miles led
     Kyle Busch                    1,425.774
     Denny Hamlin               1,350.697
     Kurt Busch                       968.438
     Jeff Gordon                      964.916
     Mark Martin                     905.420
     Greg Biffle                       744.744
     Tony Stewart                   689.552
     Juan Pablo Montoya        663.740
     Matt Kenseth                    432.336
     Kasey Kahne                    422.660
     Carl Edwards                    349.376

     And if we look at the over top 12 drivers (not just playoff men), based on laps led over the season:

     Jimmie Johnson         2,210
     Denny Hamlin           1,309
     Kyle Busch                1,156
     Jeff Gordon                  827
     Mark Martin                805
     Kurt Busch                  695
     Greg Biffle                  551
     Juan Pablo Montoya   388
     Tony Stewart               371
     Kasey Kahne               248
     Matt Kenseth               245
     Ryan Newman             214

     But no matter which way you slice it, on laps led, Sunday's Miami 400 covers 267 laps, not enough to change the season's leader – one Jimmie Johnson.

Season Strategy

Why do we go through these exercises - interesting, yes, but I think all teams would race with a different strategy if there were no Chase, e.g., don't think Jimmie and Chad would have run out of gas at two races, they would have experimented less and raced for wins more as would others. Laps led is kind of interesting since folks think JJ just drives around and waits for the Chase. I don't think it matters if there is a Chase or not, the 48 team does what is necessary for whatever format there is. If your driver or team was crap under the old format, you complained too. I hope they change the format so everyone will start bitching about the new rules and change the channel..... I vote for the team with the best average fuel economy, that would really make folks stop watching football.

LMAO -- hey, i like it --

LMAO -- hey, i like it -- factoring in best average fuel economy.
why do we go through these exercises? well, it is either this or another jimmie johnson is the greatest story, or a danica patrick story, ora what's wrong with junior story, or lets boycott the national enquirer story....we're really running out of things to write about.


Sorry my comments came across as Anonymous and the article is great food for thought. Tired of the JJ bashing - the point system, today, is what it is. My other thread on having the drivers vote for who brings it week end and week out, is a serious suggestion for several reasons. You may win, but you have to earn respect and that comes from more than just bumping other drivers around. I got tired of watching Richard win all the time and quit watching but came back when I actually got a chance to go to more races. I do think NASCAR needs to work with the TV folks, get rid of ESPN/ABC because they simply are just too boring and the directors just don't know racing. You can eliminate the championship completely and folks will still show up and drivers will race to win. That's what it is all about. The "big business" part of the sport is the problem, NASCAR, TV, sponsors wanting TV time, etc.. Fans and drivers, what a concept!

New Point System

Mike its time Nascar and some of you in the press began to take notice!

When most fans are going to a race, they are wanting action that day!!!!!!!

How many fans that have been going to the Chase races are there for the Chase?

Most go to see the race!!! Ask them when you are at a Nascar Race!

Are you at this race to see a good race? Or you at this race race to see who win the Chase?

I dont see see many fans carrying a calculators or pen paper or are looking at scoreboard to see who is leading the Chase!

Its been high time to put the importance of going to a Nascar Race on the race itself not the Chase!

If Nascar thinks paying fans are going to a race to see who is winning the Chase, then they will be looking at more empty seats! The Chase or Point Title has "lost its lustre" !

Exactly! Yes, it's the race

Exactly! Yes, it's the race that counts, not the chase, on Sundays. i have long though this championship thing is overplayed, overhyped and overrated. which is one reason i put up these numbers. the question should be who is the best driver this season: is it jimmie johnson, because he won under this current 'system;' or maybe it's really kyle busch, who is winning in all three national series and is looking at an amazing 20-win year; or is it tony stewart, who has been the most consistent? or who?
Best Average Finish isn't a scoring system i'm advocating; i just put the numbers out there for y'all to look at and ponder. but then best average finish might actually work, maybe, i dont know. we need to do the math for this homestead finale (my brain got fried during the numbers i did, and I was hoping one of y'all would put this BAF to the test here...
Hey, I believe NASCAR sees the issue and wants your input.

Best That Day

Hey, I think the old points system was based on best average finish. How 'bout the drivers vote for the best driver at the end of the year? They know who brings it week end and week out. We just watch.

I don't like the Chase and the old points system has screwed Gordon out of a couple of additional championships and, of course, screwed Smoke out of another. The point I made earlier is that no matter what system you use, the strategy will be different, drivers will race differently, you will still have the boring Daga races, etc.. Point is, no matter what point system you use, you will still have repeat champions, dominant teams and boring end of season races. I agree with the previous post about the race, that day, that moment. I quit watching NASCAR when Richard won all the time, unless Pearson was racing. I still like the King but it was all about who would be second. I got past that and started back up again in the late 80's.

TV is the problem, not the points system. When you are at the race or, almost as good, listening the the awesome radio description, it is an event, and I don't give a rat's ass about the points. Example, last year at Atlanta, JJ did not win, the 99 had the fastest car that race and that season. BUT, the call Chad made, the 9 laps JJ ran balls out, all that made for a great race and in the larger scheme, got into the mind of the 99 and really won the championship. One race, one day and the points system didn't really matter.

best average finish

I think that is a HORRENDOUS idea! Best average finish? Winning should count for MORE than it does now, not less. Go back to the drawing board, Mike.

LOL: I agree winning should

LOL: I agree winning should be big; in fact i sort of like the idea that the guy who wins the most races is the champion.
And I dont necessarily think Best Average Finish is a good 'idea' either; i just put some of these figures out there to raise some questions.....i dont think this 190-175-160 or whatever it is 35-year-old point system does much either....i just thought it was interesting to see just who exactly has had the 'best' season. looks to me like tony. just trying to give credit where credit is due.

Best average finish!

Awesome Idea!!! How good they run all season long is much more important then just counting wins! That is what makes a true Champion. JJ may win, but he is NOT at real champion. He nothing more the a 10 race lucky dog! That is all he is and always will be. A true Champion runs well all season long, not just for 10 races like JJ does it.


This was something I was pondering earlier this week - average finishes make for average races - everyone would be just trying not to crash - not too much fun.

How about ZERO points for any finish worse than 20th?? I mean really - after that who cares, and maybe then we wouldn't have to see all those mangled cars running around just trying to make laps.

1 point for 20th, increasing by one point up to 11th, then increasing by 2 points per position from 10th to 6th, then increasing by 3 points from 5th to 1st with a 5-point bonus for winning.
Winner gets 40 points, 2nd gets 32, 3rd gets 29....down to 1 point for 20th.

A system like this rewards good finishes and puts a premium on top 5's and top 10's.

So I looked at the top 20 and cruched some numbers in an Excel spreadsheet. Jimmy wins no matter what - his season is that good. After that, winning, then top-5's, then top 10's take over. The loser in all of this is the 42, who runs around with no wins and only a few top 5's. The big benefit would be to the 18, who wins a lot.

Assuming no points reset for the Chase, total season points right now have the top 10 in the standings as: 48, 14, 24, 5, 11, 2, 9, 18, 16, 99.

Assuming a new top 12 with the 42 out and the 18 in the Chase and all 12 cars start at zero to start the Chase, the top 10 in Chase points are 48, 5, 24, 11, 2, 14 , 16, 9, 18, 39, 11, 83.

Even after considering a system with a biased points system like this, all the same cars are up near the top. So does it all really matter??

Most Wins & Most Laps Led Should Dictate Champion

The points system needs to emphasize most wins and most laps led - these are performance, and racing is supposed to be about performance. Such a system would also put an end to points-racing and might also help equalize the field somewhat, as drivers have too many points on the line to let any one driver like Johnson win the race or lead the most laps.

New Point System

The driver with the less points wins:
1 point for 1st place finish,
2 points for 2nd, 3 for 3rd all the way to 43 points for a 43rd place finish.
subtract 1 point for leading the most laps
do away with leading a lap.
Give more money for finishing 1 -10
Less money for finishing 30th or below.
At the end of the season the...lowest points wins....
(it is what it is this way)

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