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Now here's a novel idea for NASCAR to consider: the guy who wins the most races gets the championship

   Under F1's new championship plan, Jimmie Johnson would still have three NASCAR titles (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern


   BRISTOL, Tenn.
   Formula One is considering a dramatic change in how it determines its drivers' championship – giving the title to the man who wins the most races.
   Would that work in NASCAR?
   Maybe use the current points system to set the 12-man playoffs, and then the team that wins the most races in the final 10 would get the championship?
   How would the five chase titles have turned out under the F1 concept, with the man winning the most times in NASCAR's final 10 taking the title?
   Last season Jimmie Johnson, with three wins, would still have beaten Carl Edwards (also with three wins) on a points tie-breaker.
   In 2007 Johnson, with four wins, would still have won the championship.
   In 2006 Tony Stewart won three times in the final 10 but failed to make the playoff cut, so Kevin Harvick, with two wins, would have taken the title.
   In 2005 Edwards, with two wins and more points would have beaten Johnson; Stewart, in fact, won the title, with five wins that year but none in the final 10.
   In 2004 Johnson with four wins would have taken the title; in fact, Kurt Busch won the title, with three season wins but only one in the last 10.
   Obviously the F1 system would put a premium on winning.
   So what do NASCAR drivers think about that idea?
   Reaction here Friday was a mixture of surprise and thought.
   Kyle Busch likes the idea of the man with the most wins in the final 10 getting the crown. But others are leery.
   "Anything will work," Jeff Burton says. 'I'm not a real big fan of that (picking the title by wins)….because if you won seven races and fell out of seven races, perhaps you're not the best team.  
   "But I'm not sure how I feel about that.
   "That idea has been kicked around here for a while. But the thing here is you have to be consistent…especially in a 36-race schedule.
   "Our series is a marathon year. And as sports go, we run some of the longest races….and I think that means we need a different point system."
   "I'm not sure it would work in our form of racing," Johnson says.
   "I think that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," teammate Kevin Harvick says. "If it's about winning the most races, then the other races don't count?
   "In my opinion it's about 10 races (the last 10 to the title)….when you have problems it's all about the guy who can fix his car, who can come back from a loose wheel and make up two laps.
   "It (the F1 plan) would take an element of this sport away: if you're not capable of winning that day, if you've just having a bad day, what are the consequences of just packing it in."
   Clint Bowyer: "They're going to do what? Wow!
   "It's fun to win races, but our championship is not always about the guy who had the most success over the year. Under that (F1) format a guy who wins 10 races but falls out of five could win the championship, and I don't think that's fair.
   "Wins are to the fastest driver and the best team…but championships are to the men who are focused and consistent every week."
   Dale Earnhardt Jr.? "That sounds crazy, like the 60s or 70s. Maybe in Formula One it might work.
   "It would be interesting to have that (in NASCAR). Whatever the pins are set up, we'll try to knock 'em down.
   "I like what we got. But if they want to do that, I'd support them 100 percent. I don't want any controversy."
   Stewart: "I don't know. This sport has made it 60 years because they've made good decisions.
  "I think the system in place is a pretty good system. I don't think a major overhaul would work. We have four times as many teams (as Formula One) that can win the championship."
  Jeff Gordon, who has won four championships, says Formula One might not change its title scoring system: "I'm hearing that's not completely solid. I am a big F1 fan. In fact I was over in Belgium, and went driving around the Spa in the rain, though not in an F1 car.
  "I think Formula One is one of those series where you'll see a lot more dominance by one team than in our series. And the guys who win the most races usually wins the most races anyway.
   "I like what we have right now. If it paid more points to win, you could reward winning more.
   "I think it's the 10-9-8 thing (F1's scoring system) is what's hurting them, not the wins."
  Carl Edwards is likewise skeptical: "If you determine your champion just based on wins, you're taking a huge gamble of having the wrong champion.
  "If one guy wins one race and runs 20th in the rest of them, and another guy finishes second in every single race, that’s not the right guy for a champion.
    "The more and more I pay attention to all of these changes with all these point systems all over the board, the more I like the Nationwide series and Truck Series, where the guy with the best average finishing position throughout the year wins.
  "I think the farther we get away from that, the bigger the chance of changing our sport to try to fit in with others ...and I don’t think that’s best for us."
  "We all race for wins....and at the end of the year, you have to say the champion is the guy who ran the best through the season.
   I think we have to stay away from messing with the points too much."
   ...but Carl Edwards would have won the 2005 title, not Tony Stewart (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   And Kevin Harvick, not Jimmie Johnson, would have won the 2006 championship (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Yes to most wins equaling

Yes to most wins equaling championship. Most wins and most laps led. Those are the strongest performance gauges to be found in racing, and if they took precedence over best average finish these racers would race a lot harder.

Any idea shared by Max

Any idea shared by Max Moseley of FIA and Ed Hinton should be automatically suspect - and now even FIA has realized basing the driver championship on wins alone is a bad idea and has delayed any change at least until 2010, if ever. Richard in N.C.

First, let me stop

First, let me stop laughing......okay. Maybe so -- but just think about the wins-based championship idea for a while....I think it might have wings. Why should we be rewarding mediocrity? Let's light a fire under these guys -- Jimmie Johnson says he wasn't even worried about challenging for the win Sunday at Bristol? Hey, because it's only a couple of points. Maybe if that win really meant something we'd have seen some real fireworks.

Championship based on wins

Championship based on wins alone, bad idea - can you spell cherry-picker? Wins should be worth more points. But what about a $500,000 prize and the Wal-Mart Trophy for the Cup driver with the most wins each year? Richard in N.C.

but cherry pickers will

but cherry pickers will simply not make it today. this isn't 1972, or 73, when there were only three or four good teams. to be competitive you've got to be there every week. and the more i think about it, the guy who wins the most races -- and maybe put a lap-leader bonus in there too -- should be the guy who did the best job. i dont like rewarding consistency so much that it simply breeds laziness. make the drivers race to win to win the championship.

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A team with a good, but not

A team with a good, but not great sponsorship and a good driver would have even more incentive today to cherry-pick if wins alone determined the Cup champion. Since there are so many cars capable of winning today, the wins are going to get spread among several cars anyway. For instance, say skip the road courses, LA, and Martinsville and use those resources and time to be better prepared for the other races.

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