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A one-race, winner-take-all NASCAR championship? Greg Biffle's Take:

 Greg Biffle by a nose over Mark Martin at Homestead: This would have been Biffle's championship winning finish to the 2005 NASCAR title chase, under changes being studied by NASCAR executives for 2011. (Photo: Autostock)

   By Mike Mulhern

   A one-race, winner-takes-all NASCAR championship finale?
   Well, that might certainly help sell tickets at the France family's Homestead-Miami Speedway, where the last race of the title chase plays out.
   And – under one proposal NASCAR is considering, that the 12-man chase field be cut to the top-five men after the first nine chase races – that would certainly help sell tickets at the France family's Phoenix International Raceway.
   The Miami winner-take-all concept is being floated by NASCAR executives to teams and drivers, and it's being met with mixed reaction.
   For decades the NASCAR championship was determined by the points accumulated over the entire season, which is now 36 points races.
   That meant consistency was crucial...and bad finished devastating.
   Then came the chase, after Matt Kenseth – Mr. Consistency – blew away the competition in 2003 to win the title.
   Now a one-race winner take all?
   Here's Greg Biffle weighing in:
   "It's kind of a wild idea....
    "Our sport historically has rewarded consistency -- being there every week and competing...and not just one race. 
    "But on the flip side of the coin, you're not just going to fall into being in the top-five at Homestead.  You're going to have to be in the top-15 or top-10 (to make the playoff cut at Richmond), or whatever the proposal is...So it's still going to have the best cars competing for the title.
    "It's still a fairly kind of wild idea, where one team wins just one event (and wins the title).  That could be pretty interesting.
    "If we go back to 2005 and implement it, I'd be great with it -- because I'd be the champion.  I was third in points going in (to Homestead), and I won the race, and Tony (Stewart, who did win the title) finished 15th. 
    "So it's definitely an interesting concept."
     Will it happen?
    Probably not.
    But then maybe so.
    Or maybe NASCAR CEO Brian France, who may have ultimate say in the decision, will pull something else out of the hat.
    France is floating a lot of ideas, drivers say. And this one isn't the only one on the table.
    NASCAR's game plan here is simple, Biffle says: 'How do we ramp up the excitement a little bit?'"
    One race, winner-take-all?
   "At first I thought 'Well, that's dumb....because you're deciding the champion in just one race,'" Biffle said.
   "Well, you're really not, if you think about it.
    "You've got to be in the chase...and if you're not in the top-12 at the (September) cutoff, you're probably not in condition to win the championship anyway."
    And Biffle points out that even under this proposed new 'Homestead' rule, "Jimmie Johnson is going to win the last four times.
   "You could have had the whole (43-car) field in the chase and reset the whole thing.  So does it really matter? 
    "The best cars are going to win the races and the championships.
    "....so I think it could work."
    Ah, but the details. What other details might be on the table here?
   "I don't think they've got it that refined," Biffle says. "I think they're just floating ideas to get our reaction. 
     "Maybe behind the scenes they've mathematically mapped this thing out, but really they were just saying 'What do you think about having more guys (in the chase), and then have a cutoff (eliminating some), and another cutoff?'"
     And then there's the long-running debate about the chase drivers having their own separate points system, though it's still not mathematically clear how that might change things.
   "The chase drivers get 1st through 12th points," Biffle says.  "So if you blow up and finish 43rd, you get 12th-place points. And the next (chase) guy gets 11th, and so on. 
    "I thought that would be the change they would make. Then in one race you're not dramatically behind."
   Or are you? Maybe we need to look at some of the math here.

   And France has also put the Nationwide series on the table for debate. That series has two major drivers  battling for the championship, leader Brad Keselowski, from the powerful Roger Penske camp, and second-place Carl Edwards, from the powerful Jack Roush camp. Typically the rest of the Nationwide field is made up of much smaller teams, except for some of the bigger races. And the price point for fielding a competitive Nationwide team has become so exorbitant that even long-time team owner James Finch is trying to get out. Add in the new Nationwide car-of-tomorrow (slowly being phased in), and the so-so TV ratings for the tour and less-than-impressive Saturday crowds, and it's easy to see why France is looking to shake things up.
   One point raised – how to treat Cup drivers who want to run Nationwide?
   "I agree we need to build up the Nationwide series,"  Biffle, who ran Nationwide this spring until sponsorship ran out, says. 
   "We need to build some stars in that series. 
    "I also feel there has to be an age limit -- that goes along with the Cup guys not being able to compete over there. Because if you still have the 18-year-old kids coming into the Cup series (like Joey Logano), you're still not going to build any stars in the Nationwide series -- and that's your point."
    An age limit?
    "Make it 20," Biffle says. "Get a Nationwide young guy to go over there, win a championship...run a full season.
   "Make it either 20 years old or a full season:  So if he's 18 and runs a full season, and wins the title or finishes third  in points, whatever, then let him come into Cup. 
    "At least get one full season, so you can start building that Nationwide series up.
    "And the same goes for not letting the Cup guys go and win the Nationwide title.  Let the other guys win the titles. 
     "Yes, we (Cup drivers) need to be in the series to compete against those young guys. 
     "A perfect example -- Brad Keselowski.  Would Brad have a Cup ride today if it wasn't for his performance in the Nationwide series? 
    "If he didn't beat Carl, didn't beat me, didn't beat Kyle Busch for wins, and run up front, he wouldn't have gotten a Cup ride.
     "That's what the series is supposed to do.  That's exactly what it's for.
     "And I understand that's what they're trying to get it back to.
     "But without the age limit, or keeping somebody there for at least a full season, you're kind of missing it still, I think."

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    Greg Biffle has some interesting thoughts about how to change up things in NASCAR (Photo: Autostock)

Can you imagine the

Can you imagine the championship coming down to fuel mileage? ... or worse yet: rain?

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