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What is wrong with NASCAR's race-to-the-chase when a world-class racer like Montoya concedes he's 'points racing'?

   Can't blame Montoya; he's just playing the game by the rules. So maybe the rules need to be changed. Like how about a 100-point bonus for winning?  (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   BROOKLYN, Mich.
   Okay, here's exactly what's wrong with this whole NASCAR championship 'chase' – Here, in Juan Pablo Montoya's own words.
   Juan Pablo Montoya.
   One of the world's great racers…down to points racing.
   Points racing.
   And for the half dozen drivers still sweating the playoff cut in four weeks, it's the same story.
   However Montoya's situation makes it so plainly clear that there is a major problem here:
   One of the world's great road racers…points racing at Watkins Glen.
   Perhaps that's one reason for NASCAR weak TV ratings: too much points racing.
   Montoya, winner of the Grand Prix of Monaco. Winner of the Italian Grand Prix. Winner of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
   Points racing for NASCAR at Watkins Glen.
   And points racing again here this weekend apparently at Michigan International Speedway.
   Montoya says it's all about making the championship playoffs, and all about "doing the numbers."
    "Yes, it is -- It is simple: it is an average. We know what average we have to run to be in the chase," Montoya explains.
   "It doesn't matter who beats you that one day or another. You can't start being start being focused on one. Last week you have Greg Biffle in front of me, you have Carl Edwards in front of me, and you have Kyle Busch -- and all three guys are right around where I am running.
   "One is on the bubble (to make the playoffs, Busch); one is a little behind me (Biffle), and one (Edwards) is just in front of me.
    "And you start thinking 'Oh, I need to beat them.'
    "You don't.
    "You still need to think about it -- where everybody else is running.
    "This week you might be ahead of them or behind them; you just have to keep doing what you are doing.
     "I think, overall, we have been doing that.
     "We just have to keep doing that: Play it smart, don't take any big risks, and hopefully it pays off."
    And then in the playoffs?
    Will this be the season that NASCAR crowns a champion who has gone winless through the entire 36-race season?
    Four of the current top-12 are still winless.
    But not to blame Montoya. He is simply playing the game according to the rules.
    "Our real goal this year was making the chase," Montoya says.
    "When we set down with Brian Pattie (his crew chief) a year ago, we said we need to make sure we make the chase…and if we don't, we have to be a contender for it. We can't run 20th every week.
    "We've been working; we are getting better every week. And we just have to keep doing the same thing.
    "If I can secure a place in the chase in Atlanta (Labor Day weekend), I am definitely not going to take any risks. For me, if finishing 10th in Atlanta would mean I make the chase, we'll do everything in our power to finish 10th, or eighth. If we are running second, we are not going to do anything stupid and finish 25th and go to Richmond and maybe blow up a motor or something and miss the chase.
    "No, we have to be smart about what we are doing.
    "By the time the chase starts, we will see. We'll see where we stand, how our cars perform.
     "I think you can start taking some more risks and see what happens."
     However by the time the NASCAR playoffs open Sept. 20th, the National Football League will already be into Week Two of its regular season.

    Crew chief Brian Pattie, discussing championship game plans with three-time championship crew chief Ray Evernham? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   However Montoya says he understands this part of the game from experience, in his 1999 Indy-car championship run.
    "I think in every sport you are in, it is points racing," Montoya insists.
    "At the end of the day, it matters who wins the championship, it is not who wins the races.
    "So you have to be smart about it.
     "Here is pretty interesting, because you have 26 races, and then there's a cutoff.
      "So you need to make sure you are inside that window when the cutoff comes, to run for the championship.
     "If this was the championship -- and where I am right now, running good with a good car -- the only way to beat Tony Stewart would be trying to beat him every week. Even that probably wouldn't happen.
    "So I think the way it is right now makes it more exciting for the fans, because there are two races: the race-to-the-chase and the race to the championship."
    And then in the championship wide-open?  "If we are in that position to, we will," he says. "But if we aren't, you still have to score the points.
    "At the end of the day, it is about whoever scores the highest points.
    "I know the way the championship has always gone, to win you are going to have to win races, and you are going to have to be in the top-five every week. We know that.
    "But at the same time if the car one weekend is only good enough for 10th, you'd better bring the car home 10th, than wrecking and coming in 30th and being out of the championship.
    "You've got to to be smart about how you race."
    In the back of his mind, Montoya says he still thinks about that CART Indy-car championship he won in 1999:  "I nearly threw it away in Australia.
    "I was running second; I would have finished second; I had a 25-point lead going in; I needed to finish like 20th, in the last race --- and trying to beat Dario Franchitti, I stuffed it in the wall.
    "I still won the championship, we ended up even in points….but I had the championship in the bag and nearly threw it away."

Here is an idea to improve

Here is an idea to improve the chase and reduce the tedium of points racing at this time of year; why not award the first two (or three) places in the chase standings to the drivers with the most wins? Regardless of point totals, in or out of the top 12. For example a Kyle Busch type racer who wins a lot but who may not normally have enough points to get into the chase would be in. NASCAR needs some excitement and guys going for top tens isn't a winning ticket. And, speaking of 'guys', I still believe that Jeff Gordon will go to a part time schedule next season due to his back condition and that his codriver for the #24 will be Danica Patrick. This would benefit Jeff and Danica (who would learn the ropes in a good equipment but under less pressure) as well as NASCAR which needs Danica to turn things around.

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Wasn't the 'chase' supposed

Wasn't the 'chase' supposed to end point racing? Instead, it has drivers racing for points with 15 races left in the season. How is this exciting? Add the fact that only 2 drivers are within 400 points of the leader, and we have a bunch of cars running for a title that really shouldn't be in the running at all. And Nascar wonders why drivers who win a title under this system are suspect?

What about just doing the

What about just doing the formula 1 points system in nascar. Then the race winners would have a lot more points, the stupid strategy that Montoya is trying would get you nowhere, and you wouldn't even need a chase system at all because there would always be enough time in the season to get on a winning streak and be able to take the title on your own, through strong racing.


i found this page the other day and it's really made me think we should only give points to the very best racers each week, and let the 15th place guys try harder to get some points. RACE TO THE FRONT GUYS!!!

I have said it for years. Get

I have said it for years. Get rid of the "Stroker Aces". You do this by awarding at least 50 more pts for a win. Enough said.

300 points for the race

300 points for the race winner.
175 for second.
170 for third.

And on down like with the basic Latford System.

5 bonus points for leading.
100 bonus points for most laps led.

Make the title impossible to win without most wins and most laps led.

I am getting tired of reading

I am getting tired of reading all bad things about the chase racing. I know the system could be better (Give the race winner 10 bonus points for chase and 30 extra points for winning for example) but NASCAR has the best racing i´ve ever seen. I am not an american that says that- i am from Italy, living in Germany. All the racing we have here like Formula 1, DTM, WTCC is nothing against the action in NASCAR. You know, sometimes you remember the good things you have only when you lose them. I think this is the problem with all the negative stuff i am reading about chase racing and so on. I would be so happy to have something similar here, so happy to have the possibility to go to a racetrack (an oval), to have the program NASCAR has with CUP, Nationwide and Truck with fair prices and so happy to have NASCAR in TV. I am watching every Race in Internet, and the races are starting sometimes at 2 am for me. But i am more tired watching Formula 1 at 2 pm than NASCAR at 2 am :-)

And please don´t forget: Nascar Drivers have a lot more character than the average Formula 1 Driver- it is like having 20 Logano´s in the grid.

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