Monday, October 26, 2009

After Martinsville - Old Points Vs. Chase Points

Congratulations to Denny Hamlin for his win at Martinsville.  Winning in his home state of Virginia must have been about as fun as it gets for not only Hamlin, but his entire family as well.

Jimmie Johnson, with a second place finish at Martinsville widened his points lead over second place Mark Martin to 118 points.  Jeff Gordon remains in third place, 150 points behind Johnson.

Tony Stewart, in fourth place, is 192 points out, and Juan Pablo Montoya is an even 200 points out of first place.

As close as the Chase is supposed to keep the competition, it would appear that Jimmie Johnson is running away with the points with four races to go in the season.

Let's examine how the points would stack up under the old points system.  Tony Stewart would still be in first place, with an 80 point lead over second place Jimmie Johnson.  It would seem that Johnson's late season surge, which has worked so well in the Chase, would still see him playing catch up under the old points rules.

Under the old points system, Jeff Gordon would still find himself in third place, though only 117 points out of first place, rather than the 150 point deficit he currently finds himself in.  In other words, Gordon would still be a long shot to win his 5th championship with only 4 races to go, but he'd have a better chance than he does now.

Fourth and fifth places would be held by Mark Martin and Denny Hamlin, but they would have virtually no chance whatsoever of a championship at this point, being both well over 400 points out of first place.

Tony Stewart has accepted that the Chase is the law of the land, but one has to wonder how he feels now, knowing that he would have an advantage at this point in the season, were NASCAR still using the old points system.

As for Jimmie Johnson, he's doing exactly what he needs to do to assure himself of his fourth consecutive championship.  Late season charges do make a huge difference under the Chase system.


  1. I really don't believe you can know what a driver's points would be under the old format. Maybe JJ and the other drivers would have raced harder ALL year is they knew they didn't have to coast to make the Chase.

    A lot of drivers don't go all out for the first 26 races because they know all they have to do is make the Chase, then go all out for only 10 races.

    They don't race the same way under this format as they did under the old one. So it's hard to say who would even be leading the points after 26 races, as strategy would be different.

    My first visit here, Jimmy. Good site. I'll add you to my blogroll at....

    Gene H

  2. Thanks for the comments.

    Certainly we can't guess as to what differences there would be in strategy. I'm simply taking the race results as they stand. Would Stewart have given back some of his wins earlier in the season if he knew he could maybe win more Chase races? Probably.

    Stewart has in the past been a late season charger himself. I've been a little surprised that he hasn't been running as well lately.

    They don't race the same way under the Chase format. Chad Knaus has as much admitted that they paced themselves early this year. Personally I doubt that anyone doesn't try to get a win whenever he can get one, if he thinks he's got a chance to win.

    Thanks again!

  3. After the season is over, I would like for someone to evaluate the Chase verses the Old System to determine two things: One, who the Champion would have been; two, the point differential between the two systems. My guess is that four or more of the years would have produced a closer finish.

    In my view NASCAR should only compare Johnson to other Chase Champions and not the past champions because he really did not win the season championship - just the championship for the last 10 races.

    Finally, there has been a lot of talk about four in a row. If NASCAR does not change this contrived system, I hope Johnson wins at least three more (and hopefully in a row) to expose this entertainment oriented mistake. The shame of it is that Johnson, a very good racer, will eventually be diminished by the system that he exploited. In my view two championships under the old system would have put him in a better historical position than four under this contrivance.


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