There is one thing I should have probably explained before I embarked on this series of old vs. new points. Strategies can and will change depending upon the way NASCAR hands out points. All we're dealing with here is raw data, and I can't even begin to guess how strategies would have changed if this year's crop of drivers had been racing under the old points system. Obviously, had we been under the old points system in 2009, teams would have tried different things to grab points. In other words, the following is for comparison purposes only, and no one, especially me, can predict how certain teams would have run had the Chase system not been in effect.
That being said, let's get to it!
Under the old points system, or under the current Chase system, the final outcome would have been the same. Jimmie Johnson wins the 2009 Sprint Cup championship either way. The main difference is that it would have been closer under the old points system, and 2nd place would have been different as well.
Under the Chase system, Jimmie won by 141 points over second place Mark Martin. Under the old points system, Johnson still would have won, but by only 66 points over second place Jeff Gordon. Also under the old points system, Mark Martin would have finished in fifth place, 394 points back. In third place under the old points system, we would have had Tony Stewart, only 4 points behind Jeff Gordon. Stewart instead found himself finishing in sixth place, 243 points out of the lead under the Chase system.
Under the old points system, fourth place would have gone to Denny Hamlin, 350 points out of the top spot. Under the Chase system, Denny finished in fifth place, 317 points back.
I do these comparisons mostly because I think it's fun, not to suggest that NASCAR has blundered by instituting the Chase system. The powers that be, in this case NASCAR, have decided that this is the way that points will be awarded, and that's the end of it.
Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, Rick Hendrick, and all the crew that prepares and services the 48 Lowes Chevrolet each and every week of the racing season. Congratulations to Hendrick Motorsports for a superb job in winning yet another championship, and making history with Jimmie Johnson's fourth consecutive championship.
Congratulations also go to Kyle Busch, winner of his first NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, and to Ron Hornaday, winner of the Camping World Truck Series championship.
I want to personally congratulate the fans that stuck it out through tough economic times, who bought tickets, paid ridiculously high prices for motel rooms and for a tank of gasoline, and parked their butts in the seats in the grandstands for 2009. You, the fans, are what make this sport what it is, and without you, there would be no NASCAR.
Here's to 2009, and here's to getting for the start of the 2010 season. I'll be here throughout the off season, and can't wait until we hear them rev 'em up again at Daytona in February!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!