By Doug Halberstadt
Today (Wednesday, Jan. 26) is the day NASCAR CEO Brian France is supposed to release the much-anticipated information concerning a “simpler” points system that will be introduced in all three national series for the upcoming 2011 season. This change will be the first since NASCAR formed in 1958.
“We’re in the middle of the conversations, telling the competitors where our mind is,’’ NASCAR President Mike Helton said. “The goal for some time is to create a points system that is easy to understand, easy to explain, easy to talk about but also be credible at the end of the season. So it’s a function of taking the current one that has established credibility and come up with one that you can sit and have a conversation with someone and they say, ‘well, that’s pretty simple. We’re close. And we’re getting a lot of good feedback from the drivers about tweaks that would go into that.’’’
The Associated Press, citing unnamed sources, reported this week that NASCAR is considering a system using 43 points. The winner in the 43-car field gets 43 points, and the last place car gets one point. Helton said the tweak to that might include bonuses for wins as incentive and reward.
In addition to the new points system, drivers now must select only one of the three national series to earn points toward a championship. That decision was made by Helton and officially announced last week during a press conference in Daytona.
Helton explained that the new pick-your-championship rule was designed to give the lesser tier Nationwide and Craftsman Truck series a more distinct identity. Under the new rules, a driver such as defending series champion Brad Keselowski may win 10 times in the Nationwide Series in 2011, but he will not receive any points in the drivers championship, although his car owner can earn points toward that title.
The green flag drops on the 2011 Sprint Cup Season on Sunday, Feb. 20. That’s only 25 more days.