Click here for information about the new NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points system.

NASCAR NEXTEL Points System - 'Did You Know'


Q: Why is NASCAR making this modification?
A: NASCAR is changing the way its premier series champion is crowned to add excitement to every race and to provide a better balance between winning races and performing consistently. The new format will enhance competition ? all season long.

Q: How do drivers get into the ?Chase for the Championship??
A: After 26 races in the 36-race NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season, the top 10 drivers in points and any others within 400 points of the first-place driver will earn berths in a 10-race NASCAR NEXTEL Cup ?Chase for the Championship?.

Q: Are there any changes to the point system?
A: One change ? race winners will receive 180 points instead of the 175 they earned previously. This will ensure that a race runner-up cannot earn the same number of points as a race winner. Five-point bonuses for leading a lap and leading the most laps remain, for a maximum of 190 points for race winners.

Q: Why the 400-point cut-off to get into the championship chase?
A: While no one has ever come back from 400 points with 10 to go to win the championship, NASCAR recognizes the possibility of late-season comebacks that can land a driver in the final top 10. The 400-point cutoff was arrived at after extensive research and modeling.

Q: Are the TV partners the driving force?
A: Again, this idea was introduced by NASCAR. NASCAR discussed this format change thoroughly with its TV partners.

Q: Who devised this plan?
A: In making this modification, NASCAR used its full, company-wide resources to thoroughly research history, examine possible future point scenarios, and address various intangibles that could determine a championship. Bottom line: this was a true group effort.

Q: Did Matt Kenseth?s 2003 season cause this change?
A: Not at all. NASCAR always examines the point system annually and seeks to identify ways to improve the system. Matt Kenseth and his team won the championship under the same format that was in place when other great champions like Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson, Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Gordon won championships. Also, Matt Kenseth led the points for a modern-era record 33 consecutive weeks. There is no way you can detract from a great season like.

Q: Why won?t there be points awarded for winning poles?
A: Last year NASCAR created the one-engine rule, which mandated teams used the same engine for qualifying and the race. That was a cost-containment move, so teams would not be spending money on engines used solely for qualifying. Awarding points for poles could likely end up costing teams more money.

Q: Can this new format lead to over-aggressive driving and/or blocking on the race track?
A: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers are professionals, the best racers in the world. NASCAR is confident they?ll compete accordingly. NASCAR is prepared to maintain the integrity of the sport and enforce the rules.

Q: Will this result in schedule changes?
A: As outlined in the ?Realignment 2004 and Beyond? concept, NASCAR will consider schedule changes if the various ownership groups involved are interested in switching some of their dates.

Q: Are tracks involved in the ?chase? a representative mix of the series? And won?t those drivers who have excelled at the tr

acks involved in the ?chase? have an advantage going into the last 10 races?
A: Actually, the last 10 do represent all types of tracks, except for road courses. It includes the series? biggest track (2.66-mile Talladega), intermediate tracks (1.5-mile Kansas and Charlotte) and a short track (.526-mile Martinsville). The last 10 also includes one of NASCAR?s most historic, in Darlington. There are high banks and flat tracks, concrete and asphalt. ? As for drivers having an advantage, as always, the driver able to perform best on a variety of tracks will create his advantage. In addition, the unpredictability of the sport each and every weekend will continue to play a key role.

Q: Is there concern about losing hardcore fans with this change?
A: NASCAR values all of its fans and their opinions. NASCAR believes trying to attract more fans can only benefit everyone involved in the sport. At this point, NASCAR?s fans have received limited information, but once the facts are understood, NASCAR is confident its fans will realize the changes enhance the competition, broaden the amount of championship contenders and add late-season drama.

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