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NASCAR at Richmond: It’s One and Done and On To the Chase

Rusty NormanNASCAR hits the Richmond International Raceway tonight and it is definitely one and done and on to the Chase for the top twelve in points. Of course, when it comes to the Chase all the others will be showing up but they only get to run for the thirteenth spot no matter how much they win or where they finish.

This is one of the sticky spots with some NASCAR fans, (not as much for this one, of course) but some think that all of the points should be reset for all forty-three teams and then we start a 10 race run to the Sprint Cup Championship. Although I do disagree with their point, I do understand what they are saying (and we will have to wait until NASCAR tells us what next years Chase will be like to see what kind of changes they may make.)

Personally, I can think of a couple of ways to make to make the top twelve a little more fair for the Chase. (Fortunately, it is not my decision to make.)

One thought is to give points for the way a team finishes. That would mean first place gets a certain number of points for their performance up to the Chase and then second and so on. That doesn’t mean that first place in points before the Chase will still be first place when the Chase starts but it would be a way of rewarding those in spots one through twelve for their consistency through out the first twenty-six points races. Of course the points would be less for each position up to twelfth but should be low in number.

From this fan’s view, the problem with rewarding only victories with points added at the beginning of the Chase only rewards victories and penalizes the teams that have consistently finished up front (as is obvious from their standings in the top twelve.) Over the years, NASCAR has always looked at consistency as opposed to only victories. From my view, this is the major flaw to the present system; victories matter more than consistent performance and that has totally changed the way the points system was originally set up. Now it is who wins the most races whether or not they out performed the other teams on a regular basis.

My second thought is to somewhat return to the original setup. (They can keep the top twelve performers) and go back to all of the top twelve starting five points apart for each position for the last ten races (a total of sixty points separation.) Even better, would be to only separate the top twelve by twelve points. By doing that, they are not penalizing the consistent performance of those that finished at the top of the points, (which, in my opinion, the present system does do.) Victories do matter but they should only count as the points add up per race all season long, not all applied at the end of twenty-six of them. My opinion is they should get those extra ten points every time they win. The present system only mixes things up for the Chase and doesn’t do it fairly for all concerned at all.

The biggest reason I think the present system is a bit unfair is because a team’s performance on a weekly basis is upset simply by the number of wins a team may have. In my opinion, first place should remain first place and second, second continuing on throughout the points standings even for the Chase. That way the separation comes after the first race of the Chase as it should.

Okay, that’s enough of a rant for this fan; Let’s talk about who we think will win tonight.

It is very possible Carl Edwards could pull off the start on the pole, win the race scenario, but 400 laps is a lot of space for something to go wrong or for someone else to make the right gambles and adjustments to take the win. He and Juan Pablo Montoya are possible winners, but it is all going to depend on how things shake out. We have to remember that those in the Chase are looking for bonus points and that could mean they will be more aggressive than usual. It could also be a night that tempers flair and take out some of the stronger competitors.

The Hendrick cars are ominously absent form the top ten (Jimmie Johnson starts eleventh) and it is this fan’s opinion, they are stumbling at the present. That may not bode well for any of them throughout the Chase, but we’ll just have to wait and see as it progresses.

It could be anybody’s night to shine in victory lane, but I still say it would make for a more interesting night if both, Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer had problems early on in the race. As I stated a couple of days ago, it’s nothing against them but it would make for a more interesting race for getting in the top twelve. That doesn’t mean they won’t make it if they do have problems and finish at the rear, but it does mean it wouldn’t be settled until more near the end of the race. I’m sure Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray and Mark Martin would like to at least have their chances stay alive until late in the race…

See ya next time… Rusty

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© September 11, 2010 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman and

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By Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.