The new point system combined with the Chase could be hurting NASCAR

Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 27, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

With nearly one quarter of the NASCAR season gone, the complaints seem to be as loud as the cheering from NASCAR fans when the command to start engines is given.  The lack of cautions combined with very little passing on the track has elicited some yawns and left some scratching their heads.  One track, Bristol Motor Speedway has even reacted to the empty seats and lack of passing at their track by changing parts of the track surface to change the racing.

What is really happening though? Why has there been less passing, fewer cautions and lap after lap of single file racing? Perhaps it’s the very way NASCAR now does business.

Last season NASCAR abandoned the old way it used to determine a champion. The sport threw out the old Latford system. It was a points system invented by former NASCAR PR rep Bob Latford and put in place in 1975. Under the system drivers could find themselves thousands of points ahead of their nearest rival and locking up the season championship long before seasons end. In 2004, NASCAR instituted the season ending Chase; a ten race playoff format where the top 10, later 12, drivers had their points reset and given a ten point bonus for race wins. The Chase has been tweaked, a wild card added, and last season the Latford point system was replaced. MORE>>>


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