NASCAR: Helton discusses points system
By Jenna Fryer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ó NASCAR President Mike Helton strongly indicated the points system used since 1975 will be scrapped for a simpler scoring method.
ěThe goal for some time has been to create a points system that is easy to understand, easy to explain, easy to be talked about, but also be credible at the end of the season,î Helton said Friday during a competition update at Daytona International Speedway.
The current system is a complicated formula that NASCAR says was drawn up on a napkin over drinks at a Daytona Beach bar in 1974. The Associated Press reported this week that NASCAR is informing teams it wants a system that would award points based on finishing position, from 43 points to the winner to one for last place.
ěWeíre in the middle of the conversations, actually telling the competitors where our mind is,î Helton said. ěThe main goal is to get one thatís just easier to understand and simpler. And weíre close. Weíre getting a lot of great input from the drivers.î
NASCAR chairman Brian France is expected to announce any changes, including potential tweaks to the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship format, next Wednesday night in Charlotte.
It appears thatís the only unfinished business as NASCAR prepares for next monthís season-opening Daytona 500. The brief offseason ó last yearís finale was Nov. 20 ó ended this week when teams reported to the newly paved Daytona International Speedway for three days of testing.
But Helton defended NASCARís credibility, which many fans are questioning because the changes are so close to the start of the season and how the championship will be won hasnít been formally announced. Because NASCAR officials want feedback from competitors, Helton said the rule changing process takes time.
In the end, though, the approach legitimizes the changes, Helton said.
ěI think the credibility of our final decision is actually better because of the collaborative effort that we put into it today,î he said. ěOur appetite and our desire is to do it correctly and have one that makes sense and not one just for the sake of changing things.î
Even if fans, already weary of so many changes to NASCAR, have roughly three weeks to digest a massive points shake up?
ěI think that our fans ó as long as we maintain the core elements of the sport, tweaking the points, tweaking the Chase, tweaking different components in the sport ó theyíre quick studies,î Helton said.
With the scoring system undecided ó bonus points for wins appears to be one of the oscillating issues ó the competition group spent a good deal of time Friday discussing the new rule that will prevent drivers for racing for championships in more than one series.