Consistency, not wins, true hallmark of champion

March, 21, 2009
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Upon further review, Formula One drivers apparently don't think this winner-take-all system for determining the F1 champion is such a good idea.

If they tried that in NASCAR there would be a revolt.

You could find more support in the Sprint Cup garage at Bristol Motor Speedway for AIG employees who received million-dollar bonuses than you could for a point system in which the driver with the most wins takes the title.

"It's wrong," Kyle Busch said. "It needs to be based on consistency. Right now it's not the perfect scenario, but it's a good enough scenario where its consistency in the last 10 [races].

"To me for a whole season of wins … I would have finished second in points last year, but to me I don't think it's right."

Four-time champion Jeff Gordon agreed.

"I am not a big fan of them saying just whoever wins the most races," he said. "I do think they need to change the points system a little bit, though. It needs to award a little bit more for first.

"I like what we have right now where it pays more points to win. You can really make up a lot of points or spread yourself out from your competitors when you win." Ditto, said Jeff Burton.

"I like the fact that you have to show consistency," he said.

The list of naysayers went on and on. Dale Earnhardt Jr. basically abstained, knowing whatever he said could stir controversy.

"I would like it no more or no less than what we've got," he said. "I don't want to make any controversy. I like what we've got, but if they want to do that, I would support them 100 percent."

Bottom line: It'll never happen in NASCAR.

And it shouldn't.

That doesn't mean wins shouldn't carry more weight. I'd like to see winners get 20 bonus points instead of 10.

And at the end of the season, how about rewarding the wins leader an additional 100 points? That certainly could make things more interesting. It would have vaulted Carl Edwards from 69 behind champion Jimmie Johnson last season to 31 ahead.

"If you determine your champion just based on wins you're taking a huge gamble of having the wrong champion," Edwards said. "If one guy wins one race and runs 20th in the rest of them and another guy finishes second in every single race, that's not the right guy for the champion.

"At the end of the year you have to say the champion is the guy who ran the best through the season. We kind of have to stay away from messing with the points too much."

But what fun is that?

David Newton covers NASCAR for He can be reached at

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter



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