Hot 20 – NASCAR Still Needs to Award More Points to Race Winners

There is no doubt about it; winning is big in the Cup series this year. Race enough to be deemed a regular, sit among the top 30 in points, and a win pretty much gives one a pass to the promised land. It is exciting and has that all-important unpredictability factor we love. Just as we celebrate the possibility of a Buster Douglas knocking out a Mike Tyson for the heavyweight boxing title, we relish in the hope that just maybe a Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier, or Michael Annett might steal one at Talladega and wind up with a berth to challenge for a championship.

Kurt Busch has no problem with that. As long as the list of winners remains no higher than sixteen as they leave Richmond, Busch would be in. This is despite the fact he currently sits 26th in points, 15 behind Martin Truex Jr. Still, to be honest, I rather like this “win and you’re in” concept, but are race winners given their just due for taking the checkered flag and being consistently up front, where it matters?

I cannot see how anyone could fail to see that Jimmie Johnson is currently having the best season in Cup to date. He has run consistent and has won three times. Yet, he ranks second in points, 15 behind Jeff Gordon. Do not get me wrong, Gordon is having a great season. I just argue that Johnson has been better.

Throughout this season, we have seen what the standings would have been like had we left the points system as it is, with one change. Instead of just awarding a race winner with a bonus three points, we give him 25. No automatic free pass, but a significant points recognition for the accomplishment. The only change among the Sweet Sixteen for the Chase at this time would see Kurt out and his boss Tony Stewart in, via points.

The whole idea behind the Chase, and the institution this year of having wins trump points, an expanded Chase, and elimination rounds are all geared to keeping the possible championship outcome unpredictable until the final laps at Homestead. This could still happen with just one more tinker to the tabulations. I guess it all comes down to who do you think is the most deserving of a Chase place, Kurt Busch or Tony Stewart (or those closely behind him), and who you think has been the best thus far this season, Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson.

(Points reflect race winners receiving 25 bonus points, rather than 3)

Pos –      Driver    –   Points – Wins
1 – Jimmie Johnson – 588 – 3
2 – Jeff Gordon – 559 – 1
3 – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – 558 – 2
4 – Matt Kenseth – 513 – 0
5 – Brad Keselowski – 512 – 1
6 – Joey Logano – 498 – 2
7 – Kevin Harvick – 491 – 2
8 – Carl Edwards – 484 – 1
9 – Kyle Busch – 468 – 1
10 – Denny Hamlin – 457 – 1
11 – Kyle Larson – 454
12 – Ryan Newman – 440
13 – Paul Menard – 420
14 – Clint Bowyer – 417
15 – Greg Biffle – 409
16 – Tony Stewart – 402
17 – Austin Dillon – 400
18 – Brian Vickers – 394
19 – Kasey Kahne – 391
20 – Jamie McMurray – 384

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.


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