We are weeks away from the green flag dropping on another great season of Sprint Cup Series action and we still do not know the changes that are going to take place. Unfortunately Brian France is going to tweak the Chase once again despite the fact he got what he has wanted all along, the championship being 32 decided in the final race, and final lap. To me, the Chase is fine as it is, all they have to do is award 50 extra points to the leader after 26 races and they are fine. NASCAR has done all it can to make sure winning races is key priority to winning the championship, you get 10 bonus points per win, yet there are some
drivers making the Chase without having wins and drivers who have wins missing the Chase.
Jamie McMurray is a prime example that winning isn’t everything, and Jeff Gordon is a prime example that winning is still not the only thing that matters in NASCAR. Jamie McMurray had a career season by winning the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and following that with a win at the Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Chase. Jeff Gordon on the other hand, while he fell short of winning on several occasions, sat atop the points all season behind Kevin Harvick. What set Jeff Gordon, who had no wins and made the Chase, and Jamie McMurray who had three wins and missed the Chase?
It was all about being consistent and running up front to get as many points as you could. That is what set Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray apart. Gordon had the top tens, top fives and led a bunch of laps to keep him consistent enough to
where if he did have a bad day it didn’t hurt him as much as say Jamie McMurray who lacked the consistency to make the Chase. Sure Jamie had the wins but he ran into more trouble on the track that kept him from making the Chase. Look at several other years, consistency has shined through more than wins. Before the Chase reset, Jimmie Johnson & Denny Hamlin were in 7th and 10th respectively and under the old format would have had no shot at the championship. They both faltered before the Chase. Kyle Busch missed the chase in 2009 by eight points after having four wins, again consistency rose above winning. A tough summer stretch prevented Kyle from making the Chase.
Heading into 2011, I’m sure we will have chasers with wins and no wins, and some drivers miss the Chase and have wins. As we saw the last two years, you can have the wins to get the bonus points, but if you’re not consistent along the way you won’t make the Chase and that to me will be the key to hoisting up the Sprint Cup championship trophy in Homestead.
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