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The View From Amish Paradise writes:
"Should We Start Keeping Track of Crew Chief Victories?"
Posted by ajcrdstr24 on August 4, 2010
Viewed 302 times


*If you would like to see the tables below in a more organized format, please go to http://ajcrdstr24.blogspot.com.

Ok...so the title is a little sarcastic, but seriously! Has anyone else noticed that the winners of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2010 have been decided by mixed pit strategies in the end much more often than in the past? A team's pit crew plays a HUGE part in the overall performance during any given race weekend, but with late race cautions it's becoming a fact that one little mistake or one little gamble is the difference between a crew chief looking like a genius or a complete idiot. In the end it results in the best car sometimes not even having a chance to win. When the rain started falling after what ended up being the final pit stops during Sunday's race at Pocono, the announcers started comparing Sam Hornish staying out on the track to Dave Marcis' win at Richmond in 1982. I was barely a thought in 1982, but there's a huge difference. While he may not have battled for the lead, Marcis was one of a handful of cars that was in contention for the win. Hornish lost a lap on at least one occasion on a 2.5 track and ran around 25th the entire race with an ill-handling car and the team perhaps made a lucky gamble. As it turned out, the race went back to green and Greg Biffle who's team also made a gamble in the pits had the all important clean air and pulled away for the win. Congratulations to his team, but with these sometimes gutsy calls it takes out teams who stuck with their plans for four tires and fuel from contention. Where or should they draw the line? I have never looked at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a 20 lap dash with an inverted field, but it sure is starting to look that way sometimes. One way to alleviate this is to not permit these teams from pitting for tires under caution after a certain point of the race. It would cut costs with teams possibly saving them at least one set of tires, and the end of the race would be more in the drivers' hands trying to handle their race car on old tires.

These sudden winners are also making the chase more of a crapshoot than it already is. To date, Biffle has been in contention for the win at most a couple occasions while Jeff Gordon has been in contention at least a half dozen times. However, due to the current rules Biffle will start the chase ten points ahead. If they're going to include the bonus points for winning the race, why not also include the bonus points for leading laps? It's ridiculous that Carl Edwards has led only six laps all season and currently will start the chase with as many points as guys like Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon who have led hundreds of laps during the season and ended up unlucky at the end of the race! Based on my calculations, with laps led included after 21 races the start of the chase would like this:

Driver Win Bonus Laps Led Bonus Total Bonus
Jimmie Johnson 50 100 150
Denny Hamlin 50 75 125
Kyle Busch 20 75 95
Kurt Busch 20 75 95
Jeff Gordon 80 80
Kevin Harvick 20 55 75
Jeff Burton 60 60
Tony Stewart 60 60
Greg Biffle 10 40 50
Clint Bowyer 45 45
Matt Kenseth 30 30
Carl Edwards 20 20

Notice that instead of what would normally be a 50 point difference between first and twelfth, there would be a 130 point difference. However, 130 points is still a margin that can be made up in ten races. Also, with laps led points maybe we could see some more intense challenges for the lead during the middle stages of races and not so many teammates letting each other by to lead some laps. One thing that so far would not make a difference this year, but I think should be reflected in the chase as well are points penalties. If a team gets penalized prior to the chase, why should they be allowed to start with a clean slate? Just look at how 2007 would have started for example:

Driver Win Bonus Laps Led Bonus Penalty Total Bonus
Tony Stewart 30 105 -25 110
Denny Hamlin 10 75 85
Carl Edwards 20 55 75
Martin Truex Jr. 10 55 65
Jeff Gordon 40 120 -100 60
Kyle Busch 10 70 -25 55
Kevin Harvick 10 45 55
Clint Bowyer 0 50 50
Jimmie Johnson 60 80 -100 40
Jeff Burton 10 30 40
Matt Kenseth 10 75 -50 35
Kurt Busch 20 95 -100 15

Notice despite having the most wins Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are mid-pack to start off the chase due to their 100 point penalty earlier in the season. After the chase races the final point standings would have looked like this:

Driver Chase Pts Final Total
Jimmie Johnson 1663 1703
Jeff Gordon 1606 1666
Clint Bowyer 1377 1427
Kyle Busch 1283 1338
Matt Kenseth 1288 1323
Tony Stewart 1212 1322
Carl Edwards 1202 1277
Jeff Burton 1221 1261
Kevin Harvick 1189 1244
Kurt Busch 1211 1226
Martin Truex Jr. 1154 1219
Denny Hamlin 1133 1218

No major change in the final standings, right? However, the final points margin actually ended up being smaller. Maybe if NASCAR would have factored in laps led and penalties then maybe it would quiet many of the naysayers that think Johnson or Gordon cheated their way to the top two in points that year, or say that Bowyer didn't deserve third in points. This system would show teams earning their championships based on performance more than it does now. Why won't NASCAR look at a system like this that encompasses more than just one stat or a silly elimination format?

On the local side of things, mother nature butted into the night's racing action at Motordrome Speedway and postponed the last two local races. Luckily they were able to get the first two local shows and the Super Cup Stock Car Series race in, which turned out to be some decent races with some old names from the Pro Cup Series competing. Perhaps the biggest name in the field was Todd Peck, and unfortunately they suffered mechanical problems prior to the green flag and weren't even able to start the race. Videos from the trip can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/ajcrdstr24. Two weeks later I made an annual stop at Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway and for the first time in three years we didn't haven't to put up with any rain delays. The weather and the micro sprint racing were great!

Thanks to the encouragement from a friend, I have made a spur of the moment decision to attend the Battle at the Grove at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania on Thursday, August 4. This night of racing will feature Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart racing sprint cars and Kyle Busch racing a dirt late model. From there, I might go to Sundance Vacations Speedway north of Hazleton, PA for some local racing a couple weeks later. Possibly more videos and another blog post coming in late August.

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