Monday, November 17, 2008


Being a gracious loser can be difficult, but Carl Edwards climbed from his winning car, performed his traditional victory backflip and the walked towards Jimmie Johnson. Understanding it was Johnson’s day and not his, he shook the No. 48 driver’s hand, patted his helmet and then walked away. In victory lane, Edwards appeared almost distraught at how close he had come – just 69 points - to winning his first championship. But looking at the numbers, he did win the championship, at least in my mind.

Using the non-Chase points system, Edwards would have topped Johnson by just 16 points. Of course, Johnson probably would have raced harder at Homestead had the points race been narrower and nothing should be taken away from him or his team. I have no doubt he could have, and would have, won this championship if the points deficit was substantially less. He is a great champion and leader of NASCAR.

But this should once and for all finish the theory that the Chase creates excitement. If this year showed anything, the drivers are plenty capable of doing that at the track. It’s time for Brian France to reverse course on the Chase and go back to the original points format, albeit with a greater emphasis on winning. Now is the time to show that in NASCAR, unlike others sports, the driver and team that win must be the best during the entire year. If that were the case this year, we would’ve been in for one hell of a race at Homestead.

2008 Non-Chase Points
1. Carl Edwards – 5236
2. Jimmie Johnson (–16)
3. Kyle Busch (-252)
4. Greg Biffle (-489)
5. Jeff Burton (-527)
6. Dale Earnhardt (-541)
7. Kevin Harvick (-608)
8. Jeff Gordon (-699)
9. Tony Stewart (-749)
10. Clint Bowyer (-749)
11. Denny Hamlin (-797)
12. Matt Kenseth (-929)
13. David Ragan (-945)

The rest of the points standings shook out relatively similar to the Chase standings. It’s amazing to see that Kyle Busch will barely squeak into the banquet table with a 10th place finish in the Chase. The eight-time winner in 2008 finished just two points ahead of Matt Kenseth, who had no victories. Has a driver with such a dominate first-half of the season ever fallen so fast? I doubt it.

Also, Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer would have tied in the non-Chase format. But Stewart would have been placed ahead of Bowyer because Stewart had three more top-5 finishes. Look for more follow-up on the season this week before I shut down the blog for the winter. Thanks for reading.

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