Toyota NSCS Drivers React to NASCAR Points Change

TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Notes & Quotes – January 26, 2011 Toyota Drivers React to NASCAR’s New Points Structure

KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team What do you think of NASCAR’s new system of awarding points? “If it’s the whole 43 (points) — drop by a point — the way the bonus points are going to work out, the way you will make the Chase and the bonus points in the Chase — I like all of it.  I think it’s kind of similar to what we have now.  The only differences are — I think it’s a little easier for the fan.  It’s easier for the fan in the grandstand to keep up with the points when things are close or to see where their favorite driver is in the points.  I like it.  Making the Chase — I think wins is a big part of the sport still. NASCAR has really kept that a big part of the points and a big part of the Chase, which is good.”

What do you think of earning additional points for race wins? “It should be three points.  Three bonus points — I think that is plenty because last year with the bonus points it was like 92 percent of your points if you won a race.  This year, it will be 91 percent — which will make winning a race a touch bigger. Consistency is still going to play a big part of our sport because if you finish bad it actually hurts you more by only getting a point.  Having those bad races will hurt you more than it did in the past.  The two extra drivers in the Chase by most wins keeps everybody after wins too.  You’ve got to win races — that’s the only way you’ll make the Chase.  The only way you’ll win championships is to win races. The top-10 and the next two with the most wins in the top-20 in points (will make the Chase).”

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Could this new system change strategy in race number 22 or 23? “I think it depends where you are at that point.  If you have a couple wins and you are 14th in points — you are doing pretty good. But, if you have zero wins and you are 14th in points — you have an issue and you better figure it out quick.  You can win your way in if you get after it.  It creates a little more excitement and it gives everybody a little easier way to understand the points and how it works.”

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team How do you feel about the new NASCAR points system? “The difference is easy – the 43 to one points is explainable to anyone by a text and not a long email.  It’s all nice — but when does Daytona start again?  I’m ready to race!”

MICHAEL WALTRIP, owner, Michael Waltrip Racing What do you think of the new NASCAR points system? “As a race car driver I’ve known for a long time that if you finish 11th you’re going to get 60 more points than if you finish 30th. But I know that, and not very many other people know that.  Now anyone can understand that if you finish 10th and someone else finishes 20th you’re only going to get 10 more points than him and so it will just make the fans more engaged.” “I think we not only need to look at the points system but beyond that.  Look at the tracks to make sure that people understand where pit road speed starts.  You know if you look at the Dallas Cowboys new stadium that’s the new standard.  That’s where the bar is set with those big video screens and all sorts of technology.  That’s where we need to head with our race tracks.  We don’t need a cone set up at the end of pit road saying that’s where pit road speed begins, we need it either shot across digitally or it needs to be a big sign saying ‘enter here – speed limit 45.’  We need to show that so a fan in the stands can see those things.  I think that is the direction we’re going and this is just the first little step.”

DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing What do you think about the changes to the NASCAR points structure? “It is what it is. I think in the end, especially toward the end of the year, when you’re trying to figure out who gets in and who doesn’t it should make things a little easier for everyone to understand.  The old way was pretty complicated for not only the fans, but for some of us as far as trying to figure some of that stuff out – maybe more complicated than it needed to be.  I think it’s a good move to try and simplify things. I don’t see any down side to it.” “Really, I don’t think it’s something that I’m going to put a lot of thought into.  I know that if I’m winning races or finishing in the top five and maintaining a high level of consistency it’s all going to work itself out and I’ll be where I need to be in points when the time comes.  That may be trying to over-simplify it, but I don’t spend a lot of time looking at where I’m at in the standings now — that’s just how it is. If it’s better for the fans and better for the sport I’m racing as hard and as fast as I can every week to get everything I can out of the race car and get the best finish I can – that’s not going to change.”

DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (continued) What do you think of the changes NASCAR has made in order to qualify for the Chase? “If it helps me get in (to the Chase) I’m all for it. (laughs).  I look at some of the guys last year that qualified for the Chase – they had great seasons and deserved to be there because they consistently finished toward the front and got a lot of points, but a little more emphasis on winning is okay by me.  Then some guys, like me, ran into problems early in the season that cost us a shot at the Chase.  We ran up front our fair share too and feel we were just as good as a lot of the Chase teams throughout the year – and we won a race.  I think there was four of us that won races but were on the outside looking in when the Chase came around.  The new system seems to reward both consistency and wins – that’s a good thing.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing What do you think about the changes to the NASCAR points structure? “I think the main goal is to make sure everyone understands the points system better.  It will be easier to follow for the fans, the television announcers and anyone involved in the sport.  The way it worked before, if you were watching or following a Chase race, they had to have a ticker on the screen to show the points because no one could figure it out.  It was complicated. Depending on positions, there could be three points or five points separating positions.” “The decision to change it was based on simplicity.  I think it is a great thing.  The fans can understand and if they are watching from the stands or on television, if their driver passes someone, they know how many points the pass is worth.  I like it because it will engage the fans more because it is much easier to understand what is going on.  It’s a simpler system.  It’s easier to understand and it’s a great thing for all of us in NASCAR.” “For broadcasters, they can understand quickly how each position is going to impact the overall scheme of things and put on an even better show.” “Like I said, I think it is a good thing to keep it simple.  Based on the model I have been shown, it’s not really going to change anything.  The guys who run the best are still going to have the most amount of points. “

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