NASCAR Sprint Cup Point Standings Analytics – After Race 4

The announcement of a change to the distribution of points across NASCAR national series sparked debate among even the most conservative NASCAR fans.  One of the explanations behind the change was to develop a more dramatic points battle to increase fan interest.

[media-credit name=”Barry Albert” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]A debate arose over the fact that a quick calculation would show that very little, if anything, would change in the final championship standings. In fact, even among the more common point distributions across all major racing series, by the end of the season there did not appear to be much of a difference in the order of the final standings.

Here, I shall contend that debate with weekly comparisons across the three most commonly mentioned distributions, plus my own personal points schedule designed to reward both race winners and consistent high finishes.
American Muscle

Classic Points SystemStandings After Race 4

By virtue of another strong finish, Carl Edwards would take the top spot under the classic system from Tony Stewart. Kurt Busch would be hot on his heels just 23 points, while there would be a three way tie for third between Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart.

Notable changes in position compared to current system: None really… as we move forward in the season it is becoming apparent that there is little, if any difference, between the two point distributions.

F1 System Standings After Race 4

Carl Edwards would have a commanding 14 point lead over the younger Busch brother. Jimmie Johnson would be third, 31 points back and more than a full race behind Edwards. Jeff Gordon and Trevor Bayne would round out the top five, each driver only scoring points in their respective victories.

Drivers without points: Clint Bowyer, David Reutimann, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Burton, Joey Logano

Notable changes in position compared to current system: Jeff Gordon (+15), David Gilliand (+11), Kevin Harvick (+5), Ryan Newman (-5), Paul Menard (-7), Kurt Busch (-7)

IndyCar SystemStandings After Race 4

Once again, Carl Edwards maintains a lead over Kyle Busch in the standings, this time by 18 points. Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart close the top five as all driver are within a race points of the lead.

Notable changes in position compared to current system: Kevin Harvick (+5),  Jimmie Johnson (+3), Paul Menard (-4), Dale Earnhardt Jr (-5), Mark Martin (-8)

Phat’s SystemStandings After Race 4

For an explanation of the points distribution, please see consult table below standings. This distribution is designed to reward race winners, while also rewarding those who run well every week.

Edwards sweeps all four standings for the week, again over Kyle Busch, with a 104 point advantage. Again, the top five is littered with the same drivers as Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman round the spots in the standings.

Notable changes in position compared to current system: Jeff Gordon (+13), Bobby Labonte (-3), Mark Martin (-4), Martin Truex, Jr. (-9)

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


  1. I found the phat’s system very confusing.

    I think that NASCAR actual system is now better than last year.

    I would just put 5 points instead of 3 extra for the winner of the race, that way the winner would make 50 round points.

  2. Excellent article, I like the Phat’s System, here is the system I came up with that a lot of people have latched onto as an “easy” solution:

    Bonus Points – 2 Points For Lap Led, 2 Points for Most Laps Led

    1st: 98 points (+2 for at least 1 lap led makes an even 100 for race winner)
    2nd: 70 (-30 gap)
    3rd: 65
    4th: 60
    5th: 55 (-5 gap 3rd, 4th, 5th)

    6th: 52
    7th: 49
    8th: 46
    9th: 43
    10th: 40 (-3 gap, 6th-10th)

    11th: 39
    12th: 38
    13th: 37
    14th: 36
    15th: 35
    16th: 34
    17th: 33
    18th: 32
    19th: 31
    20th: 30
    21st: 29
    22nd: 28
    23rd: 27
    24th: 26
    25th: 25
    26th: 24
    27th: 23
    28th: 22
    29th: 21
    30th: 20
    31st: 19
    32nd: 18
    33rd: 17
    34th: 16
    35th: 15
    36th: 14 (-1 gap 11th-36th)
    37th: 13
    38th: 13
    39th: 12
    40th: 12
    41st: 11
    42nd: 11
    43rd: 10 (repeating points 37th-43rd)

    To me, this system solves all of the “problems”:

    A) It’s simple, 100 points to the winner and 10 points to last place. Last gets 10% of 1st place, a good balance of reward/punishment for good/bad finishes

    B) Racing for the win, the difference between 1st-2nd is enough to make drivers go all out for the win, a 30% bonus to make that pass for the lead.

    C) Racing inside the Top 5 & 10, nothing is worse than seeing 3rd and 4th give up and ride it out to the finish. a 5 point gap inside the Top 5 is decent incentive to make those passes, likewise a smaller, but still important 3 point gap for passes inside Top 10

    D) Racing through the field, the emphasis has never been on racing from 11th on back, so make this simple, 1 point per position.

    E) Back markers. The Top 35 is something that is of some importance so I don’t think you can lump the entire back half of the field under 1 point structure. From 37th-43rd, by “repeating” points (37th and 38th get 13 points, 39th and 40th get 12…) you’re still separating their “performance” at the tail of the field and it gives these teams the ability to battle for the Top 35 without always being tied in points.

    I’ve run the scenarios over the past few seasons, it doesn’t change the champion too often, but it does take the guys who won 6-7 races and instead of them being burried in 9th-10th in points after a few bad weeks, it brings them into title contention in 2nd-4th. The system above is about the best balance of simple, award winning, award consistency, and award the Top 35 battle as I can perceive.

    Food for thought! Excellent article!

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