Race Weekend Central

Fact or Fiction: Drag Racing, NASCAR Points Calculating Both a Bit of a Drag

FACT: The new points system is confusing

Imagine a world where the points leaders across the three NASCAR national touring series have yet to win a race through three weekends. For those without an imagination, there is no need to fret. We are living in that world.

Each series has completed three events so far in the 2011 season – the first under the new points system composed by NASCAR to make it easier to understand for the fans. Added into the new system is the “pick a series” rule that allows drivers to only earn championship points for one series.

Thanks to that combination, all three points leaders have a goose-egg in the win column.

The top two drivers in the Sprint Cup Series – Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch – have two and three top-10 finishes respectively, but neither has a win. In fact, the only driver with a win in the top 10 in Cup points is Carl Edwards, who is tied for third with Juan Pablo Montoya, seven points out.

In the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck series, it’s more drastic.

I’ll start off by saying I love being right. It’s the best feeling ever. For those who read my opinions on the “pick-a-series” rule in my Feb. 7 column, Cup drivers are still racing in the Nationwide and Truck series – just as they were prior to the rule.

In the Nationwide Series, three drivers have wins – all three ineligible for points in the Nationwide Series this season. With cup regular Kasey Kahne winning the Too Tough To Tame 200 Saturday (March 12), the Camping World Truck Series looks the same.

There are still many races in the season and it’s very unlikely that the Cup champion will have fewer than three wins. But in the Nationwide Series and Truck Series, we’re realistically liable to have a champion with no wins. How is that “easier for the fans to comprehend” NASCAR?

FICTION: It’s easy to drag race

Former NASCAR champion Kurt Busch was beat out of the opening round of the NHRA Pro Stock Gatornational. Beaten by a girl – a.k.a. Erika Enders. It was proof that even though drivers are merely “driving straight,” it’s a lot different than just “turning left.”

Enders was the fifth seed out of the 16-driver field while Busch was the 12th seed.

Enders earned her defeat over Busch with a strong start, a 0.021-second reaction time compared to Busch’s 0.04.

The Gatornationals was the first NHRA entry for the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion since he received his Pro Stock license last year. Despite being beat out in the opening round, Busch’s time was still the fifth fastest time in the round, trumping his previous test and qualifying runs as well.

“We just came up short,” Busch said. “It’s three-hundredths of a second and in this game of drag racing, that’s enough to put you back on the trailer. I feel we can hang our heads high about this. It was a fantastic enjoyment all weekend.”

Busch’s next event could come at the Denver NHRA drag racing in July, the next and only other time this season that an NHRA event lands on a Cup Series off weekend. However, Busch has yet to make his entry official.

Enders, who has raced in the NHRA series for seven years, said Busch impressed her with his ability to post good times with little experience.

“People just don’t get in these cars and do well,” said Enders. “What he did, I think that speaks volumes for how good a driver he really is. You see people work years and years and years and not be able to do this.”

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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