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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR confirmed Wednesday what a dedicated and diligent media corps revealed days ago: the points system for 2011 has been simplified to a 43-to-1 format, making it easier for fans, competitors and the industry to understand.

“The 43-to-1 system is explainable to anyone by a text and not a long e-mail,” said No. 83 driver Brian Vickers, referring to the often-confusing points system that had been in place since 1975.

In his annual State of the Sport address, NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France made the announcement during the Sprint Media Tour’s visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The new system — which applies to NASCAR’s three national series — will award points in one-point increments. Race winners will earn 43 points, plus three bonus points for the victory. Winners also can earn an extra point for leading a lap and leading the most laps, bringing their total to a possible maximum of 48 points. The rest of the finishing order will be separated by one-point increments. Second place will earn 42 points, third 41 points, and so on. The 43rd and last-place finisher earns one point.

“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,” said No. 4 driver Kasey Kahne. “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.”

Also new in 2011 is the addition of a wild-card element to the setting the Chase field. The 12-driver format remains intact, but positions 11 and 12 will go to the two drivers — if they’re ranked in the top 20 — with the most victories who are not already eligible after the first 26 races.

“The two extra drivers in the Chase by most wins keeps everybody after wins, too,” Kahne said. “You’ve got to win races — that’s the only way you’ll make the Chase. 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.”

One final note: the qualifying order will be based on practice times — slowest to fastest — rather than a random draw.


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