NASCAR made a huge announce Wednesday that it has added a wild card element to setting the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field and it has simplified its points system for 2011, making it easier for fans, teams and the industry to understand. While the 12-driver Chase field remains the same, the final two spots will be determined by the number of wins during the first 26 races.The top 10 in points following Race No. 26 -- the "cutoff" race -- continue to earn Chase positions. Positions 11 and 12 are "Wild Card
" qualifiers and will go to non-top-10-ranked drivers with the most wins, as long as they're ranked in the top 20 in points. The top-10 Chase drivers will continue to be seeded based on wins during the first 26 races, with each win worth three bonus points. The wild card drivers will not receive bonus points for wins and will be seeded 11th and 12th, respectively. It's a move aimed towards rewarding winning and consistency during the regular season. This makes will make every race count leading into the 26th race of the season at Richmond, when we set the field for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The new points system -- which applies to all NASCAR national series -- will award points in one-point increments. As an example, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, race winners will earn 43 points, plus three bonus points for the win. 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. All other drivers in a finishing order will be separated by one-point increments. A second-place finisher will earn 42 points, a third-place driver 41 points, and so on. A last-place finisher 43rd place earns one point. In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the last-place finisher receives eight points, to account for that series' 36-driver race field.
Pick a Series
Drivers in all three national series now must select the series where they'll compete for a driver championship. Drivers still may compete in multiple series and help their teams win owner titles in series where they're not competing for a driver title. The move helps spotlight young talent in the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.