NASCAR Championship Using the FIA Point System
The four racers contending for the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series are Martin Truex, Jr., Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch. Kyle won the regular season championship, earning additional points entering the NASCAR playoffs. However, he is the one driver that hasn’t scored a win since the NASCAR playoffs kicked off, so how would Kyle do if this was a more traditional season long championship?
Since 2017 the GRID has scored each NASCAR race using the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) point system used in Formula 1, Formula E, and many FIA series. The point system simply rewards the top 10 finishers in each race, with 25 points to the winner, 18 points for second, 15 points for third, 12 points for fourth, and two points lower for each position, with a 10th place receiving 1 point. While FIA series such as F1 includes a point for fastest lap, Formula E has fastest lap and pole bonus points, the traditional point standing remains the same.
So how will NASCAR championship look with the FIA point standing, well for the second year the top 4 in the NASCAR playoffs are the same under the NASCAR FIA point standing, but Harvick would be mathematically out of the championship hunt and stuck in fourth position no matter the outcome of the final race in Homestead-Miami. The real battle would be Martin Truex, Jr. trying to hold off Denny Hamlin and keep Kyle Busch behind him.
Martin Truex, Jr. Winning the Championship
Martin Truex, Jr. would win the championship, as long as he finishes ahead of both Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. Martin cannot let Denny win the race because he will lose the championship since the winner receives 25 points, and second place earns 18 points. If Denny finishes second, then Martin has to finish third, and if Denny finishes third, Martin has to finish fifth to tie and win the tiebreaker. Anything lower and Martin have to be sure Denny doesn’t score more than five points, so staying within one or two positions in the top 10 ensures his championship.
Denny Hamlin Winning the Championship
If Denny Hamlin wants to win the championship he needs to win the race, that is the easiest route for him. If Denny is second or third Martin has to stay within one position of him, and two positions if lower than 4th. If Martin was to finish outside the top 10 and earn no points, he has to finish seventh or better to win the championship. Same time while keeping Martin behind he needs to keep Kyle Busch behind because Kyle is only five points behind him, so similar to Martin Truex, Jr. situation, Denny has to stay within reach of Kyle Busch to prevent Kyle from winning the championship.
Kyle Busch Winning the Championship
Kyle Busch has to meet two objectives to win the championship since he’s 10 points behind Martin. The first, win the race, and hope Martin finishes third or lower. This is the easiest route to winning the championship. In case both Martin and Denny finish outside the top 10, Kyle can win the championship by finishing fourth or better. If Kyle finishes fifth, and Martin is outside the top 10, Kyle will tie Martin, but lose the tiebreaker of most wins in a season. If Kyle doesn’t win, he would need Martin and Denny to finish multiple spots behind him to erase a 10 point gap which is really challenging because if Kyle was to finish second, Martin had to finish seventh or lower. So Kyle is in a must win and see Martin finish third or lower.
All three drivers are in must win situations, Kyle is the only one that he needs a win and Martin to finish third or worse, and Joe Gibbs knows he’ll be bringing another championship home. The NASCAR Playoffs ensure that the highest finisher will win the championship, but the FIA point system again produces a scenario where two or more drivers have a chance at the championship. Should NASCAR implement the FIA point system?
Interesting Notes with the FIA point system
-The top 16 in points heading into the season finale are the same 16 that made the playoffs.
-Justin Haley would be 20th in the standing because of his win at Daytona despite no other top 10 finishes
-Despite only 10 drivers scoring points in each race, 37 drivers would earn points on the board