This post presents historical results for NASCAR’s proposed system as well as several other formats that have been discussed. Mr. Matt Crossman has written three articles that analyze various proposals to determine NASCAR’s annual champion. I link and briefly summarize the three essays below:
- The initial essay critiques and questions about NASCAR’s points-standings plan for 2014 and beyond.
- His second article presents quantitatively-driven proposals to crown the Cup Series’ champion.
- Finally, Mr. Crossman’s last essay examines the historical landscape of NASCAR across several discussed points formats:
This entry augments his posts with the data and historical results for your benefit. Of course, alternative systems’ points standings should be taken lightly. Drivers and teams’ decisions change based on circumstances that NASCAR sets forth.
The following link presents a spreadsheet with several tables of these results. I explain them directly below the link:
The first tab explains each theoretical system. The second table lists the weekly points distribution for each proposed method. The third table is a list of champions for each format. All subsequent tables present annual standings for every driver who participated in one or more races for every season in NASCAR’s modern era. For transparency, I attach the Stata code which I use to create standings for previous seasons:
The following image presents champions under every format:
I list the details of NASCAR’s new system and explain minor changes I made to fit old points formats. An exhaustive list of rules can be found on NASCAR.com:
- I accept all points penalties as NASCAR defines them.
- To be eligible for Chase, a driver must be among the first 30 in the standings after the regular season. He or she must have attempted to qualify for all races unless NASCAR issues him or her a medical exception. I assume no medical exceptions in this simulation.
- Regular season standings are determined by a driver’s number of wins. Accumulated points function as a tie-breaker. The first 16 in these standings advance to NASCAR’s de facto 10-race postseason. The driver who accrues the most points in the regular season is guaranteed a playoff position.
- The first 3 races of “the Chase” include a reset to 2,000 points for all participants. Drivers receive 3 extra points per regular season victory. Playoff drivers automatically advance to the second round with a win in this segment. All remaining contestants are sorted by points amassed in these races. The top 12 playoff drivers advance to the following round.
- The second round is executed similarly. Points for the dozen drivers begin at 3,000. Sorted by wins with points acting as a tie-breaker, the first 8 advance to the quarterfinals.
- The final 8 drivers’ markers are reset to 4,000. After three races, the final 4 are determined by exact fashion of the previous 2 playoff rounds.
- The championship finale is straightforward. The best-finishing driver among qualified participants earns the title. No bonus points will be offered to those competing for the championship. (To make this step additive, I calculate the inverse of the driver’s finish and multiply it by 100. I add that value to the 5,000-point baseline for the final round.)
- Playoff drivers who did not qualify for the championship race continue to accumulate points on top of the bonus points earned from regular season wins as well as the baseline 2,000 points.
- For seasons that utilized the “Latford points distribution,” I adjust my baseline playoff values ten-fold to prevent overlap from those lower in standings. Additionally, each regular season win in these seasons is counted as 15 points.
Have fun. It’s okay to do that sometimes. At least I’ve been told.