Points system to stay

NASCAR has decided to stick with its controversial '10-driver play-off' points scoring system for this season, after it helped the series to its closest ever finish last year

Points system to stay

The new format introduced in 2004 saw the top 10 drivers plus those within a certain margin of the leader fight it out for championship glory over the final 10 rounds of the series. It helped ensure that five drivers went into the series finale at Homestead gunning for the title, with Kurt Busch eventually beating Jimmie Johnson by just eight points.

Speaking on the first day of the NASCAR Nextel Media Tour, NASCAR chairman Brian France confirmed the series would stick with the scheme for this year - although he refused to rule out the possibility of it changing for 2006.

"We're set for 2005," said France. "We feel like we've got a pretty good system. On balance we're happy with where we're at. Any adjustments, if needed, will be made in 2006."

Although only 10 drivers actually made the cut last year, NASCAR has decided against expanding the 400 points margin - and NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter believes that will prompt a change of approach from some of the series' stars.

''I think you'll see a lot of drivers approaching it differently after seeing how it worked last year,'' said Hunter. ''Last year there seemed to be a sense among some drivers that they'd really turn it on when they got close to those final 10 races - and a lot of them didn't make it.

"Now they realise that they have to turn it on right out of the gate. The field may not be set until September, but everybody understands that the Chase for the Championship starts next month at Daytona.''

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