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NASCAR points system: Will changes keep Jimmie Johnson from winning it all again?

NASCAR points system has caused confusion for both drivers and fans over the past several years. The changes to the NASCAR points system, presented on Wednesday, probably won't keep a consistently good driver like Jimmie Johnson from capturing yet another Sprint Cup championship.

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NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne (4), Brian Vickers (83), Martin Truex Jr. (56), and David Reutimann (00), participate in the afternoon bump-drafting session during auto racing testing at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Jan. 20. A new NASCAR points system was unveiled on Wednesday night.

Reinhold Matay/AP Photo

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If you're a casual stock car racing fan, you've probably wondered how NASCAR awards points to drivers during the season. Over the last few years, even drivers and their teams have questioned the NASCAR points system.

The points system helps determine who takes home NASCAR's Sprint Cup championship, which has been won the past five consecutive years by Jimmie Johnson.

Under the old system, a driver who won a race received 185 points, plus additional points for leading a race lap and leading the most laps in any given race.

Wednesday night, NASCAR chairman Brian France announced changes to the NASCAR points system, based on the finishing order in every race.

For example, if Jeff Gordon were to win the Daytona 500 next month, he would receive 43 points. Whoever finishes second would get 42 points, and so on down the field. There will be additional points given out for a victory and lap performance.

After 26 races, the top 10 drivers, based on points, will advance to NASCAR's playoffs, otherwise known as "The Chase for the Cup." It's the final 10 races of the season that will include some wild-card drivers.

In the past, there was a seeding process, heading into the Chase, that would add points to a driver's total. That, along with points being deducted from drivers by NASCAR for disciplinary reasons, caused confusion.

Now, with the new points system, NASCAR hopes everyone will be able to follow along.


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