What it Takes to Win a NASCAR Championship

Because I’m bored…

In numbers, what does it take to win a NASCAR championship?

It is actually quite simple. I have devised a formula to show you exactly what it took this year for Jimmie Johnson to win the championship. And when you look at it, you’ll see that it actually wasn’t that difficult.

First, he had to make the Chase. The final driver to make the Chase in 2009 was Brian Vickers, who scored 3,203 points over the course of 26 races. So divide:

3,203 points/26 races

To get:

123 points.

Now we’ll take a peek at our points chart and see where the number 123 falls. After looking at the chart, you will see that the number 123 falls between 13 and 14. So in order to make the Chase, Johnson didn’t even have to average a 12th place finish to make the top 12. He merely needed to finish 13th every week in order to have a shot at the championship, and didn’t need to lead any laps.

During the Chase, runner-up points finisher Mark Martin wound up collecting 1,471 points over 10 races. So divide:

1,471 points/10 races

To get:

147 points.

Again, looking at our points chart, we see that the number 147 falls in between 7th and 8th, meaning that Johnson needed only to average a 7th place finish over 10 races, without leading any laps, to beat Mark Martin for the championship.

For kicks, what would Johnson have needed to do to win the title the old fashioned way?

Tony Stewart, who accumulated the second most points over the course of the 36-race season(Johnson had the most), earned 5,156 points over 36 races. So divide:

5,156 points/36 races

To get:

141 points

Looking at our points chart, we see the the number 141 falls between 8th and 9th, meaning that, in order to beat Tony Stewart, Johnson would have needed to average an 8th place finish over 36 races, without leading a lap.

In a sentence, under the current system, Jimmie Johnson needed to average a 13th-place finish over the first 26 race, and a 7th-place finish over the final 10 races to win the title. Under the old system, Johnson would have needed to average an 8th-place finish over 36 races.

Tags: Brian Vickers Jimmie Johnson Mark Martin Tony Stewart

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