LOUDON, N.H. — Greg Biffle led the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings for 14 weeks during the 26-race regular season, including the last three leading up to the Chase cutoff race at Richmond.
But the Roush Fenway Racing driver was given little in the way of a reward for his time atop the standings after he finished ninth at Richmond and was seeded fifth in the 12-man Chase for the Championship.
Speaking in Chicago last week, Biffle expressed misgivings about the lack of recognition for the regular-season points leader.
“The way I look at it — and it’s not an unbiased opinion, because I was leading the points — but I think anyone would agree to say the guy who wins the points for the regular season gets a 3-point bonus, like a win, because, technically, it’s a win,’’ said Biffle, who will start 13th in Sunday’s Sylvania 300.
“I don’t think anybody would be against that saying, ‘Oh, that’s outlandish,’ or ‘That’s too much,’ because it’s basically a win, in my eyes.’’
In an attempt to put greater emphasis on winning during the regular season, NASCAR officials awarded drivers 3 bonus points for each victory. Denny Hamlin, who recorded a series-high four wins, was awarded 12 bonus points and climbed six spots to the top seed with 2,012 points.
“You got to remember, we have driven ourselves to the points format where winning is all we care about in the first 26 races, because that’s how we seed the Chase,’’ Biffle said. “Well, it is and it isn’t. It’s a double-edged sword, because you have to have the points to get into the Chase, but then the wins are the only things that seed us in the Chase.’’
So what would be Biffle’s recommendation?
“I think there’s two issues: One is, the guy who is third in points should have a bit of a reward over the guy who is ninth in points, I really do,’’ Biffle said, noting how Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, and Brad Keselowski, who had a combined nine wins, were tied for third, 9 points ahead of winless Kevin Harvick.
“[The No. 3 seed] has proven through his team and his consistency and competition-wise on the track to be better than [the No. 9 seed],’’ Biffle said. “But what happens is we lose our memory and we think, ‘Oh well, now they’re points racing; they’re not going for the wins anymore,’ and that’s why we came up with this points system, so I think you can have both.’’