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Boss wants points simple

DAYTONA BEACH — NASCAR president Mike Helton strongly indicated the points system used since 1975 will be scrapped for a simpler scoring method.

"The goal for some time has been to create a points system that is easy to understand, easy to explain, easy to be talked about, but also be credible at the end of the season," Helton said Friday at Daytona International Speedway.

The current system is a complicated formula that NASCAR says was drawn up on a napkin over drinks at a Daytona Beach bar in 1974. The Associated Press reported this week that NASCAR is telling teams it wants a system that would award points based on finish, from 43 points to the winner to one for last place.

"We're in the middle of the conversations, actually telling the competitors where our mind is," Helton said. "The main goal is to get one that's just easier to understand and simpler. And we're close. We're getting a lot of great input from the drivers about the tweaks that would go along with something like that."

NASCAR chairman Brian France is expected to announce any changes, including potential tweaks to the Chase for the Championship format, on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C.

With the scoring system undecided — bonus points for wins appears to be one issue — the competition group spent a good deal of time discussing the new rule that will prevent drivers for racing for championships in more than one series. Helton confirmed that drivers will have to choose one series in which they can go for a title.

The second-tier Nationwide series has been dominated in recent years by Sprint Cup stars, who have won the past five series titles. Among Cup regulars, only defending champion Brad Keselow­ski and 2007 champ Carl Edwards had planned full-time Nationwide series schedules.

Edwards said he'll still try to run the full 35-race Nationwide schedule, while Keselowski could drop a handful of races.

VICKERS BACK: After eight months away, Brian Vickers was unsure what to expect.

The driver thought his seat, belts and helmet might feel a little different. Instead, they fit perfectly. He hopes the rest of his return will be equally smooth.

Vickers stepped away from NASCAR last season after doctors found clots in his leg and lungs. Treatment included blood thinners, two procedures to close a hole in his heart and having a stent put in his left leg. He quickly decided to try to come back.

"In the end what brought me back was just my love for racing, just being in a car going 200 miles an hour," Vickers said at Daytona. "Whether I win or lose, I'm happy to be back."

Vickers got back in his No. 83 Toyota for the first time at a private test in Orlando last week. He turned more laps at the open test at Daytona and was near the top of the speed chart Friday.

STAYING PUT: Front Row Motorsports announced that Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland are returning to the team as full-time Sprint Cup drivers.

. Fast Facts

Preseason Thunder

What: Preseason Sprint Cup testing and fan activities

When: Today

Where: Daytona International Speedway

Schedule: Testing begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m., weather permitting. There is a lunch break from noon until 1.

Cost: Free for testing. Admittance to the Fan Fest area is $20, but 2011 Daytona 500 ticket-holders and children 12 and younger get in free.

Boss wants points simple 01/21/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 21, 2011 9:45pm]
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