Where JJ's concerned, the points don't add up

Updated: March 29, 2010, 7:49 PM ET

AP Photo/Wade Payne

Tony Stewart, right, provided little resistance for Jimmie Johnson in the final stages Sunday at Bristol.

The man who has won 60 percent of the Sprint Cup races this season is not first in the season standings. In fact, he's not even second.

Jimmie Johnson, who has won three of the first five races, ranks third in the standings behind two drivers -- leader Kevin Harvick and second-place Matt Kenseth -- who haven't won a race.

Nothing against Harvick and Kenseth, but the driver who has won the majority of the races should be the points leader. Johnson is 14 points behind Harvick and 13 behind Kenseth.

"They're on a great roll," Jeff Gordon told reporters of his teammate Johnson. "Jimmie's a great driver and they're just racking them up right now. It's impressive. It motivates everybody else to get their act together. They're really strong. You've got to give them a lot of credit for that."

Yes, you do, but the points don't add up. NASCAR's points system is based on consistency and average finish, which still doesn't come out exactly right. Harvick's average finish is 6.2. Sunday's 11th-place showing at Bristol was his first time outside the top 10 this season.

Kenseth is 5-for-5 in top-10 finishes and has an average finish of 5.4, but he's one point behind Harvick.

"So far this year, we've been able to find ways to get good finishes even when we haven't performed good," Kenseth told reporters after his fifth-place finish. "All of the guys did a great job for me on pit road and they really got us this finish."

Kenseth's worst finish this season is eighth, which is why he's ahead of the guy with three victories. Johnson is penalized for one bad finish, a 35th-place showing at Daytona.

This wacky math should give hope to all the NASCAR fans tired of seeing Johnson dominate, although Johnson would be the leader if the Chase started today.

He would have a 20-point lead over Kurt Busch and be 30 points over Harvick and Kenseth, based on the 10-points-per-victory seeding format.

Once the Chase starts, winning again takes a backseat in how points are totaled. No system is perfect, but winning races deserves a bigger reward at each event.

Like him or not, the man who has won 60 percent of the races should be on top of the standings, regardless of how he finished in the other events.

Nationwide Series: Surprising Allgaier a first-time winner

Justin Allgaier did something Saturday that didn't happen all last year. His victory at Bristol made Allgaier the first man since 2008 to win a Nationwide Series race without ever having started a Sprint Cup race.

The last driver to do it was Joey Logano, who won at Kentucky on June 14, 2008. Allgaier also became the first Nationwide winner this season who isn't a full-time Cup driver.

Allgaier, 23, might have a shot at breaking the stranglehold Cup drivers have on the Nationwide title. Full-time Cup drivers have won the last four Nationwide championships.

Allgaier is third in the standings after four races, only 31 points behind leader Carl Edwards and five points behind teammate Brad Keselowski, who finished second to Allgaier at Bristol.

Of the top seven drivers in the standings after four races, Allgaier is the only one who isn't a Cup regular. The Riverton, Ill., native was the Raybestos Rookie of the Year last season when he finished sixth in the Nationwide standings.

"We hired Justin because we've seen how well he ran in ARCA, the commitment he had and the type of person he is," team owner Roger Penske told reporters after Saturday's race. "The support his family has given him, his upbringing, he is the type of person that would develop within our team. I think he has a great future with us."

The Nationwide Series has its first stand-alone event of the season April 3 at Nashville.

Camping World Truck Series: Martinsville next stop for truckers

The Camping World Truck Series will end a three-week break and have its third event of the season Saturday afternoon at Martinsville.

Kevin Harvick, who won the Truck series event at Atlanta on March 6, ended up in Victory Lane at Martinsville one year ago.

Terry Blount is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He is the author of "The Blount Report: NASCAR's Most Overrated and Underrated Drivers, Cars, Teams, and Tracks." He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.


Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

ESPN Video

Racing Resources Says …

Sprint Cup Series

Jimmie Johnson

Johnson

  • Jimmie Johnson won the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was Johnson's 50th Sprint Cup victory in 296th career start. He moved into a tie for 10th with Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson on NASCAR's all-time wins list.
  • It was Johnson's third victory in five races this season (California and Las Vegas).
  • It was Johnson's first Cup victory at Bristol in 17 starts. He became the 38th different driver to win at Bristol.
  • Johnson scored his 10th victory in 49 races on short tracks. He has won four of the past nine Cup races on short tracks. Eight of Johnson's 10 short-track wins have come in the last 20 races.
  • Johnson, who started fourth, led three times for 84 laps, including the final seven.
  • Johnson has not won on five active tracks: Michigan, Infineon, Watkins Glen, Chicagoland and Homestead.
  • Hendrick Motorsports scored its 191st series victory, and its ninth Cup win at Bristol.
  • Johnson became one of just 12 drivers to score 50 or more career victories.
  • With his lead in today's race, Kurt Busch (third) passed 5,700 laps led in his career.
  • Joe Nemechek finished 43rd in his 525th career Cup race.
  • Clint Bowyer finished 40th in his 150th career Cup race.
  • Two drivers have scored top-10 finishes in the first five races in 2010: Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth.
  • Kevin Harvick leads the standings by one point over second-place Matt Kenseth.
  • No driver has led in all five races this season.
  • Kurt Bush (third) led 278 laps, the most in the race, and most ever led in a Cup series race. The leader of the most laps won just one of the last nine races at Bristol.
  • Pole winner Joey Logano finished 27th.
  • Tony Stewart (second) posted his first top-5 finish in 2010.
  • Greg Biffle (fourth) posted his fifth top-10 in five races and fifth top-10 in the last seven Bristol races.
  • Matt Kenseth (fifth) has posted four top-10 finishes in his last five races at Bristol.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (seventh) has been running at the finish in the last 20 Bristol races.
  • Kyle Busch (ninth) scored his best finish in 2010 and moved to 10th in the Cup standings -- the first time he's been in the top 10 since Chicagoland last July.
  • Ryan Newman (16th) ended a streak of three straight top-10 finishes at Bristol.
  • Denny Hamlin (19th) ended a streak of four straight finishes of sixth or better at Bristol.
  • Bobby Labonte (21st) has been running at the finish in the last 21 Bristol races.
  • The 29 lead changes rank third all-time at Bristol.
  • Bowyer (40th) ended an eight-race streak of running at the finish at Bristol. Bowyer also ended his streak of leading in the first four races this season.
  • Two cars failed to qualify for the Food City 500: No. 36 Mike Bliss and No. 13 Max Papis.
  • Chevrolet scored its 42nd victory at Bristol. Ford has 33 wins, Dodge has six, Toyota has two, while all others have 17.
  • The top 10 consisted of five Chevrolets, three Fords, one Toyota and one Dodge.

Nationwide Series

Justin

Allgaier

  • Justin Allgaier won the Scotts Turf Builder 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
  • It was Allgaier's first series victory in his 43rd career start. It marked his fourth top-10 finish in four Nationwide races in 2010. He led one time for 27 laps.
  • Allgaier was the 10th different winner in the last 10 races at Bristol. He was the sixth first-time winner at Bristol
  • It was Penske's 10th series victory and first of 2010. Allgaier became the third Penske driver to win in the series.
  • Brad Keselowski (second) has finished 13th or better in the four series races in 2010.
  • Kyle Busch (third) posted his ninth top-10 in 12 races at Bristol.
  • Carl Edwards (fourth) posted his fourth top-5 finish in four series races in 2010. Edwards has been running at the finish in his 12 Bristol races.
  • Kevin Harvick (fifth) posted his 123rd career top-5, tying Tommy Houston for the series record.
  • Steve Wallace (38th) ended a five-race streak of top-10 finishes, the longest of his career.
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (25th) was the best of the four rookie of the year contenders in the race.
  • Busch, Greg Biffle and Keselowski have each led in all four NNS races in 2010.
  • The 10 race leaders at Bristol set a series record.
  • It was Dodge's 28th series victory. The last Dodge win came 939 days earlier -- by Kasey Kahne in August 2007 at Bristol.
  • The last 1-2 finish by Dodge: at Gateway in July 2005 (Reed Sorenson and Mike Wallace).
  • It was the second Penske 1-2 finish in NASCAR (Daytona 500 in 2008).
  • The top 10 consisted of three Toyotas, three Chevrolets, two Fords and two Dodges.
  • The race was slowed by caution 11 times for 61 laps.

-- Racing Resources