Points system attacked

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

The folks in NASCAR's ivory tower down in Daytona Beach are getting peppered this week about its complicated points system that decides the Sprint Cup winner.

After Formula One announced on Monday that number of wins will decide the world championship this season, many veteran observers wondered if NASCAR's tall foreheads might follow suit.

ESPN reporter Ed Hinton went a step further, detailing how such a system would have changed the Sprint Cup championships since 2000.

According to Hinton, Jimmie Johnson would not have won his back-to-back-to-back titles under the F-1 system.

See the accompanying chart for proof.

Dreaming big time

Speaking of F-1's new system for deciding a champion, series supremo Bernie Ecclestone appears to be living in a fantasy world after telling a media scrum in Australia that perennial also-ran Jenson Button could emerge as a world champion under the new rules.

Button will drive for Brawn GP -- a new team that is actually the old Honda team.

"I suppose an awful lot will depend on these (new) regulations, but if Brawn has got it right, then there is a chance that for the first three races we could maybe see Jenson winning," Ecclestone said. "Now that it is not points that decides the championship, if he has three races in his pocket then it is not bad -- although I suppose in the end you have to look at the old timers like (Fernando) Alonso, Kimi (Raikkonen), Felipe (Massa) and Mr. (Lewis) Hamilton."

One would hope that Ecclestone had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek when he spat that out.

Diffusing a controversy

The results of next weekend's opening F-1 race in Australia could end up being decided in a courtroom.

Several teams have not so quietly been accusing Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota of using illegal diffusers.

The diffuser-- the shaped section of the car's underbody that improves its aerodynamic properties -- that those teams use is a double decker design that other teams say doesn't meet FIA regulations.

Ecclestone said that the controversy will be front and centre if one of those teams wins in Australia.

"I guarantee whoever wins the races in Melbourne will be told they are cheating, and it doesn't matter who it is," he said. "In this case it seems two teams, maybe three, certainly Toyota and Brawn, have interpreted the regulations in a different way to the other teams."

Double threat

When Dario Franchitti -- the 2007 Indianapolis 500 and Indy Car series champion -- decided to go back to Indy Car racing with Chip Ganassi's squad after his less-than-stellar attempt at NASCAR racing, he and the team made a bit of history.

By partnering him up with Scott Dixon -- the Indy 500 and Indy Car champion in 2008 -- Ganassi becomes the first team in Indy history to field the most recent Indy 500 and series champions.

Dating back to the first American Automobile Association-sanctioned Indianapolis 500 in 1911, the FIA-sanctioned Monaco Grand Prix in 1950 and the NASCAR-sanctioned Daytona 500 in 1959, no team has ever paired the previous two winners of the sport's driver championship, and it's respective crown jewel event, together on the same team.

Finish lines

Tickets for the NASCAR Nationwide Series NAPA Auto Parts 200 Presented by Dodge in Montreal Aug. 29-30 will go on sale tomorrow. NASCAR returns to Montreal for the third consecutive year at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve ... Last year's Montreal winner, Toronto's Ron Fellows, is still in the mix to pilot Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet there and at Watkins Glen ... Brian Stewart Racing has announced it has signed Pablo Donoso for the 2009 Indy Lights season. Donoso will drive the No. 33 car for the veteran team owner ... D.J. Kennington has renewed his long-time sponsorship deal with Castrol to run his No. 17 Dodge for the entire 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. Kennington will also try to run as many of the NASCAR Nationwide series races as his schedule allows in the No. 81 McDonald Motorsports Dodge.

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NASCAR SYSTEM FLAWED

YEAR MOST WINS ACTUAL CHAMPION

2008 Carl Edwards (9 wins) Jimmie Johnson (7)

2007 Jimmie Johnson (10) Jimmie Johnson

2006 Kasey Kahne (6) Jimmie Johnson (5)

2005 Greg Biffle (6) Tony Stewart (5)

2004 Jimmie Johnson (8) Kurt Busch (3)

2003 Ryan Newman (8) Matt Kenseth (1)

2002 Matt Kenseth (5) Tony Stewart (3)

2001 Jeff Gordon (6) Jeff Gordon

2000 Tony Stewart (6) Bobby Labonte (2)

DEAN.MCNULTY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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