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NASCAR points to change

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR is replacing the complicated scoring system it has used since 1975 with a more straightforward format.

None of the changes for the 2011 season announced by chairman Brian France at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Wednesday came as much of a surprise. NASCAR officials had been briefing teams for almost two weeks on the changes in an effort to give competitors feedback on the direction being taken.

A race winner will receive 43 points under the new system, and the points will decrease down to 1 for the 43rd-place driver. There will be three bonus points for the winner, one bonus point for every driver who leads a lap, and one bonus point to the driver who leads the most laps. The maximum points available now will be 48.

"Now everyone will know, when a driver is down by 10 points, that he needs to pass 11 more cars to take the lead in the point standings," France said.

NASCAR also tweaked the eligibility requirements for the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field.

The top 10 in points after the 26th race of the season will make the Chase field, while the final two spots will be "wild cards" designated for the highest race winners not already eligible. The wild cards will go to those ranked inside the top 20.

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