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The latest update as of September 14, 2010
"An exercise in insanity?"
While writing the Shawn Cowie story about his very successful weekend at Tri-State Raceway last weekend, it occurred to me that with the season winding down, it was time to take a look at the national standings for the Lucas Oil Championships, starting with Top Alcohol Dragster. I knew that Cowie had been well into the top ten all season, and at times had been very close to the points lead but it had been a while since I'd checked the numbers with anything more than a passing glance.
Two hours later..... the table you see down below was taking shape and my mind was numb with numbers, numbers and even more numbers. Now don't scroll down the page and start looking at the table until you've read a little more about the hows and whys of its construction. Let's start with how the national championship points are earned for Top Alcohol competitors. Side note: now that I've gone through the dragsters, I'll get started tomorrow on the funny cars and see how they stack up... behind Frank Manzo, of course, as I'm ceding him the crown for the umpteenth time in a row, despite the recent passing of his father.
Points are earned the same way for funny cars and dragsters where racers are eligible to earn points at eight national and eight divisional events during the season. Once they've reached the magic number of eight, no further points can be earned at that type of event, but they may compete if they wish for prize money and glory. And to "block" other racers from earning points. Remember that caveat as it will certainly come into play in some of the final events as we near the finish line of the 2010 season.
After a racer has competed at eight national and eight divisional events, the best five points-earning events of each type are counted for their total championship points. Seems simple enough, doesn't it? It is, until you start working out how many points can be gained at remaining events, while subtracting events with lower points earned, and before you know it, even I'm confused.
The one big flaw in the table as it's structured is that it's very difficult to tell which racers will actually compete at which events. I've gathered the info I have from national event pre-entry lists, which are notoriously inaccurate and we won't really know which races any particular racer or racers are attending until the results start coming in from the first day of qualifying. Or I could get busy and try to phone everyone and get as much information as I could. I'll leave that task to Dean Murdoch though, the man with the unlimited intergalactic lonnnnnnggggggg-distance plan.
I'll keep this table somewhere on the What's New page until the end of the season, updating it on a weekly basis and writing a running commentary on what's happening in the points battle as it progresses down to the championship. Should be quite an interesting little diversion to keep us entertained as the racers battle it out for those "valuable Winston points".... oops, that's a real blast from the past, isn't it folks?
Before I move on to other things, I'll explain some of the columns in the table. Starting from the right side, the position, name and type of car are pretty much self-explanatory. The next two columns indicate the number of national and divisional events the racer has attended so far, and his current point total. Then the next five columns indicate which events the racer has pre-entered. It's obivous that Shaw Cowie, Chris Demke, and probably Mike Austin will be attending at least a few more races this season, but to this date, no pre-entries are listed for them on the NHRA website.
The last four columns indicate how many more national and divisional events the racer could gain points at, the possible points to be gained, and the possible final total for the season. Note that one racer has already gained maximum points at divisional events, ie, five wins, as Jim Whiteley has, hence he can't earn any more points at divisional races. Sidenote: despite his great success this year at Lucas Series races, he's failed to get past the second round at a national event all season.
Note that this table will be updated following the conclusion of each event on the championship calendar. We've got all the results from both races (for the top ten racers) so this list is up to date as of the conclusion of racing on Sunday, September 19th. Click here to go back to the top of the page.
To see previous updates go to the What's Old page