The winner of each NASCAR race receives 180 points. The runner-up in each event scores 170. From there, the point total declines in five-point increments for places two through six, points awarded drop four points per driver for positions seven through 11 and three-point increments separate drivers' points for finishers in 12th place or lower.
The 43rd, or last-place driver, gets 34 points.
There are also bonus points up for grabs at each event. Drivers receive five points for leading a lap and an additional five points for leading the most laps.
In Nextel Cup racing, following the 26th race of the season, all drivers in the NASCAR Top 10 and any others within 400 points of the leader will earn a berth in the "Chase for the Championship."
All drivers in the "chase" will have their point totals adjusted. The first-place driver in the standings will begin the chase with 5,050 points; the second-place driver will start with 5,045, etc. Incremental five-point drops will continue through the list of title contenders.
Owners are rewarded in the points race in much the same fashion but, unlike drivers, they earn points for merely attempting to make a race. If an owner shows up with a pair of drivers, and one fails to qualify, the owner still receives points for the non-qualifying effort.
The fastest non-qualifier on race day earns 31 points for his owner, three down from the 43rd-place points. The scale continues downward from there for all non-qualifiers, with the lowest possible point(s) awarded being one.
Manufacturers have a points race of their own. The car maker who has a driver take first place in a race earns nine points for that race. Second-best performance by a manufacturer gets six points, third place earns four points and fourth place, three points.
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