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Which rule change will have the biggest impact?

February 14, 2011, , NASCAR.com

It's been quite an offseason for NASCAR following Jimmie Johnson's fifth consecutive championship. Not only is there a new point system across all three national series, but also added were wild cards in the Chase and drivers have to pick just one series to run for the championship.

Which rule change for 2011 will have the most positive impact?

CHASE WILD CARD ONE CHAMPIONSHIP

It'd be easy to pick the change in the point system here. After all, it's the thing garnering the lion's share of the attention. However, if you're looking for immediate positive impact, the addition of the wild card into the Chase is the obvious choice.

The biggest criticism of NASCAR's former system was that it didn't reward winning enough. Consistency was what drove the bus. The new point system doesn't solve that problem. If you examine it, it is largely the same system with smaller numbers.

However, the wild card addition is a game changer.

Consider the following: It's late August. There are five drivers each with one win and no driver outside the top 10 has two. Of those five drivers, two get spots in the Chase just a couple of weeks later.

You think those guys are going to be points racing down the stretch of the regular season? Can you imagine what it could be like at Richmond that second week of September if the same scenario were true?

Now imagine if one of those drivers gets a little bit too aggressive during the final laps at Richmond, or even Atlanta the previous week. Imagine he plows into the guy who is clinging to that 10th spot in the standings without a win.

Now imagine if your driver was the guy who leap-frogged both of the guys in the wreck and got into the Chase.

It all sounds pretty exciting, don't you think?

Mark Spoor, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

NASCAR made many changes for the 2011 season, but without question the top one was forcing drivers to pick one championship for which to run. Finally, the debacle of running for more than one championship is over.

For all the guys who are contenders year-in and year-out in the Cup Series, why on earth would they want a Nationwide championship? It's a secondary trophy and they know it. Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch -- they want the Cup trophy, they want what Jimmie Johnson has. Sure, it'd be nice to call yourself a champion, but winning the Truck or Nationwide title while in your prime in the Cup Series is a joke.

But that's all in the past.

The Nationwide Series has been tainted by Cup drivers coming over and taking all the championships the past decade, and hopefully this new rule will deter them from continuing the practice.

Last year, just two races were won by non-Cup regulars -- Justin Allgaier and Boris Said -- and the highest-finishing Nationwide-only driver in the standings was Allgaier in fourth. In fact, just four of the top 10 in points weren't involved full time in Cup.

The past five Nationwide championships have been won by Cup regulars, and all by a rather large point margin, taking away any potential title drama at the end of the season.

Sure, more eyes are on the Nationwide race when Cup regulars are involved, but there are more cons than pros in regards to them participating. With this rule, NASCAR has brought the foundation back to the Nationwide and Truck series -- developing drivers.

Bill Kimm, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

The changes were made with an eye on competition and the fans, to make the sport better than ever. But which rule will have the biggest impact? Bill Kimm and Mark Spoor weigh in with their thoughts, read theirs and then weigh in with yours in the comments below. And don't forget to vote in the poll at the right.

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