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Jimmie Johnson: ‘a lot of faith’ in creation of new point system that could make people ‘desperate’

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400

If Jimmie Johnson wins an eighth playoff championship in 2017 or beyond, it will be not be called ‘the Chase.’

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CHARLOTTE- Jimmie Johnson has “a lot of faith” in the creation of NASCAR’s new point system and believes it could make people “desperate.”

Johnson, a seven-time champion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, was the last champion under the old format, which became obsolete Monday around 6 p.m. ET.

“The big takeaway I have, when you put all the smart people in the room and what it could look like … I think that’s a smart move,” Johnson said Tuesday at the NASCAR Media Tour. “Knowing our environment, knowing how to take the best from each of those folks in the room, the major stakeholders … I have a lot of faith in that. I’m excited everyone took the time to put their heads together. It’s all about winning, finishing the best you can. Doesn’t matter what it is. There’s incentive to go out and perform. It’s tough to change much of what I do.”

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The format introduces three segments to all races with points awarded at the end of each. Said Johnson, “It might take people from the 100 percent mark to being more desperate.”

Johnson, who doesn’t see himself as a strong qualifier - despite 35 career poles and an average start of 12.1 - thinks that could work against his team in the new format. Points will be awarded to the top 10 finishers in each of the first two segments, with 10 the first driver and one to the driver in the 10th.

“Qualifying has been tough for us,” Johnson said. “We might leave points on the table that first segment because our qualifying isn’t where we want it to be. It’s not one of my natural strengths. It’s going to force people to be more aggressive and more competitive. In some situations, not all, but in some situations.”

NASCAR has altered the points system multiple times since Johnson won his first title in 2006, including after Johnson won his fifth championship in a row in 2010 and its introduction of the playoff system in 2014 after his sixth title.

“I’m not bigger than NASCAR, there’s no way they’re making changes because of the 48,” Johnson said. “This sports a lot bigger than one person.”

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