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Thought for the Day: NASCAR should reward regular-season champ with bye

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400

RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 12: (Back row L-R) Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 ARRIS Toyota, Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Libman/Menards Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, (front row L-R) Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Cessna Chevrolet, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Crispy/American Heritage Chocolate Toyota, Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, pose for a photo after making the Chase for the Sprint Cup after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 12, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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In a nod to the importance of consistency during the 26 races before the Chase begins, Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch says that the points leader after the “regular season” deserves an added prize.

Some have said that the points leader after the September Richmond race should receive a bonus in money for the driver and the team. Others have said they should receive extra bonus points for the Chase.

Busch’s idea is different.

“I think it would be pretty neat if they got a first-round bye,’’ he said earlier this month in Las Vegas.

That would leave 15 drivers fighting for 11 spots in the second round with the points leader receiving a bye.

I like the idea, and it’s something NASCAR should do.

As the season gets closer to Richmond, less attention is paid to those at the top of the standings or near it. Instead, the focus is on those trying to secure a Chase spot.

Leading the points almost seems irrelevant - unless the points leader has yet to score a win, then they make the Chase regardless. It’s a good exception to have, but one that is unlikely to happen too often.

That’s why Busch’s idea is a good one. It provides an added value on scoring the most points, on winning the points race after 26 races.

Hasn’t NASCAR Chairman Brian France repeatedly talked about the importance of winning? Here’s another way to prove it.

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