Why does Jeff Gordon (right), with 10 victories and 4,321 points so far this season, lead second-place Mark Martin, who has four wins, by just 110 points in the Winston Cup standings? Blame NASCAR's intricate scoring system, which rewards steadiness more than excellence. The winner of a Winston Cup race receives 175 points, while the runner-up gets 170; drivers earn 31 points just for starting their engines. If the Formula One point system—which awards 10 points for a win, six for second and nothing for finishing below sixth—were applied to the Winston Cup series as shown here, Gordon's dominance of the 1997 season would be reflected in the standings. Also, six-time winner Dale Jarrett would leap ahead of Martin.
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