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AMS president supports points changes

By Anthony Rhoads

Earlier this week, NASCAR changed the way the champion in the Nextel Cup Series will be determined.

The new system will take the top-10 drivers in points with 10 races to go and they will compete for the title. In addition to the top 10, any driver who is within 400 points of the leader will also be included in the ?Chase for the Championship.'

NASCAR has also modified the way points are tallied and the new system awards race winners. Under the old system, race winners got 175 points. In the new system, winners will get 180 points. The changes should make for a more exciting brand of racing, particularly late in the season, Atlanta Motor Speedway president and general manager Ed Clark said.

"This late-season drama and excitement will attract much more interest from the casual fan," Clark said. "It will take NASCAR to a new level. Every lap of each of the final 10 races, including the Bass Pro Shops 500 here in Atlanta, will be critical. The drama and intensity in the garage and on the track will be higher than we've ever seen before in the final races. Wins are critical and hard-nosed racing for the championship is back."

Up-and-coming race-car driver Chris Dilbeck has given the system a thumbs up. Dilbeck, a Henry County High School senior, races in the Legends Pro Division at several tracks including Atlanta Motor Speedway.

"I like it," Dilbeck said. "Some drivers have said they don't like it but I like it. I think it puts more action in it for the fans. I think it will be good this year."

Matt Kenseth, the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup champion, is less than thrilled about the change. Kenseth won just one race in 2003 but was the most consistent driver on the circuit; he led in the points standings for 33 weeks during the season.