Do you know who was leading the points when Richmond ended? Before they re-set the points for the Chase contenders?

Fact is: it doesn't matter; because there is no recognition for "winning" the first 26 races. And, that's wrong. There needs to be some kind of reward for the driver leading the points after 26 races; other than, just, a spot in the Chase.

In other team sports, the teams that win their division or conference hoist a banner acknowledging their accomplishment. In this day and age of tight sponsorship dollars, wouldn't it be nice if a team could have a banner hanging in the shop (or a nice trophy in the case) to show that a sponsor's dollars are being well-spent and their name is getting significant recognition?

Jimmie Johnson's struggles in the last month leading up to the Chase would have gotten a lot more attention had the regular season title meant anything. Would Clint Bowyer have spun if he knew the regular season title meant something monetarily or recognition-wise? He was the points leader at times that night.

Our friend, Ralph Sheheen, says call it the Dale Earnhardt Cup. I like that. Hand it out at the banquet. As it stands now, the regular season champ isn't even guaranteed a trip to Las Vegas.

Give them a check too; or some type of "edge" in the Chase like a preferred qualifying spot or first pit selection. Just do something to recognize that the driver and his team for being extraordinary for the first 26 weeks.

The answer, by the way, is Carl Edwards. His time on top may have lasted five minutes.