NASCAR Reportedly Planning to Expand Chase Field to 16

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2014

CONCORD, NC - OCTOBER 12:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Jimmy John's Chevrolet, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Dover White Chevrolet, race ahead of Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quaker State Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 12, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Get ready for some serious rule changes from NASCAR going forward.

For one, there will be much more emphasis on winning individual races. Per Jim Utter of the Charlotte Observer and an ESPN release, NASCAR is planning a complete overhaul of the points system that would make it nearly a lock for drivers to reach the Chase for the Championship if they tallied a win in one of the season’s first 26 races.

Ricky Bobby, who famously said “if you ain’t first, you’re last” in Talladega Nights, would be proud.

Nov 17, 2013; Homestead, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson poses for a photo with six Sprint Cup championship trophies after the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

With these changes, the Chase field would go up to 16 drivers from the current 12. In the case that there are more than 16 drivers who win during the regular season, the 16 with the most wins and highest points totals would make the Chase.

If there are fewer than 16 winners, those with the most points would make up the field.

The new-look Chase would be 10 races and feature driver eliminations after the third, sixth and ninth races. This would create a final four-type atmosphere at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the final race.

In terms of an excitement level, it is easy to see why NASCAR would make these alterations. It puts a little more weight on some of the early-season races and also has the potential to create must-see television events in the final races of the Chase.