Since the Chase for the Championship was introduced in 2004, NASCAR has made changes only once. In 2007 the format was tweaked to reward regular season wins and allow two more drivers into the playoff.
Three years later, here we go again.
Chairman of NASCAR Brian France further fueled an already hot rumor mill that the 2011 Chase format will be tweaked yet again.
What changes are in store for NASCAR fans?
There are several rumors floating around out there, but here are the changes that NASCAR needs to stay away from.
This idea would force the chase field to be cut down during the chase. An example would be that after the third race, the top eight stay in. Then after the fifth race, the top five stay in. Then after the eighth race, the top three stay in and fight for the championship to the end.
This idea is horrible.
The whole point of the chase was to get more drivers in the championship hunt at the end of the season. This idea would basically undermine the point of the chase being created.
2. Driver Vs Driver Brackets
This idea would attempt to make drivers face off against each other in the ten chase races in a bracket format. If a driver finished higher than the driver he was paired with, he moves on.
This idea is even worse.
In this scenario, you could have a driver finish second, and be eliminated, while another driver could finish as low as 42nd and move on, not too mention the possibility of teammates simply wrecking drivers to help out the team.
NASCAR is not basketball. If all 64 NCAA tournament teams played on the same court at the same time, then perhaps we could talk.
3. Allow More Drivers In
The concept is that with more drivers in the chase, more fans and more sponsors have their cars in the mix.
You cannot keep expanding the field. Do we really want a team who is 15th in points after 26 races to have a chance to be the champion?
While there may be some tweaks that would make the chase better, it should be remembered that there has not been a chase for the championship with a closer finish than in 2004.
It was ten drivers, ten races, and finding the guy with the heaviest right foot. No crazy rules, no bonus points, just racing.
When will NASCAR realize that is all we want?