Changing the NASCAR Chase Format: The Single Best Idea Ever Submitted

David YeazellSenior Analyst IOctober 9, 2009

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 16:  Jimmie Johnson (R), driver of the #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, holds up the trophy after winning the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship after the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2008 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

This article is pretty simple.

After much thought, changing a few light bulbs, some cookies and milk, and my weekly electro-shock therapy, I have come up with the single best idea of changing the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup format.

At this point I have not conferred with NASCAR about this idea, but I do know they read Bleacher Report (so does Goodyear) and are now more in tune with the fans than ever before.

There are four months until Daytona—plenty of time to digest this and make the change.

The first 26 races should not change, and the 10 Chase races should not change.

What should change, first and foremost, are the points. Actually, there should be no points awarded, except for a win, and that should only be one.

The Chase and championship has two flaws. There can only be one winner for each race, and non-winners are rewarded.

If there were just a reward for winning, nothing else, things would be different.

The Chase field should be set at 15 drivers. This allows room for all the winners and several wild cards.

The Chase would still be in effect, but making it would be based first on wins, and the balance of the field would be based on drivers with the highest finishing average for the first 26 races.

Yes, we would have Chase entrants who won based on rain shortened events (Matt Kenseth and David Reutimann), fuel strategies, late cautions, or other anomalies, but luck is part of the sport.

Once all the winners were entered, then remaining spots would be filled by non-winners who had the highest finishing average. They basically would be wild card entries.

This type format in the first 26 races rewards wins, and it still rewards consistency.

When the Chase starts, and since there is no home field advantage, seeding would be simple. Everyone starts at zero.

Chase format would be the same. One point awarded for each win.

If the emphasis is put on wins and wins only, especially in the final 10 races, then it could be anybody's game till the end.

Take this year for instance. JJ has a win, Tony Stewart has a win, and Mark Martin has a win in the Chase. So, with my format, you have three drivers tied for the championship with seven races to go, and nine other drivers who still have a shot.

Of course, the spoilers are those drivers not in the Chase. They have incentive to take away the wins from the Chase drivers. Teammates would be helpful here.

If there is a tie going into the final race, well, then it’s who wins that race. If there is still a tie after the final race, then the tiebreaker is the driver with the best finishing average in the final 10 races.

So, let’s review: 26 races allows for 26 chances for a driver to make the Chase.

Finishing up front consistently, but without a win, could still possibly get you into the Chase.

When the Chase starts, you have 15 drivers with 10 chances to win. Most wins in those 10 races wins the championship.

Every championship could possibly go down to the final race in this format.  

After conferring with my Orkin man, I find there are very few bugs to be worked out in this proposed format.


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