Posted January 19, 2014

Report: NASCAR considering changes to Sprint Cup Chase

More Sports, NASCAR
Jimmie Johnson (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Jimmie Johnson has won six Sprint Cup titles, including last season. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

NASCAR is considering restructuring its points system in the Chase for the Cup playoff series, sources told The Charlotte Observer. It would also expand the field from 12 to 16 drivers.

The new system would emphasize winning races, as a victory in the season’s first 26 races would “virtually ensure a driver entry into the championship Chase,” according to the report. Should there be more than 16 winners in the 26 races, the 16 drivers with the most wins and highest point totals would get berths.

ANDERSON: After six titles, is Jimmie Johnson the greatest driver ever?

The field would be whittled down after the third, sixth and ninth Chase races bracket-style, setting up a winner-take-all finale at Homestead.

The proposal could still be tweaked before the expected announcement later this month.

NASCAR Chairman Brian France said he was “not satisfied” with the current points structure, The Observer reported, citing an interview with Motor Racing Network earlier this month.

Said France: “We think we can make some tweaks that continue to incentivize risk-taking, racing harder and so on.”

Jimmie Johnson clinched his sixth Sprint Cup title in November after finishing ninth at Homestead.


20 comments
Terry
Terry

I'm reading this to mean NASCAR wants more spectacular crashes, and for Junior to somehow become champion.


jvdbogart
jvdbogart

My opinion on what killed NASCAR is really simple. Watching NASCAR through the late 70s, 80s, and 90s, there wasn't that much importance or emphasis placed on being the champion. It was almost like a nice bonus, or an afterthought rewarding the most consistent driver that year.


In the good old days, the main focus was to WIN whatever race you were in that week at all costs. That was the most important goal for a driver, and they would fight like hell each week trying to win.


The chase system shifts the emphasis to the chase, and the championship and away from the race itself. The driver's shift their focus accordingly, and becoming the "champion" for that week's race is no longer their goal.


The driver's strategies are totally different now. The are more conservative, take less chances, drive less aggressively, and race carefully to avoid crashing. This is evident by 490 miles of parade laps in a 500 mile race. 


Almost like the driver's have conspired among themselves and said:


"Hey, let's all agree to not do anything stupid out there so we all have a good chance to make the chase ok?"


"We don't need anyone out there trying to be some hero and try to win this worthless race, so let's remember the big picture ok?"


"It's all about deciding which one of us is the best driver at the last ten races anyways, so just chill ok?"


"Alright, let's review: Number One: Remember to always keep good spacing between each car. Number Two: Only pass if it's absolutely necessary. Number Three: Never, ever intentionally bump another car. Lastly, let whoever is leading near the end just win the stupid thing, who cares right? It's ALL about the chase and DON'T forget it!!"

cardogpush
cardogpush

sounds like nascar has stick and ball envy ... big time.

I predicted nascar was doomed to follow indy cars path 7 or 8 years ago ... when idiotic stuff like ride buying  START AND PARK... the chase ... lucky dog ... green white checker ........ that hype gimmick stuff started replacing the 50 year heritage of the sport ... The doofuses running nascar were chasing trends and enjoying all the band wagon fans instead of realizing they were following a trend and would soon move along to the next big thing.

   That fact as well as the fact their 6 time champ has been caught cheating  w/ basic impunity  the credibility of the sport has been compromised and will not be gotten back any time soon with sports fans....

  Roger Goodell had best take heed he is tap dancing thru that exact mindfield.

ShifterKart
ShifterKart

How about remove the cars that are more than 5 laps down. I have seen them ruin races for drivers in contention. It is ridiculous for a car that is 39 laps down to still be out there. 

BillyChilton
BillyChilton

How about changing the final 10 tracks around each year, and because the final 10 tracks with the same scheduling is boring so why not change it up to try and spark some excitement with something a little different.


clu
clu

One win and a lot of 20+ finishes, versus a driver that finishes top 5 every race but never wins?  I'll take the latter any day.


If people are falling for this and tuning in to races more during the chase, fine, but check the stats - no one that misses the chase has put up finishes that would have given them the title in the old system, and no one who makes the chase has tanked at the end so badly that they'd have finished much below chase qualification using the final standings in the old system.  It makes no difference to the championship, it's all gimmick.

Pat11
Pat11

Not sure if the new chase proposals would change anything much except the last race, usually there are 3 drivers out of contention by the 3rd race anyway, and so on as the final race approaces. I say if they really want a ratings slam, then move the last race to Bristol with just the top 10 drivers. Miami is one of the lamest tracks on the circuit along with all the 1.5 intermediate tracks. Take the muzzels off the drivers and let them speak their minds without worrying about fines. Uphold a fine against Jimmy just once. Let drivers and owners have more of the track and TV purse so they dont have to find their own funding just to be able to afford to run all races. Set up a democracy run by owners and drivers and less of France run dictatorship.

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Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Why am I not surprised to read these comments? NASCAR has 'chased' all their best fans away. A Joke with a capital 'J'. 

kkingbrian
kkingbrian

"We're not making enough money, so we're going to damage the sport even more until everyone leaves.  That should fix the problem."  - Brian France, every year for the past 10

UDave07
UDave07

Who cares?  Nascar is gradually losing popularity, in large part, to all of the meddling by France and those who run it.  They tweak the Chase format constantly--it is a joke!  Tired of the artificial "excitement" being generated.  Tired of losing tracks like N. Wilkesboro, Rockingham, Labor Day at Darlington, etc.  WHO CARES ANYMORE?!?!?  Nascar is a dying sport, and they have only themselves to blame.....

beast
beast

The need to go back to the old system. The sport was popular then they wanted more and they changed it. And they killed the sense of tradition that went with it that was an important reason for some to watch and get their kids watching. 

It stopped being 'Your Grandfathers' Nascar and became no ones Nascar. 

KenKing
KenKing

If NASCAR wants to incentivize winning, how about doing something revolutionary, and making the champion the person with the most wins? It seemed to work well enough for Petty, Yarborough, Junior Johnson et. al.

Cool
Cool

Hmm, how can we be assured that Jimmy Johnson will break Richard Petty's record and gain more viewership by promoting it?   Folks, no matter what the final decision is, be assured it will be made so that their Championship Race has JJ  and his cheating crew chief as the winners.  I said it this year and it will be the same next... Nascar will turn a blind eye to any modifications made by Chad Knaus and nit pick with anyone who comes close to challenging him.

Dutch2000
Dutch2000

Never should have gone to the 'Chase' in the first place...why don't they 'incentivize' driving well all year long and go back to the old format?

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

NASCAR has to bury 'The Chase', beg fans for forgiveness and NEVER DO IT AGAIN. The sport has become a laughingstock because of 'The Chase' and this will only make it worse. Tell me NASCAR, how are the ratings now that you've compromised the sport beyond redemption?  

2001mark
2001mark

Still need to have a road course to the chase, even if that means adding without subtracting another.  All track disciplines should be in play during the 'playoffs'.




ShifterKart
ShifterKart

@clu 

That is how Kenseth won the title. One win and a bunch of good finishes. As a result, the chase was created. People asked why the Title winner won with only one win. Others had more wins but were not as consistent.

NASCAR does not seem to know what it wants. 


Pat11
Pat11

@UDave07 Amen to the losing the better tracks of old. These cookie cutter 1.5 mile intermediate tracks are usually decided in the first 50 miles so just stop the races at that point. 

Loch
Loch

@Cool 


You mean the same Richard Petty that was a notorious and proven cheater. The Richard Petty that racked up wins when  10 laps around a dirt track in some small town was considered a Winston Cup victory. 

JustinWalker
JustinWalker

I hate the points Jimmy sucks he only good at the last ten races so gay how is he a champ well he's not Jeff and dale