NASCAR chief executive officer Brian France Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

CHASE Format 2014…Changing Gears


When I saw Brian France on ESPN yesterday breaking news on changes to the 2014 season, I was excited when he started addressing not enough emphasis on winning. He said he wants to reward those who win races and then he went into talking about re-structuring The Chase format. I was confused.  My friend who I was having lunch with said I had the deer in the headlights look after Brian France announced the changes.

I think I can speak for most fans thinking Brian France was going to reward winners by giving more points to the driver who wins more races but no! This is Brian France who changed NASCAR by restructuring how the series crowns its new champion in 2004 with The Chase format, a format I been leery of since the inception.

My first thought was that points racing will be gone but I started thinking of the number of wins by different drivers over the years and it averages out to around 10 a year.

So if you have ten different winners over the twenty six race regular season the remaining six qualifying spot for The Chase will be determine by the driver having the most points.

It’s possible to have 16 different winners during the regular season but it’s like pulling a Royal straight flush in poker, very rare and all the stars and sheep have to be aligned perfectly for that to happen.

I would have kept the same format with the exception of the winner of a race getting fifteen extra points for winning a race, this would make a big difference in drivers starting at the tail end of The Chase capable of making up some serious ground in The Chase because The Chase lately with the latest points system doesn’t allow drivers to catch up witness Tony Stewart who won half The Chase races in 2012 and finished in a tie with Carl Edwards. If Carl Edwards would have won one race to Stewarts four wins wouldn’t seem fair because racing has always been about winning and rewarding wins. It’s the whole purpose of having a race.

The possibility of another Spin Gate happening is still a reality as this topic was not addressed and it’s why I’m leery of The Chase format when it was first introduced back in 2004. Many of us wondered of the integrity of the sport after Richmond last year and to me with the multi-teams in the sport with big sponsors to keep makes the possibility of tampering with the finishes a reality.

I don’t like that the fans in Chicago and especially Homestead areas won’t see their favorite drivers compete due the changes in this year’s Chase. Chicago and Homestead only have one date a year so Chicagoans will only see 16 drivers to open The Chase and Homestead gets four. I don’t see the fans supporting the limited drivers competing in this new Chase format where putting seats in the stands should be the priority.

Tags: Brian France NASCAR NASCAR Sprint Cup Series The Chase