A Perfect 10
August 31, 2007 | 9:54 A.M. EST
NASCAR is learning that the hard way this season.
The decision to increase the number of drivers eligible for the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" from ten to twelve was a bad idea from the beginning.
Now it's proving it once again.
With the top twelve drivers pretty much locked in for this year's "Chase," barring some unbelievable meltdown by Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick or Martin Truex, Jr. in California and Richmond coupled with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or Ryan Newman running the table with a pair of wins, the drama NASCAR hoped for when creating the concept is non-existent.
Rather than the mad scramble to get into the playoffs next Saturday night in Richmond, which has become the norm since the "Chase" was introduced, we'll simply be setting the seedings for the playoffs.
That might provide some interesting racing between the likes of Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards, all who won't give a hill of beans about points and want to just go out to win.
But the storyline of who is going to make the "Chase" and who won't will be missing.
Had NASCAR just left well enough alone, things would have been much different.
With only ten drivers making the playoffs, the battle between Clint Bowyer, Harvick, Truex, Jr. and Kurt Busch would be fierce.
Coming into California this weekend, positions eight through twelve are separated by a mere 65 points.
But by watering down the field and adding two extra spots to the "Chase" NASCAR shot itself in the foot and eliminated any drama over the next two races.
NASCAR hoped by upping the number of entries into the championship season, it would help ensure the sport's superstars would make the playoffs.
But even that thought process didn't work with Earnhardt, Jr. all but guaranteed of missing the "Chase" for the second time in three years.
Ten drivers making the playoffs was the right number. There was no need to tinker with a format that was only three years old.
Now NASCAR will pay the price.