Report: NASCAR Considering Chase Changes
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on January 17, 2014 | 10:54 P.M. EST
NASCAR Chairman Brian France has said he wants to incentive winning more and proposed changes reported by The Charlotte Observer follow that edict. (Photo: Getty Images)
NASCAR is considering dramatic changes to the Chase that would include more drivers, eliminations and a winner-take-all finale, according to a report Friday night in The Charlotte Observer.
The newspaper cited sources that had been briefed on the matter.
The proposed changes would come after NASCAR Chairman Brian France has said that he wanted to incentive winning. He reiterated that claim earlier this month on “NASCAR Live” on Motor Racing Network.
“We are not satisfied that we have the exact balance we want with winning, consistency, points, running for a championship,’’ France said on the show. “We think we can make some tweaks to continue to incentivize risk-taking and racing hard. We’re looking at that. We’ll undoubtedly be coming with things that put the incentive on winning races and competing at the highest level.’’
The Charlotte Observer reported that NASCAR is considering three major changes to the Chase:
- Expanding the Chase from 12 to 16 drivers.
- A victory in the first 26 races would virtually assure a driver a spot in the Chase.
- Eliminations in the Chase. The Chase field would be cut after the third, sixth and ninth races.
The report stated that NASCAR could still make changes to this proposed system.
NASCAR issued a statement from Brett Jewkes, chief communications officer, Friday night:
“NASCAR has begun the process of briefing key industry stakeholders on potential concepts to evolve its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship format. This dialogue is the final phase of a multi-year process that has included the review of extensive fan research, partner and industry feedback and other data-driven insights. NASCAR has no plans to comment further until the stakeholder discussions are complete. We hope to announce any potential changes for the 2014 season to our media and fans very soon.’’
The Charlotte Observer reported that the 16 Chase spots would be filled first by teams running the full season. If there are not 16 race winners by the cutoff, those highest in the points would be added.
The way the proposed eliminations would work is that the lowest four teams would be dropped from title contention after the third, sixth and ninth races, leaving four teams for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Those teams would have their points reset.
NASCAR has used the Chase to determine its champion since 2004. Previously, the points system rewarded consistency and winning.