Never has there been so much chatter prior to any NASCAR season that this one. The new format to determine the NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion has made lots of People mad, happy and or excited. Here are the details of how it will work:
The “Chase” will consist of 10 races as it always has but it will include 16 drivers instead of 12.
Any driver that wins a race, yes, just one race is automatically in the Chase.
If there are not 16 different race winners the rest of the slots are filled according to points.
4 drivers with the least points are kicked out of the chase after race number 3,6 and 9, leaving 4 drivers eligible for the Championship in the last race. The race points are all at zero for those four drivers.
The old, old way of determining the Champion was by using a point system that started with the first race and ended with the last race, Then Matt Kenesth won by over 300 points, enough to know He would win with two full races to go which angered fans enough that NASCAR invented the “Chase”. The Chase has always been a resetting of points for the last 10 races, at first it was 10 drivers then it was 12 and one year it was even 13. Each of the “Chase” years provided more excitement than did the year long points system, two of the “chase” years left Us without knowing the Champion until the last lap of the last race when Kurt Busch beat Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart beat Carl Edwards. In fact the Tony Stewart win was a tie that went to Stewart because of His tiebreaker points.
This new system will bring out a new audience, maybe not the first year as much as over the next three or four (if the system stays in place). NASCAR wants to put the emphasis on winning not just protecting your points. Getting a win in this system will surely do that. What You will see is a 20th place car taking big chances on running out of gas to win the race or a late restart resulting in a huge wreck that spectators come to see.
Spectators and at home viewers love wrecks and fights, this new system will bring both. Imagine the 6 time champion Jimmie Johnson having to hold off a driver that might be on old tires to gain track position at the end of a race because that car has no wins. The car with old tires can lean on the better car of Jimmie Johnson’s, maybe pushing Jimmie into the wall, wait a minute, another car is coming to pass them both! The fight for the win will be incredible.
Who will it benefit? Jimmie Johnson might now win 15 championships with this format because You know He will make it to the final last four to race in the last race. How about the last race coming down to Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards? Would that be the most watched NASCAR race in history? I think so!