Tweaking the Chase
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images
Kevin Harvick poses for a photo with his Sprint Cup trophy at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Harvick's back-to-back wins in the final two races of 2014 ensured him this year's title.

By Brian DeGruchy
November 21, 2014


Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are solely of the writer


The new Chase system NASCAR implemented for 2014 proved successful, providing fans with drama and excitement. This year’s playoffs featured tempers being flared up between drivers and awesome hard-nose racing that has not seen much giving between drivers especially those in the chase.

Jeff Gordon, who missed the Championship Round by one point, said that he likes the Chase system the way it is after the fall Phoenix race.

“I like it, I do,” Gordon said. “I'm a little concerned where it could go, just like [in Texas] we found out on pit road where the line is drawn and when you cross over that line, and I think that it could get to that on the racetrack, as well.

“…This is the most interest we've had in this sport in a long time, so obviously it's been good. I feel like the only disappointing thing or the only thing I don't like right now is the fact that I'm not in it next week.”

Gordon was formidable in the Chase with a worst finish of 29th at Texas.

This leaves the question could the Chase be even a more success with drivers having more intensity on the track, and if you have one bad race you are not done from the Chase? I believe so.

I believe that consistency and wins should make you the champion of the Sprint Cup Series. If a driver has a 36th place finish in the Chase, but has nine top-five finishes the rest of the way, and does not make it to the final round, that seems like a head scratcher to me.

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images
Kevin Harvick burns out after winning the 2014 Sprint Cup title.

On the other hand a driver could win only four races in the Chase and finish 43rd in the other six and win the championship because he won those races in each round of the chase.

What could make the Chase better is one minor tweak. That tweak would be to take away each team’s worst finish from each round and average those up to determine who advances. The only catch is you can only use this once and can’t use it at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the finale.

This would be very good to keep the competition in the Chase more solid and consistent. Right now, with the system, only the driver who won the four races would be qualified for the final round of the chase and it would leave the more consistent driver out. With this system, both would be in.

What also adds a twist is if a team elects to not use the freebie throughout the Chase, they can turn it in at the finale to get five bonus points going into the race. This would award the wins throughout the Chase and the consistency of the drivers still, but if a team has one mistake they can still make it into the final round.

They will have already used the freebie so they will have to work extra hard for the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but they are still in contention for the championship.

If we were going by the system that I have proposed, the Championship 4 would have been the same with the exception of Brad Keselowski replacing Denny Hamlin.

Will NASCAR make tweaks to the 2015 Chase format?
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