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NASCAR Reportedly Will Radically Change Chase

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, January 18 2014

A report out of Charlotte says big changes are in store for future Sprint Cup championship contenders. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Brian Lawdermilk)


If reports out of North Carolina prove correct, the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship will undergo massive changes.

The Charlotte Observer newspaper ran a story on Friday evening that NASCAR is considering increasing the size of the year-ending playoff Chase field to 16 drivers.

That field of 16 would be whittled down by eliminations and culminate in a four-driver, winner-take-all finale. Eliminations will reportedly take place after the third, sixth and ninth playoff races.

It as also reported that a race victory in the 26-race pre-Chase schedule would practically guarantee a playoff berth.

NASCAR has declined comment on the report other than to say it has been conducting multi-year research into changes.

“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,” said NASCAR spokesman Brett Jewkes. “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.”

A rundown of the Chase’s first 10 years:

– In 2004, the Chase ended with Kurt Busch edging Jimmie Johnson by a scant eight points to win the series title.

– In 2005, Tony Stewart edged out Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards by just 35 points.

– In 2006, Johnson beat Matt Kenseth by 56 points.

– In 2007, Johnson beat Jeff Gordon by 77 points.

– In 2008, Johnson topped Edwards by 69 points, becoming only the second driver in NASCAR history and the first in 30 years to win three consecutive series titles. Cale Yarborough was the first driver to win three consecutive series titles (1975-78).

– In 2009 and 2010, Johnson again made NASCAR history by becoming the first driver to win five consecutive series titles (2006-10).

– In 2010, Johnson also became the first driver in Chase history to overcome a deficit going into the season finale to win the championship, beating out Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick.

– In 2011, Stewart claimed his third series crown by winning five of the 10 Chase races, including the season finale. His year-ending victory forced a points tie with Carl Edwards atop the standings; Stewart won the tiebreaker with five wins to Edwards’ one.

– In 2012, Brad Keselowski won claimed the title by 39 and 40 points over Clint Bowyer and Johnson, respectively. Keselowski was the first first-time champion in the series since 2005 when Johnson won his first title in only the second year of the Chase.

– In 2013, Johnson claimed his sixth title by 19 and 34 points over Kenseth and Harvick, respectively. Johnson joined Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt as the only drivers with six titles and begins 2014 in a quest to tie the NASCAR Hall of Famers with seven premier series championships.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, January 18 2014
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