In the past two seasons, the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has evolved from a paradigm of consistency to an all-out quest for race wins, with four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon claiming that the increased emphasis on victories is responsible for the new approach to the Chase.
“I think the formula has changed since they changed how many points there are for first versus second,” Gordon said, “I think that it put a premium on winning races, because you can't just have the best average finish - you have to have those extra points that come along with a win.
“I do certainly think it puts a premium on winning, and I think those twelve guys that are going for the championship are the twelve best teams and cars out there, pretty much. They seem to be the ones that dominate those final ten races, more often than not. Somebody that is going to battle for the championship and win the championship is going to win races.
“You can pretty much feel like you have to win races as well, but I'll take a fourth-place average over the ten races without a win - I'll take that.”
Gordon smiled when he made the last comment, knowing full well that a fourth-place average would have been good enough to win any of the five Chases thus far.