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Take care with your changes NASCAR

Be careful, NASCAR.
Brian France, the sanctioning body's chairman and CEO, said Friday at Daytona that NASCAR was contemplating changes to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format that could be “significant.”

If that's the case, NASCAR would be well advised to tread lightly in overhauling its 10-race playoff system.

“What we're talking about is enhancing it in a way that will bring out more of the winning moments, the big moments that happen in sports,” France said. “And if there's a way we can do that—and there are a couple of ways—we're going to give that a lot of weight.”

NASCAR already has floated ideas in conversations with drivers and team owners. Those ideas include expanding the number of drivers who qualify for the Chase; eliminating a portion of the Chase field as the playoffs progress; and instituting a point structure that all but guarantees the identity of the Sprint Cup champion will remain in doubt until the final lap of the season finale.

Why does France believe the Chase may need significant tweaking? First and foremost, TV viewership among 18- to 34-year-old males has eroded by a factor of 29 percent this year, according to Fox Sports CEO David Hill, citing ratings data from the first 12 races of the Cup season.

To change the Chase in hopes of regaining the interest of the short-attention-span generation, however, may be misguided.

The Chase was born, you'll remember in the aftermath of Matt Kenseth's less-than-scintillating 2003 championship, when the driver of the No. 17 Ford out-steadied the rest of the field, won one race and wrapped up the title at Rockingham, a week before the final race at Homestead.

Since then, the Chase already has undergone significant changes. It started in 2004 with 10 drivers, plus any drivers within 400 points of the lead after 26 races (a rule that never came into play).

After Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon—two of the sports highest-magnitude stars—failed to qualify for the 2005 Chase, and two-time champ Tony Stewart and rising star Carl Edwards failed to make the cut in 2006, the field was expanded to 12 drivers beginning in 2007.

From 2004 to 2006, the so-called regular-season winner started the Chase with a five-point advantage of second place, a 10-point advantage over third, and so forth. Starting in 2007, NASCAR has seeded the Chase according to the number of victories in the first 26 races, with each win worth 10 points added to the 5,000-point base each Chase qualifier receives.

The first Chase produced the sort of big impact moment France hopes to duplicate. Despite losing a wheel as he approached pit road at Homestead, Kurt Busch held off Jimmie Johnson and Gordon to win the first championship under the new format. The issue was in doubt until the final lap, when Greg Biffle held off Johnson to secure the title for Busch by a mere eight points.



Tagged as: Sprint Cup , chase

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Cup Drivers at Martinsville
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Following in second place is Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, affixes the winner’s decal to his car in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, lead the field prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Bobby Gerhart, driver of the #85 Lucas Oil Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

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JK99 - Unregistered

July 07, 2010 12:00 AM

I lost interest in Nascar around the time the chase came into being. I think it's a bad idea and they should go back to the old points system. As fas as dimishing the value of championships, well it does and it doesn't. It's still an accomplishment, but Johnson wouldn't have 4 titles under the old rules....so....



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