Changes to 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rules during Chase
NASCAR Announces Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup
Championship Format Change
16-Driver Chase Grid Introduced; First-To-The-Finish Finale Unveiled
Helton and France chilled like it's just any other day
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 30, 2014) – NASCAR announced a new championship format today that will put greater emphasis on winning races all season long, expands the current Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field to 16 drivers, and implements a new round-by-round advancement format that ultimately will reward a battle-tested, worthy champion.
“We have arrived at a format that makes every race matter even more, diminishes points racing, puts a premium on winning races and concludes with a best-of-the-best, first-to-the-finish line showdown race – all of which is exactly what fans want,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. “We have looked at a number of concepts for the last three years through fan research, models and simulations, and also maintained extensive dialogue with our drivers, teams and partners. The new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be thrilling, easy to understand and help drive our sport’s competition to a whole new level.”
Changes announced by France to the championship format include:
-A victory in the first 26 races all but guarantees a berth in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – a change that will put an unprecedented importance on winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race all season long
-Expanding the Chase field from 12 to 16 drivers, with those drivers advancing to what now will be known as the NASCAR Chase Grid
-The number of championship drivers in contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship will decrease after every three Chase races, from 16 to start in the Chase Grid; 12 after Chase race No. 3; eight after Chase race No. 6; and four after Chase race No. 9
-The first three races of the Chase (27-29) will be known as the Challenger Round; races 30-32 will be known as the Contender Round; races 33-35 will be the Eliminator Round and race No. 36 will be the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship
-A win by a championship-eligible driver in any Chase race automatically clinches the winning driver a spot in the next Chase round
-Four drivers will enter the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship with a chance at the title, with the highest finisher among those four capturing the prestigious NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Eligibility for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
The top 15 drivers with the most wins over the first 26 races will earn a spot in the NASCAR Chase Grid – provided they have finished in the top 30 in points and attempted to qualify for every race (except in rare instances). The 16th Chase position will go to the points leader after race No. 26, if he/she does not have a victory. In the event that there are 16 or more different winners over 26 races, the only winless driver who can earn a Chase Grid spot would be the points leader after 26 races.
If there are fewer than 16 different winners in the first 26 races, the remaining Chase Grid positions will go to those winless drivers highest in points. If there are 16 or more winners in the first 26 races, the ties will first be broken by number of wins, followed by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points.
As was implemented in 2011, prior to the start of the Chase, all Chase Grid drivers will have their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 26 races.
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Structure
After the third Chase race, the Chase Grid will be left with 12 drivers. After the sixth Chase race, the field will drop to eight drivers, and following the ninth Chase race, only four drivers will remain in championship contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title.
The first round (races 27-29) will be called the Challenger Round. If a driver in the Chase Grid wins a Challenger Round race, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions 1-12 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 3,000.
The second round (races 30-32) will be called the Contender Round. Likewise, if a driver in the top 12 in points wins a race in the Contender Round, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions 1-8 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 4,000.
The third round (races 33-35) will be called the Eliminator Round. If a driver in the top eight in points wins a race in the Eliminator Round, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions 1-4 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 5,000.
Additionally, drivers who are eliminated in the Contender and Eliminator Rounds will have their points readjusted. Each eliminated driver will return to the Chase-start base of 2,000 (plus any regular season wins bonus points), with their accumulated points starting with race No. 27 added. This will allow all drivers not in contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title to continue to race for the best possible season-long standing, with final positions fifth-through-16th still up for grabs.
Four Drivers, First-to-the-Finish Championship Finale
The 36th and final race of the season will be the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Simply stated, the highest finisher in that race among the remaining four eligible drivers will win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title.
Bonus points for laps led will not apply in the season finale, so the official finishing position alone will decide the champion.
Note: All rules outlined above also apply to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner championship structure.
For more details on the new championship format, please visit NASCARMedia.com for a Fact Sheet / FAQs or visit NASCAR.com.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) governs the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information, visit www.nascar.com and follow NASCAR at www.facebook.com/NASCAR and Twitter: @NASCAR.
Greg Biffle (No. 16 NESN 30th Anniversary Ford) · Three top fives, six top 10s · Average finish of 13.2 · Average Running Position of 11.8, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 94.6, eighth-best · 58 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most · 472 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 169.929 mph, seventh-fastest · 1,027 Laps in the Top 15 (71.3%), seventh-most · 205 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), 10th-most
Clint Bowyer (No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota) · Two top fives, two top 10s · Average finish of 13.3 · Average Running Position of 14.8, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 84.6, 11th-best · 487 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most · 727 Laps in the Top 15 (56.8%), 11th-most · 172 Quality Passes, 12th-most
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota) · Two top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 11.6 · Average Running Position of 12.8, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 96.5, fifth-best · 48 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most · 502 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.047 mph, fifth-fastest · 1,044 Laps in the Top 15 (72.5%), fifth-most · 265 Quality Passes, fourth-most
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Fastenal Ford) · One top five, three top 10s · Average finish of 13.2 · Driver Rating of 84.4, 12th-best · 44 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most · 519 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most · 721 Laps in the Top 15 (50.1%), 12th-most · 234 Quality Passes, sixth-most
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet) · Four wins, 11 top fives, 16 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 8.8 · Average Running Position of 11.5, third-best · Driver Rating of 102.0, third-best · 105 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · 497 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.505 mph, second-fastest · Series-high 1,105 Laps in the Top 15 (76.7%) · 284 Quality Passes, second-most
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota) · One top five, three top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 16.9 · Driver Rating of 88.3, 10th-best · 41 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.004 mph, sixth-fastest · 738 Laps in the Top 15 (57.7%), 10th-most · 190 Quality Passes, 11th-most
Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet) · One win, four top fives, seven top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 10.9 · Average Running Position of 14.4, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 90.2, ninth-best · 904 Laps in the Top 15 (62.8%), eighth-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) · Four wins, five top fives, six top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.6 · Series-best Average Running Position of 10.8 · Series-best Driver Rating of 109.8 · Series-high 173 Fastest Laps Run · 1,057 Laps in the Top 15 (73.4%), fourth-most
Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips/Shark Week Chevrolet) · Three top fives, five top 10s · Average finish of 14.2 · Average Running Position of 12.8, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 96.4, sixth-best · 78 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most · 1,085 Laps in the Top 15 (75.3%), third-most · 271 Quality Passes, third-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · Six top fives, eight top 10s · Average finish of 15.1 · Average Running Position of 12.4, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 95.8, seventh-best · 1,100 Laps in the Top 15 (76.4%), second-most · 247 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 12 SKF Ford) · One top five, two top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 20.3 · Average Running Position of 12.5, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 96.7, fourth-best · 106 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet) · Two wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 7.9 · Average Running Position of 11.1, second-best · Driver Rating of 104.1, second-best · Series-high 571 Green Flag Passes · 1,037 Laps in the Top 15 (72.0%), sixth-most · Series-high 292 Quality Passes