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 3M/ Red Cross Ford) · Two wins, two top fives, five top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 13.9 · Average Running Position of 10.3, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 107.5, third-best · Series-high 286 Fastest Laps Run · 452 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 159.878 mph, fifth-fastest · 2,441 Laps in the Top 15 (73.7%), fifth-most · 291 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), third-most
Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota) · One win, two top fives, five top 10s · Average finish of 14.4 · Average Running Position of 9.0, third-best · Driver Rating of 106.2, fifth-best · 230 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · 492 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 159.996 mph, third-fastest · 2,790 Laps in the Top 15 (84.3%), second-most · Series-high 337 Quality Passes
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet) · Three top fives, eight top 10s · Average finish of 14.9 · Average Running Position of 12.2, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 91.4, 10th-best · 547 Green Flag Passes, second-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 159.451 mph, 11th-fastest · 2,277 Laps in the Top 15 (68.8%), eighth-most · 273 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford EcoBoost Ford) · Three top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 12.5 · Average Running Position of 12.8, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 93.4, ninth-best · 151 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most · 480 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 159.593 mph, ninth-fastest · 2,248 Laps in the Top 15 (67.9%), ninth-most · 279 Quality Passes, fourth-most
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet) · Seven wins, 19 top fives, 22 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 11.5 · Series-best Average Running Position of 8.1 · Series-best Driver Rating of 111.8 · 194 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 160.130 mph · Series-high 2,982 Laps in the Top 15 (90.1%) · 272 Quality Passes, sixth-most
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota) · One win, four top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 5.4 · Average Running Position of 8.6, second-best · Driver Rating of 108.9, second-best · 182 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 159.977 mph, fourth-fastest · 2,488 Laps in the Top 15 (84.6%), fourth-most · 266 Quality Passes, seventh-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 KOBALT Tools Chevrolet) · Three wins, eight top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 8.8 · Average Running Position of 9.9, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 107.5, fourth-best · 233 Fastest Laps Run, second-most · 485 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 160.069 mph, second-fastest · 2,504 Laps in the Top 15 (75.6%), third-most · 252 Quality Passes, eighth-most
Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet) · Three top fives, four top 10s; four poles · Average finish of 14.2 · Average Running Position of 10.4, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 99.1, sixth-best · 217 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 159.655 mph, eighth-fastest · 2,318 Laps in the Top 15 (70.0%), seventh-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota) · One win, two top fives, nine top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 16.7 · Average Running Position of 14.3, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 90.9, 11th-best · 113 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most · 469 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 159.346 mph, 12th-fastest · 223 Quality Passes, 12th-most
Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet) · Seven top fives, 10 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 12.3 · Average Running Position of 11.6, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 95.8, seventh-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 159.708 mph, seventh-fastest · 2,425 Laps in the Top 15 (73.3%), sixth-most
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) · Four top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 12.0 · Average Running Position of 13.9, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 89.6, 12th-best · 105 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most · Series-high 563 Green Flag Passes · Average Green Flag Speed of 159.535 mph, 10th-fastest · 2,144 Laps in the Top 15 (64.8%), 11th-most · 300 Quality Passes, second-most
Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet) · One top five, three top 10s · Average finish of 11.4 · Average Running Position of 12.4, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 94.8, eighth-best · 125 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most · 510 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 159.745 mph, sixth-fastest · 250 Quality Passes, ninth-most