|NASCAR chairman Brian France|
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR chairman Brian France has said for the past few years that he wants more emphasis on drivers trying to win races.
He got his wish Thursday by implementing one of the most drastic changes the sport has seen to its Sprint Cup Series and the way it determines its champion.
In a move that overhauls the 10-year-old Chase for the Sprint Cup , NASCAR announced sweeping changes that forces drivers to win races to make and advance in the Chase and that will guarantee that four drivers will have an equal chance to win the Sprint Cup title in the season’s final race.
|Race winners automatically make Chase field|
|Field expands to 16 drivers, including points leader|
|Points used as tiebreaker if more than 16|
|Points reset to start Chase; winners get three bonus points|
|Field reset after Chase race three, six and nine|
|Competitors will be eliminated during Chase|
|Final four will compete for title at season's final race|
|Highest finisher among those at Homestead wins Cup|
"This will make every race matter, produce compelling competition and award a worthy champion," France said.
“You’ve got to admire NASCAR. This took guts, this is a big deal,” team owner Joe Gibbs said. “You’ve to admire their courage. They went throughout all the scenarios ... and I think they have done their homework.”
The new Chase rules are the most drastic changes NASCAR has made since it implemented the Chase in 2004. Since then it has tweaked the Chase format, expanding the field and adding two wild-card drivers, and changed its points system in recent years, but this is a major move that could change the way drivers and teams race each week and set the sport up for a dramatic Game 7 moment in the season's final race.