NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase History

NASCAR Points System

NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship History

updated 11-20-2016

see CLASSIC standings [the old system] 2004-2014, see below, click here

see how the CHASE would had changed past champions if used from 1975-2003, click here

see Ancient Chaseology, seasons before 2004, click here

How NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points are awarded? click here

How NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points WERE awarded? [1975-2015] click here

for past news about the Chase, go to the past news section


CHASE PAGES BY SEASON/YEAR
2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | The 2012 | The 2011
The 2010 | The 2009 | The 2008 | The 2007
The 2004-2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup, The Original Rules and News


DRIVERS WHO MADE THE CHASE 2004-2016

    32 drivers have made The Chase in its 13 years


  • Jimmie Johnson, 13 [2004,2005,2006,2007,2008,2009, 2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016]

  • Matt Kenseth, 12 [2004,2005,2006,2007,2008,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016](for 2 different teams)

  • Jeff Gordon, 11 [2004,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015], retired

  • Denny Hamlin, 10 [2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2014,2015,2016]
  • Kurt Busch, 10 [2004,2005,2007,2009, 2010,2011,2013,2014,2015,2016](for 4 different teams)
  • Carl Edwards, 10 [2005,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2013,2014,2015,2016](for 2 different teams)
  • Kevin Harvick, 10 [2006,2007,2008,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016](for 2 different teams)

  • Tony Stewart, 9 [2004,2005,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2016](for 2 different teams), retired
  • Kyle Busch, 9 [2006,2007,2008,2010,2011,2013,2014,2015,2016](for 2 different teams)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr., 8 [2004,2006,2008,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015](for 2 different teams)

  • Greg Biffle, 7 [2005,2008,2009,2010,2012,2013,2014]
  • Ryan Newman, 7 [2004,2005,2009,2011,2013,2014,2015](for 3 different teams)

  • Clint Bowyer, 6 [2007,2008,2010,2012,2013,2015](for 2 different teams)

  • Kasey Kahne, 5 [2006,2009,2012,2013,2014](for 2 different teams)
  • Brad Keselowski, 5 [2011,2012,2014,2015,2016]

  • Jeff Burton, 4 [2006,2007,2008,2010], retired
  • Joey Logano, 4 [2013,2014,2015,2016]
  • Mark Martin, 4 [2004,2005,2006,2009](for 2 different teams), retired
  • Martin Truex Jr., 4 [2007,2012,2015,2016](for 3 different teams)

  • Jeremy Mayfield, 2 [2004,2005], suspended since 2009
  • Jamie McMurray, 2 [2015,2016]

  • Chris Buescher, 1 [2016]
  • Austin Dillon, 1 [2016]
  • Chase Elliott, 1 [2016]
  • Kyle Larson, 1 [2016]
  • Paul Menard [2015]
  • Aric Almirola, 1 [2014]
  • AJ Allmendinger, 1 [2014]
  • Brian Vickers, 1 [2009] part-time
  • Juan Pablo Montoya, 1 [2009], part-time Indycars
  • Elliott Sadler, 1 [2004] XFINITY driver
  • Rusty Wallace, 1 [2005] retired

    Won Championship, year BOLD


ALL TIME CHASE WINS 2004-Current

  • Jimmie Johnson 29 [won at least 1 Chase race in 2004,2005,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016]
  • Tony Stewart 11 [2006,2008,2009,2010,2011] retired
  • Kevin Harvick 11 [2006,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016]
  • Carl Edwards 9 [2005,2007,2008,2010,2016]
  • Joey Logano 7 [2014,2015,2016]
  • Jeff Gordon 7 [2005,2007,2012,2013,2014,2015] semi-retired
  • Greg Biffle 7 [2004,2005,2006,2007,2008,2010]
  • Denny Hamlin 7 [2009,2010,2012,2015]
  • Matt Kenseth 7 [2007,2011,2012,2013,2015]
  • Brad Keselowski 5 [2012,2013,2014]
  • Clint Bowyer 5 [2007,2010,2011,2012]
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4 [2004,2014,2015] injured in 2016
  • Kurt Busch 3 [2004,2009,2011]
  • Jamie McMurray 3 [2009,2010,2013]
  • Ryan Newman 2 [2004,2005]
  • Mark Martin 2 [2005,2009] retired
  • Jeff Burton 2 [2006,2008]
  • Kasey Kahne 2 [2006,2011]
  • Kyle Busch 2 [2005,2015]
  • Martin Truex Jr. 2 [2016]
  • Brian Vickers 1 [2006] part-time
  • Joe Nemechek 1 [2004] inactive in Cup
  • Dale Jarrett 1 [2005] retired
    (Thru Homestead, race 10 of 10 in 2016; race 130 of all Chase races, 11-20-2016)

  • Non-Chase Drivers [for that season/round] who have won during the Chase:
    2004 - 2 times
    Joe Nemechek, Kansas, 10/10/2004
    Greg Biffle, Homestead, 11/21/2004
    2005 - 3 times
    Dale Jarrett, Talladega, 10/02/2005
    Jeff Gordon, Martinsville,10/23/2005 Kyle Busch, Phoenix, 11/13/2005
    2006 - 5 times
    Tony Stewart, Kansas, 10/01/2006
    Brian Vickers, Talladega, 10/08/2006
    Tony Stewart, Atlanta, 10/29/2006
    Tony Stewart, Texas, 11/05/2006
    Greg Biffle, Homestead, 11/19/2006
    2007 - 1 time
    Greg Biffle, Kansas, 9/30/2007
    2008 - none
    2009
    Jamie McMurray, Talladega, 11/1/2009
    2010
    Jamie McMurray, Charlotte, 10/16/2010 2011
    Kasey Kahne, Phoenix, 11/13/2010
    2012 - none
    2013
    Brad Keselowski, Charlotte, 10/12/2013
    Jamie McMurray, Talladega, 10/20/2013
    Denny Hamlin, Homestead, 11/17/2013
    2014
    Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martinsville, 10/26/2014*
    Jimmie Johnson, Texas, 11/2/2014*
    2015
    Jimmie Johnson, Texas, 11/8/2015*
    Dale Earnhardt Jr., Phoenix, 11/15/2015*
    * after the driver had been eliminated from the Chase after qualifying for it.


HOW NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
POINTS WERE AWARDED 2004-2010

go to the NASCAR Current Points System and Points System History page


Drivers who have made up points / spots to get into the CHASE

  • Only four drivers made up points deficit in finale: Since the inception of the position-based points system in 1975, only four drivers have made up a points deficit in the season finale: Richard Petty in 1979 (made up two points on Darrell Waltrip), Alan Kulwicki in 1992 (made up 30 points on Davey Allison), Jimmie Johnson in 2010 (made up 15 points on Denny Hamlin) and Tony Stewart in 2011 (made up three points on Carl Edwards). Note: Stewart's comeback is the only one made under the current one-point-per-position structure.(NASCAR)(11-17-2013)

  • Four drivers have raced into the Chase: Four drivers have come from outside the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup cut-off to make the Chase at Richmond in the previous championship format 2004-2013]:
    Jeremy Mayfield in 2004 made up a 55-point deficit
    Ryan Newman in 2005 made up a one-point deficit
    Kasey Kahne in 2006 made up a 30-point deficit
    Brian Vickers in 2009 made up a 20-point deficit
    (all using the old point system)
    Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin are the two drivers that clinched the Wild Card in 2011 to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Keselowski was 11th in points with three wins; Hamlin was12th in points with one win.
    Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon are the two drivers that clinched the Wild Card in 2012 to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Kahne was 11th in points with two wins; Gordon was 12th in points with one win.
    Due to a rare instance in the final race of the regular season that resulted in penalties being issued; a 13th car (Jeff Gordon's #24) was added to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.(NASCAR)


    Ancient Chaseology

    • Ancient Chaseology, seasons before 2004 and the Chase: Way back in 1975, NASCAR decided to change its points system, using an idea jotted down on a cocktail napkin at the Boot Hill Saloon in Daytona Beach, Fla. Pretty humble beginnings, no?
      What if the Chase had become a part of NASCAR back in 1975? How would history have changed with a Chase back then?
      Drivers probably would have driven differently, which would have led to changed results and altered points championships during the years covered here. But let's play the "what if?" game and take the historical results and translate them into the current Chase system.
      See the following articles for each:
      same champs in 1975-1979, but in 1980-1984, 3 of the 5 would have had different champions, none for Earnhardt, 3 for DW and Gant would had won one; in 1985-1989 all five chase's produce the same champ as the regular system did.
      Whew, some shake ups in the 1990-1994 chases, Earnhardt, who won 4 championships in the classic points, Earnhardt would had won only two Chase in that span and Kulwicki would not had won his championship with Kyle Petty winning in 92, Gant in 1991 and Rusty Wallace in 1993.
      in the 1995-1999 block, Earnhardt would had won in 1995 instead of Gordon, but Gordon would had won in 1996 instead of Terry Labonte, in 1997 Jarrett would had took it and not Gordon, Gordon in 1998 and Bobby Labonte would had won in 1999 not Jarrett, so only Gordon in 1998 would had been the same.
      and in the final block 2000-2003: Bobby Labonte still wins in 2000, Marlin beats out Gordon in 2001, Kurt Busch in 2002 instead of Stewart and in 2003 Johnson would had gotten his first championship, Kenseth, who won using the old system that year, would had been 8th in the 2003 chase. Here are the links to each block, with standings and info:
      Ancient Chaseology: 1975-1979
      Ancient Chaseology: 1980-1984
      Ancient Chaseology: 1985-1989
      Ancient Chaseology: 1990-1994
      Ancient Chaseology: 1995-1999
      Ancient Chaseology: 2000-2003
      as Matthew Willis will calculate all the seasons 1974 thru 2003.(9-9/13-2008, links checked 11-22-2015)


    CLASSIC POINTS FINISHES 2004-current

      Standings if the Chase wasn't around and the CURRENT points system that was used from 2011 thru current but NO Chase

      • Unofficial Top 25 in 2016 Sprint Cup Driver Points Standings (not the Chase):
        [after Homestead, race 36 of 36]
        (using current points system, but not the Chase rules, unofficial)
        1) #4-Kevin Harvick(C8), 1159
        2) #22-Joey Logano(C2), 1133, -26
        3) #18-Kyle Busch(C3), 1105, -54
        4) #2-Brad Keselowski(C12), 1089, -70
        5) #11-Denny Hamlin(C6), 1084, -75
        6) #41-Kurt Busch(C7), 1055, -104
        7) #48-Jimmie Johnson(CHAMP), 1007, -152
        8) #19-Carl Edwards(C4), 1005, -154
        9) #20-Matt Kenseth(C5), 997, -162
        10) #78-Martin Truex Jr.(C11), 991, -168
        11) #24-Chase Elliott#(C10), 966, -193
        12) #42-Kyle Larson(C9), 931, -228
        13) #1-Jamie McMurray(C13), 907, -252
        14) #3-Austin Dillon(C14), 902, -257
        15) #5-Kasey Kahne, 898, -261
        16) #31-Ryan Newman, 895, -264
        17) #47-AJ Allmendinger, 830, -329
        18) #21-Ryan Blaney#, 812, -347
        19) #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 772, -387
        20) #6-Trevor Bayne, 762, -397
        21) #16-Greg Biffle, 691, -468
        22) #10-Danica Patrick, 689, -470
        23) #27-Paul Menard, 678, -481
        24) #14-Tony Stewart(C15), 642, -517
        25) #43-Aric Almirola, 638, -521
        28) #34-Chris Buescher#(C16), 541, -618
        (C# = chase driver and final Chase position)
        (11-20-2016)

      • Unofficial Top 25 in 2015 Sprint Cup Driver Points Standings (not the Chase):
        [after Homestead, race 36 of 36]
        (using current points system, but not the Chase rules, unofficial)
        1) #4-Kevin Harvick(C1), 1321
        2) #22-Joey Logano(EC), 1299, -22
        3) #2-Brad Keselowski(EC), 1217, -104
        4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (EC), 1198, -123
        5) #78-Martin Truex Jr.(C4), 1165, -156
        6) #48-Jimmie Johnson(EC), 1155, -166
        7) #11-Denny Hamlin(EC), 1117, -204
        8) #24-Jeff Gordon(C2), 1110, -211
        9) #41-Kurt Busch(EC), 1108, -213
        10) #19-Carl Edwards(EC), 1108, -213
        11) #1-Jamie McMurray(EC), 1052, -269
        12) #31-Ryan Newman(EC), 1052, -269
        13) #20-Matt Kenseth(EC), 1046, -275
        14) #27-Paul Menard(EC), 972, -349
        15) #43-Aric Almirola, 940, -381
        16) #5-Kasey Kahne, 939, -382
        17) #15-Clint Bowyer(EC), 891, -430
        18) #42-Kyle Larson, 872, -449
        19) #16-Greg Biffle, 869, -452
        20) #18-Kyle Busch(C3), 867, -454
        21) #3-Austin Dillon, 832, -489
        22) #47-AJ Allmendinger, 758, -563
        23) #13-Casey Mears, 754, -567
        24) #10-Danica Patrick, 716, -605
        25) #9-Sam Hornish Jr., 709, -612
        (C# = chase driver and current Chase position)
        (EC = chase driver that has been eliminated from the Chase)
        (11-22-2015)

      • Unofficial Top 25 in 2014 Sprint Cup Driver Points Standings (not the Chase):
        [after Homestead, race 36 of 36]
        (using current points system, but not the Chase rules, unofficial)
        1) #24-Jeff Gordon(EC), 1253
        2) #22-Joey Logano(C4), 1216, -37
        3) #2-Brad Keselowski(EC), 1179, -74
        4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(EC), 1175, -78
        5) #4-Kevin Harvick(CH), 1171, -82
        6) #31-Ryan Newman(C2), 1136, -117
        7) #20-Matt Kenseth(EC), 1131, -122
        8) #42-Kyle Larson #, 1080, -173
        9) #48-Jimmie Johnson(EC), 1067, -186
        10) #99-Carl Edwards(EC), 1059, -194
        11) #1-Jamie McMurray, 1014, -239
        12) #16-Greg Biffle(EC), 1000, -253
        13) #11-Denny Hamlin(C3), 987, -266 (missed a races)
        14) #15-Clint Bowyer, 979, -274
        15) #18-Kyle Busch(EC), 969, -284
        16) #5-Kasey Kahne(EC), 966, -287
        17) #3-Austin Dillon #, 958, -295
        18) #27-Paul Menard, 944, -309
        19) #55-Brian Vickers, 921, -332
        20) #41-Kurt Busch(EC), 911, -342
        21) #9-Marcos Ambrose, 872, -381
        22) #47-AJ Allmendinger(EC), 868, -385
        23) #78-Martin Truex Jr., 857, -396
        24) #43-Aric Almirola(EC), 820, -433
        25) #14-Tony Stewart, 799, -454 (missed 3 races)
        (CH is the 2014 Sprint Cup Series Champion)
        (C# is chase driver and current Chase position)
        (EC is chase driver that has been eliminated from the Chase)
        (11-16-2014)

      • Unofficial 2014 Chase Standings using 2013 Sprint Cup Chase rules:
        [after Homestead, race 36 of 36]
        1) #22-Joey Logano [5 wins], 2396
        2) #4-Kevin Harvick [5 wins], 2389, -7 (2014 Champ)
        3) #2-Brad Keselowski [6 wins], 2361, -35
        4) #31-Ryan Newman, 2354, -42
        5) #24-Jeff Gordon [4 wins], 2348, -48
        6) #20-Matt Kenseth, 2334, -62
        7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [4 wins], 2301, -95
        8) #99-Carl Edwards [2 wins], 2288, -108
        9) #18-Kyle Busch [1 win], 2282, -114
        10) #48-Jimmie Johnson [4 wins], 2274, -122
        11) #16-Greg Biffle, 2247, -149
        12) #5-Kasey Kahne [1 win], 2231, -165
        (11-16-2014)

      • 2013 Sprint Cup Driver Championship Points Standings without Chase:
        [after Homestead, race 36 of 36]
        1) #48-Jimmie Johnson(X) [6 wins], 1248
        2) #29-Kevin Harvick(X) [4 wins], 1207, -41
        3) #20-Matt Kenseth(X) [7 wins], 1192, -56
        4) #18-Kyle Busch(X) [4 wins], 1163, -85
        5) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(X), 1144, -104
        6) #99-Carl Edwards(X) [2 wins], 1118, -130
        7) #15-Clint Bowyer(X), 1115, -133
        8) #24-Jeff Gordon(X) [1 win], 1087, -161
        9) #16-Greg Biffle(X) [1 win], 1077, -171
        10) #22-Joey Logano(X) [1 win], 1071, -177
        11) #78-Kurt Busch(X), 1071, -177
        12) #2-Brad Keselowski [1 win], 1041, -207
        13) #39-Ryan Newman(X)[1 win], 1027, -221
        14) #5-Kasey Kahne(X) [2 wins], 1022, -226
        15) #1-Jamie McMurray [1 win], 1007, -241
        (X) = a Chase driver.
        (11-17-2013)

      • 2012 Sprint Cup Driver Championship Points Standings without Chase:
        (classic system using current points system but NOT the chase system - unofficial)
        [after Homestead, race 36 of 36]
        1) #2-Brad Keselowski(X) [5 wins], 1259
        2) #16-Greg Biffle(X) [2 wins], 1240, -19
        3) #48-Jimmie Johnson(X) [5 wins], 1231, -28
        4) #17-Matt Kenseth(X) [3 wins], 1218, -41
        5) #15-Clint Bowyer(X) [3 wins], 1213, -46
        6) #11-Denny Hamlin(X) [4 wins], 1167, -92
        7) #29-Kevin Harvick(X) [1 win], 1162, -97
        8) #56-Martin Truex Jr.(X) [0 wins], 1161, -98
        9) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(X) [1 win], 1144, -115
        10) #18-Kyle Busch [1 win], 1133, -126
        11) #5-Kasey Kahne(X) [2 wins], 1129, -130
        12) #14-Tony Stewart(X) [3 wins], 1112, -147
        13) #24-Jeff Gordon(X) [2 wins], 1080, -179
        14) #39-Ryan Newman [1 win], 1051, -208
        15) #99-Carl Edwards [0 wins], 1030, -229
        (ties broken by 1sts, 2nds, 3rd, etc)
        (X) = a Chase driver.

      • 2011 Sprint Cup Driver Points Standings [not the Chase]:
        [after Homestead, race 36 of 36]:
        using the CURRENT points system, but NOT the Chase system, just points.
        rank, car#, driver, points, behind
        1) #99-Carl Edwards (x) [1 win], 1278
        2) #29-Kevin Harvick (x)[4 wins], 1200, -78
        3) #14-Tony Stewart (x)[5 wins], 1191, -87
        4) #48-Jimmie Johnson (x)[2 wins], 1187, -91
        5) #17-Matt Kenseth (x)[3 wins], 1183, -95
        6) #24-Jeff Gordon (x)[3 wins], 1150, -128
        7) #18-Kyle Busch (x)[4 wins], 1124, -154
        8) #22-Kurt Busch (x)[2 wins], 1115, -163
        9) #39-Ryan Newman (x)[1 win], 1103, -175
        10) #2-Brad Keselowski (x)[3 wins], 1079, -199
        11) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(x), 1071, -207
        12) #33-Clint Bowyer [1 win], 1047, -231
        13) #4-Kasey Kahne [1 win], 1041, -237
        14) #11-Denny Hamlin (x)[1 win], 1028, -250
        15) #43-A.J. Allmendinger, 1013, -265
        (x) = chase driver
        Do NOT have the standings using the old points system used from 1975-2010
        Calculated it a few times and saw no major differences in the standings
        Also, no plans to add in all the drivers who didn't get drivers points in any of the others series
        (11-20-2011)

      • some other comparisons for the 2011 season

      • 2011 Sprint Cup Driver Championship Chase Points Standings:
        [after Homestead, race 36 of 36 and Chase race 10 of 10]
        1) #14-Tony Stewart [5 wins], 2403 - 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion
        2) #99-Carl Edwards [1 win], 2403
        3) #29-Kevin Harvick [4 wins], 2345, -58
        4) #17-Matt Kenseth [3 wins], 2330, -73
        5) #2-Brad Keselowski [3 wins], 2319, -84
        6) #48-Jimmie Johnson [2 wins], 2304, -99
        7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [0 wins], 2290, -113
        8) #24-Jeff Gordon [3 wins], 2287, -116
        9) #11-Denny Hamlin [1 win], 2284, -119
        10) #39-Ryan Newman [1 win], 2284, -119
        top 10 go to the banquet in Vegas
        11) #22-Kurt Busch [2 wins], 2262, -141
        12) #18-Kyle Busch [4 wins], 2246, -157
        (ties broken by 1sts, 2nds, 3rd, etc)
        See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(11-30-2011)

      • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Points - Classic with the Chase:
        Pos) Car#-Driver, Classic Points, Behind Leader
        1) #14-Tony Stewart 6634
        2) #99-Carl Edwards 6584 -50
        3) #29-Kevin Harvick 6395 -239
        4) #17-Matt Kenseth 6380 -254
        5) #2-Brad Keselowski 6348 -286
        6) #48-Jimmie Johnson 6288 -346
        7) #24-Jeff Gordon 6223 -411
        8) #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 6205 -429
        9) #11-Denny Hamlin 6188 -446
        10) #39-Ryan Newman 6187 -447
        11) #22-Kurt Busch 6132 -502
        12) #18-Kyle Busch 6049 -585
        13) #4-Kasey Kahne 4382 -2252
        14) #33-Clint Bowyer 4363 -2271
        15) #43-A.J. Allmendinger 4202 -2432
        (see full rundown at phatstats.blogspot.com)(11-30-2011)

      • Difference in Chase System - Current Points system vs Classic system:
        rank, car#, driver, current fin pos, classic fin pos
        1) #14-Tony Stewart, 1st, 1st
        2) #99-Carl Edwards, 2nd, 2nd
        3) #29-Kevin Harvick, 3rd, 3rd
        4) #17-Matt Kenseth, 4th, 4th
        5) #2-Brad Keselowski, 5th, 5th
        6) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 6th, 6th
        7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr, 7th, 8th
        8) #24-Jeff Gordon, 5th, 7th
        9) #11-Denny Hamlin, 9th, 9th
        10) #39-Ryan Newman, 10th, 10th
        11) #22-Kurt Busch, 11th, 11th
        12) #18-Kyle Busch, 12th, 12yh
        13) #33-Clint Bowyer, 13th, 14th
        14) #4-Kasey Kahne, 14th, 13th
        15) #43-A.J. Allmendinger, 15th, 15th
        (11-30-2011)

      • 2011 Sprint Cup Driver Points Standings [not the Chase]:
        [after Homestead, race 36 of 36]:
        using the CURRENT points system, but NOT the Chase system, just points.
        rank, car#, driver, points, behind
        1) #99-Carl Edwards (x) [1 win], 1278
        2) #29-Kevin Harvick (x)[4 wins], 1200, -78
        3) #14-Tony Stewart (x)[5 wins], 1191, -87
        4) #48-Jimmie Johnson (x)[2 wins], 1187, -91
        5) #17-Matt Kenseth (x)[3 wins], 1183, -95
        6) #24-Jeff Gordon (x)[3 wins], 1150, -128
        7) #18-Kyle Busch (x)[4 wins], 1124, -154
        8) #22-Kurt Busch (x)[2 wins], 1115, -163
        9) #39-Ryan Newman (x)[1 win], 1103, -175
        10) #2-Brad Keselowski (x)[3 wins], 1079, -199
        11) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(x), 1071, -207
        12) #33-Clint Bowyer [1 win], 1047, -231
        13) #4-Kasey Kahne [1 win], 1041, -237
        14) #11-Denny Hamlin (x)[1 win], 1028, -250
        15) #43-A.J. Allmendinger, 1013, -265
        (x) = chase driver.(11-30-2011)

      • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Points - Classic without the Chase:
        Pos) Car#-Driver, Classic Points, Behind Leader
        1) #99-Carl Edwards 5193
        2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4916 -277
        3) #14-Tony Stewart 4897 -296
        4) #29-Kevin Harvick 4896 -297
        5) #17-Matt Kenseth 4875 -318
        6) #24-Jeff Gordon 4794 -399
        7) #18-Kyle Busch 4713 -480
        8) #39-Ryan Newman 4560 -633
        9) #22-Kurt Busch 4531 -662
        10) #2-Brad Keselowski 4523 -670
        11) #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 4422 -771
        12) #4-Kasey Kahne 4382 -811
        13) #33-Clint Bowyer 4363 -830
        14) #11-Denny Hamlin 4318 -875
        15) #43-A.J. Allmendinger 4202 -991
        (see full rundown at phatstats.blogspot.com)(11-30-2011)

      • Difference in the non-Chase System - Current Points system vs Classic system:
        rank, car#, driver, current fin pos, classic fin pos
        1) #99-Carl Edwards, 1st, 1st
        2) #29-Kevin Harvick, 2nd, 4th
        3) #14-Tony Stewart, 3rd, 3rd
        4) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4th, 2nd
        5) #17-Matt Kenseth, 5th, 5th
        6) #24-Jeff Gordon, 6th, 6th
        7) #18-Kyle Busch, 7th, 7th
        8) #22-Kurt Busch, 8th, 9th
        9) #39-Ryan Newman, 9th, 8th
        10) #2-Brad Keselowski, 10th, 10th
        11) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 11th, 11th
        12) #33-Clint Bowyer, 12th, 13th
        13) #4-Kasey Kahne, 13th 12th
        14) #11-Denny Hamlin, 14th, 14th
        15) #43-A.J. Allmendinger, 15th, 15th.(11-30-2011)

        Standings if the Chase wasn't around and the old points system that was used from 1975 thru 2003 was still used

      • "Classic" 2010 Sprint Cup Series Points Standings:
        [after Homestead, race 36 of 36....the OLD way]:
        rank, car#, driver, points, behind
        1) #29-Kevin Harvick, 5274
        2) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4989, -285 CHASE CHAMP
        3) #11-Denny Hamlin, 4865, -409
        4) #99-Carl Edwards, 4820, -454
        5) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4669, -605
        6) #18-Kyle Busch, 4647, -627
        7) #17-Matt Kenseth, 4640, -634
        8) #14-Tony Stewart, 4628, -646
        9) #2-Kurt Busch, 4459, -815
        10) #31-Jeff Burton, 4423, -851
        11) #16-Greg Biffle, 4414, -860
        12) #33-Clint Bowyer, 4376, -898
        13) #5-Mark Martin, 4364, -910
        14) #1-Jamie McMurray, 4325, -949
        See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(11-21-2010)

      • "Classic" 2009 Sprint Cup Series Points Standings
        the OLD way - Driver Points Standings [after Homestead, race 36 of 36]:
        pos, car#, driver, points, behind
        1) #48-Jimmie Johnson (X), 5156 [7 wins] CHASE CHAMP
        2) #24-Jeff Gordon (X), 5090, -66 [1 win]
        3) #14-Tony Stewart (X), 5085, -71 [4 wins]
        4) #11-Denny Hamlin (X), 4806, -350 [4 wins]
        5) #5-Mark Martin (X), 4762, -394 [5 wins]
        6) #2-Kurt Busch (X), 4758, -398 [2 wins]
        7) #16-Greg Biffle (X), 4541, -615
        8) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya (X), 4503, -653
        9) #18-Kyle Busch, 4457, -699 [4 wins]
        10) #39-Ryan Newman (X), 4447, -709
        11) #99-Carl Edwards (X), 4398, -758
        12) #17-Matt Kenseth, 4389, -767 [2 wins]
        13) #9-Kasey Kahne (X), 4388, -768 [2 wins]
        14) #33-Clint Bowyer, 4359, -797
        15) #00-David Reutimann, 4221, -935 [1 win]
        16) #83-Brian Vickers (X), 4122, -1034 [1 win]
        (X) a chase driver.(11-22-2009)

      • "Classic" 2008 Points Standings...the old way, not the Chase after Homestead:
        (Traditional Points...the old way, not the Chase)
        1) #99-Carl Edwards 5236 [9 wins]
        2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5220 -16 [7 wins] CHASE CHAMP
        3) #18-Kyle Busch 4984 -252 [8 wins]
        4) #16-Greg Biffle 4747 -489 [2 wins]
        5) #31-Jeff Burton 4709 -527 [2 wins]
        6) #29-Kevin Harvick 4691 -545
        7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4605 -631 [1 win]
        8) #24-Jeff Gordon 4537 - 699
        9) #20-Tony Stewart 4487 -749 [1 win]
        10) #07-Clint Bowyer 4487 - 749 [1 win]
        11) #11-Denny Hamlin 4439 -797 [1 win]
        12) #17-Matt Kenseth 4316 -920
        13) #6-David Ragan 4299 -937
        14) #9-Kasey Kahne 4085 -1151 [2 wins]
        (11-16-2008)

      • "Classic" 2007 Points Standings...the old way, not the Chase after Homestead:
        (Traditional Points...the old way, not the Chase)
        1) #24-Jeff Gordon 5455
        2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5102, -353 CHASE CHAMP
        3) #20-Tony Stewart 4749
        4) #17-Matt Kenseth 4718
        5) #11-Denny Hamlin 4623
        6) #5-Kyle Busch 4585
        7) #99-Carl Edwards 4574
        8) #07-Clint Bowyer 4556
        9) #31-Jeff Burton 4549
        10) #2-Kurt Busch 4371
        11) #29-Kevin Harvick 4344
        12) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 4314
        13) #12-Ryan Newman 4046
        14) #16-Greg Biffle 3991
        15) #25-Casey Mears 3949
        16) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3929
        (11-18-2007)

      • "Classic" 2006 Points Standings...the old way, not the Chase after Homestead:
        1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5158 CHASE CHAMP
        2) #17-Matt Kenseth, 5154, -4
        3) #29-Kevin Harvick, 4838, -320
        4) #20-Tony Stewart, 4727, -431
        5) #11-Denny Hamlin, 4725, -433
        6) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 4641, -517
        7) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4567, -591
        8) #31-Jeff Burton, 4535, -623
        9) #9-Kasey Kahne, 4497, -661
        10) #6-Mark Martin, 4484, -674
        11) #99-Carl Edwards, 4428, -730
        12) #5-Kyle Busch, 4416, -742
        13) #16-Greg Biffle, 4075, -1083
        (11-19-2006)

      • "Classic" 2005 Points Standings - Top 15...the old way, not the Chase after Homestead, race 36 of 36:
        1) #20-Tony Stewart, 5199 CHASE CHAMP
        2) #16-Greg Biffle, 4984, -215
        3) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4771, -428
        4) #6-Mark Martin, 4676, -523
        5) #99-Carl Edwards, 4597, -602
        6) #2-Rusty Wallace, 4512, -687
        7) #17-Matt Kenseth, 4451, -748
        8) #12-Ryan Newman, 4409, -790
        9) #19-Jeremy Mayfield, 4281, -918
        10) #97-Kurt Busch, 4248, -951
        11) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4174, -1025
        12) #42-Jamie McMurray, 4130, -1069
        13) #38-Elliott Sadler, 4084, -1115
        14) #29-Kevin Harvick, 4072, -1127
        15) #88-Dale Jarrett, 3960, -1239
        (11-20-2005)

      • "Classic" 2004 Points Standings...the old way, not the Chase after Homestead:
        1) #24-Jeff Gordon 5042
        2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4995 -47
        3) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4869 -173
        4) #97-Kurt Busch 4795 -247 CHASE CHAMP
        5) #20-Tony Stewart 4701 -341
        6) #6-Mark Martin 4597 -445
        7) #42-Jamie McMurray 4597 -445
        8) #17-Matt Kenseth 4376 -666
        9) #12-Ryan Newman 4361 -681
        10) #38-Elliott Sadler 4315 -727
        11) #18-Bobby Labonte 4277 -765
        12) #9-Kasey Kahne* 4274 -768
        13) #29-Kevin Harvick 4228 -814
        14) #88-Dale Jarrett 4214 -828
        (11-21-2004)


      IF THE CHASE WERE from 1975-2003?

      Chase Champs 1975-2003 [who would had won if the chase was in effect]:

      Year Champ Chase Champ
      1975 Richard Petty(6) Richard Petty(6)
      1976 Cale Yarborough Cale Yarborough
      1977 Cale Yarborough(2) Cale Yarborough(2)
      1978 Cale Yarborough(3) Cale Yarborough(3)
      1979 Richard Petty(7) Richard Petty(7)
      1980 Dale Earnhardt Cale Yarborough(4)
      1981 Darrell Waltrip Darrell Waltrip
      1982 Darrell Waltrip(2) Darrell Waltrip(2)
      1983 Bobby Allison Darrell Waltrip(3)
      1984 Terry Labonte Harry Gant
      1985 Darrell Waltrip(3) Darrell Waltrip(4)
      1986 Dale Earnhardt(2) Dale Earnhardt
      1987 Dale Earnhardt(3) Dale Earnhardt(2)
      1988 Bill Elliott Bill Elliott
      1989 Rusty Wallace Rusty Wallace
      1990 Dale Earnhardt(4) Dale Earnhardt(3)
      1991 Dale Earnhardt(5) Harry Gant(2)
      1992 Alan Kulwicki Kyle Petty
      1993 Dale Earnhardt(6) Rusty Wallace(2)
      1994 Dale Earnhardt(7) Dale Earnhardt(4)
      1995 Jeff Gordon Dale Earnhardt(5)
      1996 Terry Labonte(2) Jeff Gordon
      1997 Jeff Gordon(2) Dale Jarrett
      1998 Jeff Gordon(3) Jeff Gordon(2)
      1999 Dale Jarrett Bobby Labonte
      2000 Bobby Labonte Bobby Labonte(2)
      2001 Jeff Gordon(4) Sterling Marlin
      2002 Tony Stewart Kurt Busch
      2003 Matt Kenseth Jimmie Johnson
      Classic Champ vs. Chase Champs 2004 - current
      Year Classic Points Chase Champ
      2004 Jeff Gordon (5) Kurt Busch (2)
      2005 Tony Stewart (2) Tony Stewart
      2006 Jimmie Johnson Jimmie Johnson (2)
      2007 Jeff Gordon (6) Jimmie Johnson (3)
      2008 Carl Edwards Jimmie Johnson (4)
      2009 Jimmie Johnson (2) Jimmie Johnson (5)
      2010 Kevin Harvick(1) Jimmie Johnson(6)
      2011 Carl Edwards(2) Tony Stewart(3)
      2012 Brad Keselowski(1) Brad Keselowski(1)
      2013 Jimmie Johnson(3) Jimmie Johnson(7)
      2014 Jeff Gordon(7) Kevin Harvick(1)
      2015 Kevin Harvick(2) Kyle Busch(1)
      2016 Kevin Harvick(3) Jimmie Johnson(8)


      Some News about the Chase



      • NASCAR FAST FACTS - 2016 Procedural Changes:
        Maximum Field Sizes / Corresponding New Points Systems
        NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - Maximum 40-car field (36 Charter team cars, 4 Open team cars), race winner awarded 40 points, 40th place awarded one point.
        NASCAR XFINITY Series - Maximum 40-car field, race winner awarded 40 points, 40th place awarded one point.
        NASCAR Camping World Truck Series - Maximum 32-truck field, race winner awarded 32 points, 32nd place awarded one point
        New points systems apply to driver, owner, and manufacturer championships. Existing 2015 Bonus points remain in place for 2016.(NASCAR)(2-11-2016)

      • No names to the four rounds of the Cup Chase: With elimination-style playoffs in all of its top three national touring series this year, NASCAR has done the sensible thing, dropping the nomenclature from the four rounds of the Chase for the Sprint Cup in favor of more traditional Round of 16, etc. "Yes, we have removed the Round names from the #Chase, including #NASCAR Sprint Cup," tweeted David Higdon, vice president, NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications. "Now: Round of 16, Round of 12, Round of 8, Championship Round."(NASCAR Wire Service)(1-20-2016)

      • Chase Format Extended to XFINITY & Camping World Truck Series: Using the overwhelming success of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format introduced in 2014 as a guidepost, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announced the implementation of a playoff system in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will each feature a seven-race Chase to decide its respective championships starting in 2016. "Fans, partners and the industry have embraced the new Chase format like nothing we've seen in the sport's history," said France. "Winning never has been this important, and the excitement generated the past two seasons in the Sprint Cup Series has led to this implementation of the Chase format in all three national series. Competition in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will undoubtedly elevate to new heights and shine a spotlight on the rising stars of our sport."
        The NASCAR XFINITY Series, where "Names Are Made," and the rugged NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will implement seven-race, three-round Chase formats with unique characteristics but very much in the same spirit of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. All three series will conclude the Chase with a Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway to crown a champion. However, all three will begin at different tracks: Chicago (Sprint Cup Series), Kentucky (XFINITY Series) and New Hampshire (Camping World Truck Series)
        Drivers still must declare a series in which they will earn points, and will only be eligible to compete for a championship in that series. The 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who qualified for the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be ineligible to compete in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship 4 races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
        NASCAR XFINITY SERIES CHASE The seven-race NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase will begin at Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 24, and feature 12 drivers and two elimination rounds, with four drivers competing in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A win in the first 26 races all but guarantees a driver entry into the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase, provided the driver is in the top 30 in points and has attempted to qualify for each race. Drivers who win two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are also all but guaranteed a Chase berth.
        The first round, called the Round of 12, consists of the races at Kentucky, Dover and Charlotte. All drivers will start with their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 26 races. If a driver wins a race in the Round of 12, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions (1-8) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.
        Each driver who advances to the Round of 8 (Kansas, Texas, Phoenix) then will have their points reset to 3,000. Drivers who win a race in the Round of 8 automatically advance to the Championship 4. The remaining available positions (1-4) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.
        The four drivers who advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead will have their points reset to 4,000. The highest finishing Championship 4 driver will be crowned the NASCAR XFINITY Series champion.
        NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES CHASE The seven-race NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase will begin at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 24. It will feature eight drivers and two elimination rounds, with four drivers competing in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A win in the first 16 races all but guarantees a driver entry into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, provided that the driver is in the Top 30 in points and has attempted to qualify for each race.
        The first round, called the Round of 8, consists of the races at New Hampshire, Las Vegas, and Talladega. All drivers will have their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 16 races. If a driver wins a race in the Round of 8, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions (1-6) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.
        Each driver who advances to the Round of 6 (Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix) then will have their points reset to 3,000. Drivers who win a race in the Round of 6 automatically advance to the Championship 4. The remaining available positions (1-4) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points. The four drivers who advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead will have their points reset to 4,000. The highest finishing Championship 4 driver will win the championship. All rules outlined above also apply to both series' owner championship structure.(NASCAR)(1-19-2016)

      • No rules changes for the Chase: The success of the low downforce package at Darlington Raceway last weekend has not changed NASCAR's thinking regarding the rules package for the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday. "Prior to going into Darlington we all met as an industry and talked about what was the most fair package to put together and what did we think would produce some good racing in the Chase. And ultimately wanted to stick with 2015. We felt like teams had put a ton of time into testing those cars. Goodyear's tires to match up that package for our final 10 races. We all felt that was the best way to go. We can take the proper time to evaluate all the things we've looked at for '16 and really dial that in for the '16 package, knowing that a lot of things have been done for '15 and teams are really prepared for the Chase." Last month, NASCAR announced that the 10 Chase races would use the 2015 rules package and not the low-downforce package (used at Kentucky and Darlington) or the high-drag package (used at Indianapolis and Michigan). According to O'Donnell, who outlined that NASCAR will be sitting down with everybody over the next two weeks with the 2016 rules package a topic of discussion. "Obviously, the low downforce matched up with the tires got a lot of momentum and we've seen some really good things that I think you will see at a number of races this next year. There are some outliers we want to look at. Some of the bigger tracks, Michigan, California, but as closely as we can kind of stick to two packages, maybe a low-downforce and something different, that's what we'd like to do. One of the things we want to make sure we dial in and specifically for each race is really the tires. A lot of people go in and just say 'it's the 2015 rules package' but its really not. There's a lot of variables that go into that with gear ratios, the tires that are selected, so you will see a lot more emphasis on that for '16 depending on the different surfaces we race on and fully expect it to be a incredible competitive season." Will the high-drag package be a factor in 2016? O'Donnell wouldn't say either way but some tweaks would be needed. "Some modifications we could look at (on the high-drag package). Not necessarily anything we've got dialed in right now. Obviously. both those races (Indianapolis and Michigan) produced some challenges for us and we're aware of that and don't want to go out and repeat those ever again. There's some things we obviously learned from both those events. ... We want to go and have those discussions with the teams, we'll see what maybe the best thing for those events, especially Michigan."(NASCAR.com, interview audio at SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)(9-9-2015)

      • NASCAR, USA TODAY Sports Launch NASCAR Fan Index: NASCAR and USA TODAY Sports launched the first-ever NASCAR Fan Index, a digital index that combines social media activity and online fan voting to determine which Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup" driver has the greatest "fan nation" in this year's "Battle of Nations." Beginning this week and running through the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 22, the NASCAR Fan Index will rank the top driver fan bases based on aggregated social chatter and weekly online voting. The index is measured based on the social activity of each Chase driver's nation, including sharing photos and videos, as well as the voting results across fan-friendly themes such as best driver nickname and best paint scheme. NASCAR fans can vote an unlimited number of times for their favorite drivers in the weekly polls at nascarfanindex.usatoday.com. Additional themes will include best helmet design, best warm-up song, best race win burnout and best driver tweet of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.(NASCAR)(9-8-2015)

      • The Battle Of Nations Returns To Rally Fans: NASCAR announced an open call for fans to rally behind their favorite driver "nations" as part of a massive, integrated marketing campaign to promote the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. New television spots, interactive digital experiences, fan parties and a robust social media push will celebrate The Chase launch and encourage fans to join the Battle of Nations. Introduced last year to promote NASCAR's revamped Chase format, the Battle of Nations (NASCAR.com/Chase) returns to capture the drama and excitement of The Chase while giving fans even more ways to engage with the sport's unpredictable, 10-race playoffs. The campaign theme was inspired by drivers' loyal fan followings and aligns the 16 Chase drivers, their race teams, automotive manufacturers and partners as unique nations - each looking to grow their fan bases and stand above the rest in a quest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. The sport's largest-ever social media campaign will invite fans, teams and sponsors to show support for their favorite Chase drivers and share content using the hashtag #TheChase. USA TODAY Sports will introduce the first-ever NASCAR Fan Index to aggregate social chatter and host weekly, online fan votes to help determine which Chase driver has the greatest nation. Fans wanting in on the action themselves can engage digitally with the Battle of Nations by making weekly predictions in The Chase Grid" Battle Powered by Bing. In addition, fans can register at NBCSports.com/GridChallenge to play the Quicken Loans $16 Million Perfect Grid Challenge for a chance to win $16 million, and the Weekly Playoff Grid Challenge for a chance to win prizes including a year's worth of free mortgage payments. NASCAR soon will launch the first-ever Join the Battle app, offering interactive content to enhance fans' experience during the Chase on mobile devices. The interactive app will be available for download on Sept. 13 at NASCAR.com/Chase.(NASCAR)(9-8-2015)

      • NASCAR Chase Fest returns to Chicago: Chicago will once again host the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with one of the biggest NASCAR themed parties of the season, NASCAR Chase Fest sponsored by Toyota. The free outdoor fan fest will feature all 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Challengers and culminate with a live concert by Grammy-nominated band, 3 Doors Down. NASCAR Chase Fest will take place on Weed Street between Fremont and Kingsbury streets from 2:00-9:00pm/ct on September 17. NASCAR Chase Fest will feature appearances and autograph sessions from all 16 drivers competing in the Challenger Round, as well as a number of recognizable NASCAR personalities. Fans in attendance will be treated to food from renowned Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, beverages from Coors Light (with proper ID), attractions such as the Toyota Ferris Wheel and NASCAR on NBC Sports Bumper Cars, activations from event sponsor Sprint including an appearance by Miss Sprint Cup and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Trophy, and another live musical performance by a Chicago favorite, country cover band the Suburban Cowboys. Additionally on-site, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) personalities Krista Voda, Kyle Petty, Marty Snider and Rutledge Wood will interview all 16 Challengers for the network's live broadcast of NASCAR America.(NASCAR)(8-28-2015)

      • Wins In Demand With Three Races To Go Before Chase: The formula for making the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is simple - "Win and you're in." Drivers only have three races left to make the formula work: Bristol, Darlington and Richmond. As of now, 11 drivers are qualified for the Chase with wins as long as they start the next three races and remain in the top 30 in points: #48-Jimmie Johnson, #18-Kyle Busch, #20-Matt Kenseth, #4-Kevin Harvick, #22-Joey Logano, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #41-Kurt Busch, #78-Martin Truex Jr., #2-Brad Keselowski, #11-Denny Hamlin and #19-Carl Edwards. The five remaining drivers on the Chase Grid have to either visit Victory Lane or stay high enough in the points standings where they don't get bumped by a new winner outside the top 16. These drivers are #1-Jamie McMurray (70 points above the cutoff line), #27-Paul Menard (+61), #31-Ryan Newman (+56), #24-Jeff Gordon (+55) and #15-Clint Bowyer (+23). The winless drivers who have won at Bristol in the past and have yet to earn Chase berths this season are Gordon, #5-Kasey Kahne and #14-Tony Stewart. A currently winless driver who wins at Bristol would clinch a spot if he/she is 97 points ahead of 31st place. No driver who remains winless after Bristol will clinch a spot.(NASCAR)(8-21-2015)

      • Special paint scheme elements to continue for Chase Contenders: Teams who make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will sport a special paint scheme for the second consecutive season. The teams provided feedback after the inaugural season with the new look and NASCAR has made adjustments based on those suggestions. Along with a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup logo and rounds (Challenger, Contender, Eliminator or Championship), taking the place of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series logo and NASCAR racecar decal, cars eligible for NASCAR's playoffs will be highlighted in Chase yellow. The windshield header, front valance and -- new for 2015 -- rear spoiler of each of the cars will carry the color. In 2014, the roof number was Sprint yellow as well, but the teams will keep their regular paint scheme atop their cars. Chase-eligible drivers also will receive a unique Winner decal for each win they accumulate during the Chase rounds.(NASCAR)(7-8-2015)

      • Kyle Busch to Remain Eligible for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship: NASCAR announced today that Kyle Busch will remain eligible to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Busch will qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by meeting all requirements of eligibility excluding Rule 17.6.2.1.a, which requires a driver to start all Championship Events of the current season. NASCAR made the decision after the driver of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota received the appropriate medical clearance documentation to immediately return to NASCAR racing. To qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Busch will need to be within the top 30 of the Championship point standings after race No. 26, and meet all other stated requirements within the NASCAR Rule Book. "On behalf of everyone at NASCAR, it's great to have Kyle Busch back racing," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "Our decision to grant Kyle a waiver that allows him to continue running for a championship is one we discussed extensively. The spirit of the rule never was designed to punish drivers who are unable to compete due to extenuating circumstances such as recovering from a racing accident. We wish Kyle the best of luck in the balance of the season, and look forward to his return to the car this week for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway."(NASCAR)(5-13-2015)

      • What will it take for Kyle Busch to make the top 30? Kyle Busch returns to the #18 M&M's Toyota for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte. To race for a title in the 10-race, season-ending Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Busch must win one of the next 15 races, receive a medical waiver from NASCAR and either finish in the top 30 in points, or receive another NASCAR waiver for that requirement as well. Right now, #14-Tony Stewart is 30th in points, with 179 after 11 races. Over 26 races, that projects to about 423 points. For Busch to get 423 points -- and ultimately, the 30th-place driver likely will have slightly more or less than 423 -- he'd have to average 28.2 points in the next 15 races. So far this season, the top 11 drivers in the Sprint Cup standings have averaged at least 28.2 points per race.( )
        AND Last year, #38-David Gilliland was 30th in the standings after the September Richmond race with 407 points. Over the past four years, the average point total for 30th place in the driver standings is 420.8 points. Factoring that, Busch would need to average a 16th-place finish to be in the top 30 when the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins in September. #14-Tony Stewart is 30th in the points at the Sprint All-Star break with 179 points in 11 races (an average of 16.3 points per race). If that pace continues for whoever finishes 30th in the points before the Chase begins in September, they would have 423 points. Busch would need to average a 15th-place finish to reach the top 30 in points(NBC Sports)(5-13-2015)

      • NASCAR Lifts Kurt Busch's Suspension; will be Chase-eligible: NASCAR announced that, effectively immediately, the indefinite suspension of Kurt Busch has been lifted. He is eligible to return to NASCAR racing under indefinite probation subject to additional mandatory requirements that include but are not limited to participation in a treatment program and full compliance with any judicial requirements placed upon him. On Feb. 20, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 car, was found to be in violation of:
        • Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing
        • Section 12.8: Behavioral Penalty
        The decision to lift the suspension was made by NASCAR after Kurt Busch:
        • Complied with all requirements in its reinstatement program;
        • Completed the mandatory behavioral assessment sessions; and
        • The behavioral health care expert who conducted the sessions recommended to NASCAR that Kurt Busch be allowed to return to competition.
        Kurt Busch now will undergo additional steps to address the behavior for which he was penalized.
        The requirement that a driver must compete in all Championship Events of the current season to be eligible for The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has been waived for the period of Kurt Busch's suspension. Assuming he returns to NASCAR Sprint Cup competition, Kurt Busch would have zero Championship points to date after missing the Daytona 500 and the two most recent NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
        "As we stated last week, the elimination of the possibility of criminal charges removed a significant impediment to Kurt Busch's return to full status as a NASCAR member," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer. "We therefore have decided to move him to indefinite probation and waive the Chase requirement. He has fully complied with our reinstatement program during his suspension and the health care expert who conducted his evaluation recommended his immediate return. "We have made it very clear to Kurt Busch our expectations for him moving forward, which includes participation in a treatment program and full compliance with all judicial requirements as a result of his off-track behavior."(NASCAR)(3-11-2015)

      • NASCAR Clarifies Chase Eligibility: To be eligible to compete in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, drivers must start each race for which they have qualified, unless the sanctioning body finds reason to waive that requirement. That change, announced in a bulletin on Wednesday morning modifies the language of Rule 17.6.2.1.a, which last year required drivers to attempt to qualify for each event to retain Chase eligibility. Under the current provision, drivers still must attempt to qualify for each race, but they also must start every race for which they qualify successfully, unless NASCAR authorizes otherwise. A driver does not lose Chase eligibility for attempting to qualify for a race and failing to make the field. The clarified rule would apply in a situation where #41-Kurt Busch, for example, were to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, race in the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday (as he did last year), but fail to return to Charlotte in time to start the Cup race. In that event, NASCAR would be unlikely to grant a waiver. On the other hand, NASCAR already has indicated that #55-Brian Vickers, who will miss the first two events of the season while recovering from offseason heart surgery, retains his Chase eligibility because of a medical exception.(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-19-2015)

      • No changes to Chase in 2015: NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said Monday afternoon that the format for the new Chase for the Sprint Cup will be unchanged for 2015. France, speaking at the kickoff event for the 2015 Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, said the sanctioning body is coming off "perhaps its best Chase ever" and is carrying a lot of momentum into the season. Last year was the first time NASCAR used the expanded format for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, with a field of 16 drivers and a winner-take-all elimination format in the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(FoxSports)(1-26-2015)

      • NASCAR Introduces Special Paint Scheme Elements For Chase Contenders: Celebrating the accomplishments of those drivers who will contend for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, NASCAR has released several new elements to the paint schemes of race cars making the 16-driver Chase Grid.
        Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup-eligible cars will have the roof number, the front splitter / front fascia and the windshield header colored yellow, as well as have a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup logo affixed to the front-quarter panel of their race car.
        As part of NASCAR's emphasis on winning races all season long, this celebratory paint scheme will be placed on a driver's car to begin the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 14. Once a driver is eliminated after one of the Chase's first three rounds, the paint scheme will be removed from the car.
        These changes serve as a visible symbol of the new Chase format. In addition, the paint scheme elements will ensure that fans are able to easily identify each championship contender as NASCAR's playoffs progress. Announced by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France in January, the new championship format expands the Chase field to 16 drivers, up from 12 in previous years, and implements a new round-by-round advancement format that ultimately will reward a battle-tested, worthy champion. A victory in the first 26 races all but guarantees a berth in the 10-race Chase, which will air exclusively on the ESPN family of networks. The number of championship drivers in contention for the championship decreases after every three Chase races, culminating with four drivers racing for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, scheduled for November 16.(NASCAR)(7-15-2014)

      • NASCAR Announces Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Format Change: 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 #3; eight after Chase race #6; and four after Chase race #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 #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 #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 #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.
        All rules outlined above also apply to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner championship structure.(NASCAR)(1-30-2014)

      • Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Format Change FAQ: NASCAR Q&A about the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup:
        Q. Does this new Chase format emphasize winning?
        A. Absolutely. The easiest way to make the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is to win. And winning is also the fastest way to advance in the Chase and become one of the four drivers competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
        Q. How will the Chase Grid drivers be selected?
        A. Positions 1-16 on the Chase Grid will be determined by the drivers with the greatest number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins after the first 26 races. However, the 16th position is reserved for the points leader if he/she does not have a win.
        Q. How will the Chase Grid be seeded?
        A. All drivers will have their points total reset to 2,000 points. Drivers receive 3 additional bonus points for each win during the fir st 26 races.
        Q. Is there a minimum points standing that a driver who records a win during the first 26 races must achieve to make the Chase Grid?
        A. Yes. A driver must be in the Top 30 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points following the first 26 races AND have attempted to qualify for all of the first 26 races.
        Q. What if a driver is prevented from competing in one or more of the first 26 races due to injury or illness?
        A. NASCAR, for rare instances, can waive the requirement of attempting to qualify for all of the first 26 races as long as the driver is in the Top 30 in points.
        Q. Which races are the advancement races?
        A. Once the field is reset after the 26th event, there are advancement races following the 29th event (Dover); 32nd event (Talladega); and 35th event (Phoenix). There will be four drivers competing for the Sprint Cup Championship at Homestead.
        Q. Will lap leader bonus points still be applied?
        A. In all but the final race, bonus points for laps led still will be awarded in the Challenger, Contender and Eliminator Rounds. However, at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, the four drivers will start the race tied and there will be no bonus points .for laps led, etc. The highest finisher among that group will be the champion.
        Q. What happens to a Chase Grid driver's points if he/she doesn't advance to the next round?
        A. Drivers who don't advance to the next round will have their point totals reset to the Chase-start base of 2,000 (with any regular-season wins bonus points), plus the additional points they've earned during the Chase.(NASCAR)(1-30-2014)

      • New points system, Earnhardt Jr. would had won championship in 2013: In announcing major changes to the Chase for the Sprint Cup on Thursday, NASCAR chairman Brian France touted an emphasis on winning as a primary reason behind the format. But it turns out last year's champion, if the new rules were applied, would have been #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who didn't win a race. According to economist Andrew Maness, who runs the nascarnomics.com site, Earnhardt would have made the final race along with Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon. NASCAR's Mike Forde confirmed the lineup. The driver who won the most races last season, Matt Kenseth with seven, would not have been eligible for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(USA Today)(1-31-2014)

      • NASCAR announces changes for 2011 season: NASCAR announced Wednesday that it has added a wild card element to setting the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field and it has simplified its points system for 2011, making it easier for fans, competitors and the industry to understand.
        While the 12-driver Chase field remains intact, the final two spots will be determined by the number of wins during the first 26 races.
        The top 10 in points following Race No. 26 - the "cutoff" race - continue to earn Chase berths.
        Positions 11 and 12 are "wild card" qualifiers and will go to non-top-10-ranked drivers with the most wins, as long as they're ranked in the top 20 in points. The top-10 Chase drivers will continue to be seeded based on wins during the first 26 races, with each win worth three bonus points. The wild card drivers will not receive bonus points for wins and will be seeded 11th and 12th, respectively. It's a move aimed towards rewarding winning and consistency during the regular season.
        Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, made the announcements at the NASCAR Hall of Fame during NASCAR's annual media event as part of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour.
        "The fans tell us that winning matters the most with them, so we're combining the tradition of consistency in our sport with the excitement that comes along with winning," said France. "This makes every race count leading into the 26th race of the season at Richmond, when we set the field for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup."
        The new points system - which applies to all NASCAR national series - will award points in one-point increments. As an example, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, race winners will earn 43 points, plus three bonus points for the win. Winners also can earn an extra point for leading a lap and leading the most laps, bringing their total to a possible maximum of 48 points.
        All other drivers in a finishing order will be separated by one-point increments. A second-place finisher will earn 42 points, a third-place driver 41 points, and so on. A last-place finisher - 43rd place - earns one point. In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the last-place finisher receives eight points, to account for that series' 36-driver race field.
        "Many of our most loyal fans don't fully understand the points system we have used to date," said France, referencing the system that has been in use since 1975. "So, we are simplifying the points system to one that is much easier to understand. Conceptually, it is comparable to our previous system, but it is easier to follow."
        During his remarks Wednesday night, France reflected on the outstanding competition the sport enjoyed in 2010 and expected to see that high-caliber of racing to continue once the green flag drops for the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 Feb. 20.
        "NASCAR enters 2011 with positive momentum and a great sense of excitement and optimism," said France. "We're extremely excited for the launch of the season. Leading the season off with Daytona, Phoenix and Las Vegas, we believe our fans are in store for some of the best racing the sport has to offer."
        Other competitive enhancements announced Wednesday:
        Pick a Series - Drivers in all three national series now must select the series where they'll compete for a driver championship. Drivers still may compete in multiple series and help their teams win owner titles in series where they're not competing for a driver title. The move helps spotlight young talent in the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
        New Qualifying Procedure - The qualifying order will be set based upon slowest to fastest practice speeds.
        Inclement Weather Qualifying - If bad weather cancels qualifying, the final starting lineup will be determined by practice speeds. The same rule book procedures will be used to determine eligibility to start a race. If weather cancels practice sessions, then the starting lineup will be set by points, per the rule book.
        Tire Rules Revision - NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams now are allowed five sets of tires for practice and qualifying instead of six. They must return four of those sets to Goodyear in order to receive their race allotment, and may keep one set of practice/qualifying tires. Tire allotments for race weekends will vary according to historical performance data.
        Closed Loop Fueling System - Introduced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, this goes into effect for all three national series in 2011. It combines a more efficient fueling system with the elimination of the catch-can man, considered the most "vulnerable" pit-crew member. Teams now will use six, rather than seven, over-the-wall pit-crew members.
        Evolution Of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Car - NASCAR continues to work with the manufacturers and teams to enhance the look of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. The cars have new fronts this season and the body makeover will continue to help appeal to fans and aid manufacturer identity.
        (NASCAR)(1-26-2011)

      • Some additional notes about series changes:
        • The last two spots of the Chase will go to the drivers with the most wins who aren't in the top 10 in the standings, but still ranked in the top 20. If there's a tie, the playoff spot goes to the driver with the most points.
        • If no drivers have wins after the 10th position, the last two positions in the Chase will go to the 11th and 12th place drivers.
        • The wild card drivers will receive no bonus points and will start with a base of 2,000 points. The previous Chase featured a 5,000-point base and 10 points per win to start the Chase.
        • Any penalties will be adjusted for the new system.Last year some penalties were as high as 150 points.
        • If qualifying gets rained out, drivers that make the race will be the same, based on the rule book (top 35, past champion, race winners, etc), but the starting positions will be determined by practice speeds.
        • Points will not be given to owners that do not make the race, but NASCAR will keep track of attempts.
        • There will be no changes to the top-35 rule.
        • No mention was made of altering race start times.
        (1-27-2011)

      • Some highlights from Friday's NASCAR Press Conference: NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton held a press conference at Daytona International Speedway on Friday. Some notes and highlights:
        NASCAR president Mike Helton confirmed Friday that drivers will be allowed to race for only one championship this season. The rule is designed to prevent Sprint Cup drivers from dominating the second-tier Nationwide Series. Full-time Cup drivers have won the last five Nationwide titles. Helton also said NASCAR is leaning toward a simpler points system for all three of its national series. Helton says bonus points would be added to put an emphasis on winning races (ESPN).
        Helton also indicated that a new points system is coming to the top three series. It likely will be one in which points are awarded one per position from with the winner getting 43 points and the last place driver just one. There likely will be bonus points offered to encourage drivers to race for wins and to keep championships from being decided by consistency alone. And there are expected to be provisions that allow drivers who don't finish the regular season in the elite group but have won races to have a shot at being added to the Chase field. He said the goal is to make the points system easier to understand for casual fans as well as those more familiar with the sport.
        The rookie of the year program also is expected to undergo some changes. With no rookie drivers signed up to run full-time in Cup this year, adjustments likely will be made to deal with a rookie like Trevor Bayne, who is signed to drive the Wood Brothers' #21 Ford but only has 17 races scheduled this year.
        Helton said starting times for Cup races, which were standardized last year, could see some changes. He said the times might need to be adjusted given the length of the NASCAR season. Last year, races started just after 1 pm, 3 pm. or 7:30 pm depending on the location of the track.
        NASCAR appears to be on pace to switch from carburetors to fuel injection, but fuel injection won't be used in points-paying Cup races this year. Cars will run on an ethanol blend fuel and a new fueling system that doesn't require a traditional vent will be used.(RacinToday)
        Helton also said the sanctioning body has not made a decision concerning possible changes to the championship point systems for the 2011 Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. He admitted, however, that the move is receiving serious consideration in an attempt to make those championships simpler for fans to understand. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France is expected to announce the sanctioning body's final decision next Wednesday (Sirius Speedway)(1-21-2011)

      • How would had points looked in 2010 using 'simpler' method?: Tom Bowles from Sports Illustrated redid the 2010 points, using the possible new and simpler points system that NASCAR may go to according to an AP report. Here is the final top 12:
        #48-Jimmie Johnson: 388
        #29-Kevin Harvick: 387
        #11-Denny Hamlin: 386
        #99-Carl Edwards: 340
        #17-Matt Kenseth: 314
        #16-Greg Biffle: 293
        #14-Tony Stewart: 287
        #24-Jeff Gordon: 279 (+1 spot over current system)
        #33-Clint Bowyer: 272 (+1)
        #18-Kyle Busch: 267 (-2)
        #2-Kurt Busch: 265
        #31-Jeff Burton: 232
        But what about the bonus points, you're asking? That hasn't been divulged by NASCAR either, but let's pretend it's one point for leading a lap, two extra for leading the most and a three-point bonus for winning. So that would mean the max a driver could score per race is 48, leaving a possible 47-point swing between first and last place.(see full article at the Sports Illustrated)(1-19-2011)

      • NASCAR may scrap points system? UPDATE: NASCAR is considering scrapping the points system it has used since 1975 in favor of a simpler method that awards points per finishing position. The overhauling of the system is one of a handful of changes NASCAR is considering implementing before the season begins next month. Series officials have been detailing their ideas in individual meetings with teams. The sanctioning body wants to go to a scoring system that would award 43 points to the race winner, and one point less for each ensuing position down to one point for the 43rd-place finisher. NASCAR is also shying away from wholesale changes to its Chase for the Sprint Cup championship format. Teams have been told NASCAR is leaning toward keeping it a 12-driver field, with one caveat: The top 10 drivers following the 26th race of the season would qualify for the Chase, while the remaining two spots would go to the drivers with the most wins who are not already eligible for the Chase. Preseason testing begins Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, and NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton are scheduled to discuss some of the changes planned for 2011. But the major announcements aren't scheduled until next week when France makes a presentation during Charlotte Motor Speedway's annual media tour. NASCAR is still debating how to award bonuses under a straight points system, and ideas being considered are for anywhere from one to three points being given to lap leaders and race winners.(in part from the Associated Press)(1-17-2011)
        UPDATE: Ramsey Poston, NASCAR managing director of corporate communications, said the sanctioning body has bounced several new competition ideas around to drivers and car owners in a recent series of town hall meetings. "NASCAR executives, including chairman and CEO Brian France, are in the process of meeting with drivers and team owners," Poston said in a phone interview Monday night. "In those meetings we have discussed a number of ideas for potential changes for the coming season, none of which have been finalized at this point." NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton will address 2011 rule changes in a news conference scheduled Friday at Daytona International Speedway. "We need to balance stories from past and look to the future to make things better," Speedway president Joie Chitwood III said from his home Monday night.
        Darrell Waltrip won three Cup championships during his driving career, all with the current points system [but no Chase]. Contacted at his home near Nashville, Tenn., Monday night, he said changing the points would have little effect on who wins the championship. "If you run the numbers, I guarantee you it comes out the same," said Waltrip, now a racing analyst for Fox Sports. "It's all perception. I've said all along, when we can't explain it, so the people at home can understand it, it needs to be addressed. If you look at the history, 90% of the time, the championship comes down to two guys, sometimes three." Chitwood said he hopes to see the change because it would make the points system easier for fans to understand. "We can never stop improving our sport, whether it is what we do at the track or what NASCAR does to manage competition," Chitwood said.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-18-2011)

      • Looks like some changes coming to the Chase: NASCAR likely will make tweaks to the Chase format for next season, although probably not changes as extensive as initially assumed when chairman Brian France said in July that the governing body was looking at ways to create a Game 7 atmosphere. Officials likely will expand the playoff field from 12 to 15 and reset the points with two or three races remaining to guarantee there is another drama-filled finish such as the one we have going into Sunday's finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "What's really clear to me is when you put drivers in a position where there's a lot on the line, and they just can't have a good position and they actually have got to go out and win or lead laps or compete high, they do it," France said. "You're seeing that the last several weeks ... and I bet that's the case on Sunday. So that tells us that the more we can do, to have incentives -- an incentive basis and decide this championship, that puts it all on the line more often -- that's what we need to be thinking about." France will tell you creating this drama is "exactly what drivers want," even though Clint Bowyer started off Friday's media gatherings by saying, "I don't think they need to change the Chase." France will tell you it's what members of NASCAR's fan council and fans in general want. When it was suggested that there are fans who not only don't want to see changes but would like to see the Chase eliminated, France scoffed. "You met somebody that's telling you that?" he asked. Well, yeah. Hundreds, if not thousands. Just read some of the comments from [ESPN's] readers. "OK," France said. "Well, look, I mentioned to you that every -- almost every league and tournament -- is taking a look at their playoff or format style," France said. "Some will do a little; some will do nothing at all; and some might do something more drastic. And so I don't know what we are going to do, if anything."
        France doesn't want to announce any changes that will detract from this race. But change is coming. It could come by the season-ending banquet in Las Vegas. The only change [drivers] seem to want is a rotating schedule for the final 10 races. That is being seriously looked at for 2012 and beyond.(in part from ESPN)
        AND Key points from France's 30-minute Meet the Press here Friday:
        -- No decision has been made on what tweaks to make to the championship points system.
        -- He is planning shorter Saturday Nationwide races, coupled with some cost-cutting rules migrating up from the Truck series, such as using engines more than one race.
        -- He likes ESPN's production package and on-air talent, but he is reconsidering the starting times of Sunday races.(MikeMulhern.net)(11-20-2010)

      • Latest on possible Chase changes: NASCAR is examining several options at altering the Chase format. The options include increasing the number of Chase drivers to 15, turning the 10-race Chase into an elimination tournament, going to some different tracks and creating a separate points system for the Chase drivers separate from the rest of the field. "We're going to make changes in the Chase that we think would serve us well for many, many years," NASCAR chairman Brian France said earlier this year. "If that means it's not something we're reacting to, whether it's lower ratings than we want ... we look at these things annually. We looked at it very hard last year ... but we didn't think the timing was right. But whatever we do, it will be with the industry having lots of chances to weigh in, and us in the end thinking this is something that we can build around that enhances winning, enhances the championship, gives us more of a playoff field than we currently have now, if that's where we end up."
        One proposal that has been suggested by ESPN, which televises the Chase, is an elimination format where drivers are eliminated from contention each week until two remain going into the season finale at Homestead. Whoever finishes highest in that race would be declared the champion.
        Another suggestion is the separate point system for the Chase drivers in which they're credited points as if it were a race within a race. That system would keep all 12 Chase drivers in contention as opposed to now when, for all intents and purposes, the last four drivers in this year's Chase are already out of the running after two races (Kansas City Star.(10-3-2010)

      • NASCAR won't inspect more Chase cars after races: NASCAR has considered taking all 12 Chase For The Sprint Cup cars following each race for more thorough inspections, but hasn't seen widespread issues that would require such extensive follow-up, NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said Friday. NASCAR takes the race-winning car and at least one other car to its research and development center in North Carolina after every race to make sure the car and how the body sits on the frame meets NASCAR regulations. It was in that inspection at the research and the development center that it found the race-winning car of Clint Bowyer to be illegal on Wednesday, three days after he won the first Chase race at New Hampshire. The failure of his car has prompted talk that NASCAR should take more Chase cars, and possibly all 12, following each event in the Chase. "We've done several hundred cars, and if a team has an issue, problem or [is] headed in the wrong direction, we talk about it and they go fix the problem," Pemberton said prior to practice Friday at Dover International Speedway. "We haven't had anything [illegal] in almost two years and that was light sheet metal. We haven't really had a problem. ... If someday it winds up being there, fine. But right now our processes work quite well. We feel like the majority of the garage has done things correctly. From time to time, we find things that are not out of the box but are to the zero-margin. It hasn't been an epidemic in any way shape or form." The equipment used to conduct the complicated frame inspections cannot easily be moved to the track and that's one of the reasons why it is done at the research center. The plates the cars sit on during the inspection weigh thousands pounds and all of the equipment would need to be recalibrated if moved off site, Pemberton said. He said there are no plans to try to do those inspections at the Chase-determining race at Richmond nor the season finale at Homestead.(Scene Daily)(9-24-2010)

      • Chase Changes still up in the air: NASCAR officials continue to discuss possible changes to the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the 2011 season and beyond. With NASCAR chairman Brian France having promised significant changes, officials are continuing to debate the positives and negatives of switching to a format that would include driver eliminations as the Chase progresses. The most controversial part of the discussions centers on the concept of a winner take all format in the final race of the season. France wants to add what he has described as "World Series game seven" excitement and tension to the closing weeks of the season, but some drivers have stressed that NASCAR should continue to consider drivers' body of work during the season.(Ford)
        AND: am hearing that amonmg many scenarios that NASCAR is considering are:
        1) the top 16 drivers enter the chase and they reset the points. After the 5th race in the chase, the top 8 in those point standings move on and the bottom 8 are eliminated from the chase. The points are then reset for the top 8. After race 9, the top 4 move onto the last race and the bottom 4 are eliminated from the chase. The points are then reset for the top 4.(supposedly this is the one that is least being considered as it is a tad confusing)
        2) the top 16 start for the chase. After race 5, the top 8 move on and the bottom 8 are eliminated. The points are then reset for the top 8. After race 7, the top 4 move on and the bottom 4 are eliminated. The points are then reset for the top 4. After race 9, the top 2 move on and the bottom 2 are eliminated. The points are then reset for the top 2.(9-5-2010)

      • NNS to get the Chase? UPDATE doubtful: NASCAR officials are considering a possible Chase playoff format for the Nationwide Series next season that would exclude Sprint Cup competitors, sources confirmed Tuesday. NASCAR president Mike Helton met with Nationwide Series team owners, drivers and crew chiefs Monday in Concord, N.C., to discuss cost-containment ideas and possible changes that would allow a Nationwide-only driver to win the championship. If implemented, a Nationwide Series Chase probably would have fewer drivers and fewer races than the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which has 12 drivers for the final 10 events. Full-time Sprint Cup drivers have won the past four Nationwide Series titles and a Cup driver probably will win it again this season. Brad Keselowski holds a commanding lead over Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch, all three of whom are Cup regulars. NASCAR wants to bring more attention to Nationwide Series drivers who don't compete regularly in the Cup series. Officials discussed the possibility of limiting or eliminating points for a Cup driver who ranks in the top 35 in the Cup standings. Cup drivers still could compete in all the Nationwide events, but not compete for the championship. The team owner of those cars would continue to receive owners points, which would allow the car to win the owner's championship, but not the driver championship. Teams also talked about making sure the new Nationwide car, which is the same chassis as the Cup car with the same safety features, remains different from the Cup version.(ESPN.com)(8-17-2010)
        UPDATE: Whether that proposal will become a reality remains a question, as NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France told ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett that he doubted the Nationwide series would get a Chase. "I don't think so. It's a shorter season, for starters with 10 fewer races or so. That would create some issues," France said. "We have four national divisions, so we've got to distinguish them and doing too many things wouldn't do that. I don't think you'll see that." However, France said creating a structure where a Nationwide regular can win that series instead of a Sprint Cup regular remains a goal.(ESPN)(8-18-2010)

      • Elimination style Chase still under consideration? UPDATE: Wondering what topics were discussed during the most recent NASCAR Town Hall Meeting this week? If [Fox Sports'] sources are correct, the times they are a changin' - again. Let's start with the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup format. For now, the one format being discussed [is] where the top 15 drivers in the points standings are selected for an elimination-style championship. The first five drivers could be ousted, say, after the first four races and five more drivers knocked out depending on points perhaps four or five races later. The five left standing will battle for a winner-take-all in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway - or whatever race NASCAR determines to place in that pivotal position on the schedule. Other hot topics included: The schedule, Changes to the Nationwide Series where Sprint Cup drivers in the top 35 would not be able to compete against full-time development drivers, The addition of more testing, and Fuel injection.(Fox Sports)(7-24-2010)
        UPDATE: NASCAR officials are still debating several changes to the Chase For The Sprint Cup format for next year but are leaning toward a system that would eliminate drivers from the playoffs, NASCAR Chairman Brian France said Sunday. France didn't give much insight into what could be changed. He said he will attend focus groups with fans in two weeks to get their input and is still cultivating reaction from the NASCAR industry to a variety of proposals. "Regarding the options that we have on the table, the only ones we would consider are ones that would make winning at a given moment more important than they are today," France said Sunday prior to the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "How you do that? There's a number of ways to do that. It comes with some version as you go along where certain races in the Chase, you have to win or do very, very well, to in fact move on. When you peel that back and look at it, it's not that different," It is possible no changes will be made, France said. "We haven't made a decision. We may not think the timing is right. ... Not changing the Chase is definitely a viable option," he said. "The Chase, although we haven't seen the results of that as often as we'd like, is certainly better than the total consistency model that was in place for so many years."(Scene Daily)(7-26-2010)

      • NASCAR looking at changes to Chase: UPDATE: NASCAR is considering tweaking the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, with chairman Brian France wanting to create more drama to the title-deciding format. "We want to make sure (the Chase) is giving us the biggest impact moments it was designed to do," France said Friday. "Everything, to us, means pushing the winning envelope to mean what it needs to mean in our sport. We're happy with the Chase, (but) if we can enhance it in a pretty significant way, we may do that." The Chase was one of several topics France covered Friday at Daytona International Speedway during a question-and-answer session. Also under consideration are changes to the second-tier Nationwide Series that could affect the participation of Cup drivers, and scheduling requests made by track operators International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc. for the 2011 season. But it was the Chase that received the most attention as France admitted NASCAR is continuously trying to improve its championship system. France would not talk specifics, but in general terms, his ideas sounded as if NASCAR is considering both eliminations and tweaking the system to ensure that several drivers are in title contention during the season finale. In the past several years, Johnson has had to only preserve a decent finish to wrap up the title with little to no competition. Although unlikely, it's possible, France indicated, that NASCAR won't do anything at all to the Chase. He compared the process over the next few months to what the NCAA recently experienced while considering expanding the field for the men's basketball tournament.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(7-2-2010)
        UPDATE: One change that seems to be gaining support in the garage would be to make the Chase an elimination-style format. Under one scenario, 15 drivers would make the 10-race playoff. After two races, the field would be trimmed to 10. After three more races, the field would be cut to five. After two more, the field would shrink to three drivers, who would then battle for the championship over the last three races. One other idea that's being thrown around is to include a road-course event in the 10-race playoff. If these are truly the best drivers in the world, which is what NASCAR continually pronounces, then the ability to turn right and left should be included when determining a champion.(Sports Illustrated)(7-5-2010)

      • The "Race to the Chase": Securing a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup means doing the math: 10 tracks plus 10 weeks equals intense competition. The "Race to the Chase" - the 10-week stretch that begins Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and ends Saturday, Sept. 11 at Richmond International Raceway - determines the lineup for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. After race No. 26 at Richmond, the top 12 drivers in the standings compete for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title during the final 10 events. They lock down those spots during the Race to the Chase, a summer gauntlet that includes many highlights, notably the traditional Fourth of July weekend race at Daytona International Speedway and the Brickyard 400 at historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The demands begin immediately. Sunday's LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at 1.058-mile New Hampshire takes place on a flat track distinguished by its deceptively difficult turns and tight radiuses. The July 3 event at Daytona features 2.5-miles of high-banked, high-speed action - with all the accompanying holiday fireworks. The July 11 event at Chicagoland Speedway, a 1.5-mile tri-oval, is a growing tradition - Saturday-night action for a third consecutive year. Following an off week, the Race to the Chase resumes July 26 at Indianapolis and its flat, 2.5-mile rectangle. The Aug. 2 event also takes place on a 2.5-mile surface, but Pocono Raceway's triangle is very different with its three distinct turns and long straightaways. NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers hit the road on Aug. 9 for the 2.45-mile road course at Watkins Glen International. They follow on Aug. 16 at Michigan International Speedway, a flat, wide 2-mile track that accommodates numerous strategies. The Race to the Chase ends with three Saturday-night showdowns - the Aug. 21 race at .533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway, the Labor Day weekend event on Sept. 5 at 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway and race No. 26 - the cutoff event - at .75-mile Richmond, another short-track staple. Bonus points become paramount during the Race to the Chase. Chase-eligible drivers are seeded by their win totals through the first 26 races (10 points per win). The driver with the most wins earns the top seed.(NASCAR)(6-24-2010)

      • Chase format could change?: NASCAR officials are meeting with drivers and team owners to discuss possible changes in the sport, including how the Sprint Cup champion is determined. While NASCAR c hairman Brian France has been careful not to make abrupt modifications to the title Chase since its debut in 2004, it seems as if changes are due. The Chase field expanded from 10 to 12 drivers in 2007. NASCAR also began awarding 10 bonus points that year for each race a driver wins before the Chase. NASCAR can examine the Chase and other topics because of the sense that the racing has improved. So the meetings this past week - some still need to be held - provide NASCAR a chance to discuss the Chase, testing, what to do with Cup drivers in Nationwide Series races and other topics. "They're certainly looking at the future," said Jeff Burton, who joined Richard Childress Racing officials in meeting with NASCAR last week. "Every conversation I've ever been in with NASCAR, once a year there's a conversation about the Chase. Does it work? Could it be better? That's almost an annual conversation." With the Chase, some of the questions being asked are about the number of competitors, the format and how to determine the champion. When asked about possible changes about how the champion is determined, Mark Martin said he told series officials: "Go for it." Dale Earnhardt Jr., who also met with series officials last week, said: "I didn't get a sense that there was a guarantee on any major changes." Among some of the ideas involving the Chase would be expanding the field. Based on the percentage of teams that make the Chase (27.9 percent of a 43-car field make it), NASCAR trails other pro sports when compared to the percentage of teams that make the playoffs. One suggestion tossed in the meetings is resetting the points for the top drivers heading into the final race.(Virginian Pilot)(6-16-2010)

      • Chase format could change?: NASCAR officials are meeting with drivers and team owners to discuss possible changes in the sport, including how the Sprint Cup champion is determined. While NASCAR c hairman Brian France has been careful not to make abrupt modifications to the title Chase since its debut in 2004, it seems as if changes are due. The Chase field expanded from 10 to 12 drivers in 2007. NASCAR also began awarding 10 bonus points that year for each race a driver wins before the Chase. NASCAR can examine the Chase and other topics because of the sense that the racing has improved. So the meetings this past week - some still need to be held - provide NASCAR a chance to discuss the Chase, testing, what to do with Cup drivers in Nationwide Series races and other topics. "They're certainly looking at the future," said Jeff Burton, who joined Richard Childress Racing officials in meeting with NASCAR last week. "Every conversation I've ever been in with NASCAR, once a year there's a conversation about the Chase. Does it work? Could it be better? That's almost an annual conversation." With the Chase, some of the questions being asked are about the number of competitors, the format and how to determine the champion. When asked about possible changes about how the champion is determined, Mark Martin said he told series officials: "Go for it." Dale Earnhardt Jr., who also met with series officials last week, said: "I didn't get a sense that there was a guarantee on any major changes." Among some of the ideas involving the Chase would be expanding the field. Based on the percentage of teams that make the Chase (27.9 percent of a 43-car field make it), NASCAR trails other pro sports when compared to the percentage of teams that make the playoffs. One suggestion tossed in the meetings is resetting the points for the top drivers heading into the final race.(Virginian Pilot)(6-16-2010)

      • No changes to the Chase: After tinkering with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase the first few years of its existence, NASCAR went a third consecutive year without changing it. "We had other things to look at,'' NASCAR CEO Brian France said, alluding to a push to make the racing on the track closer. "We still like to look at the Chase over the longest period that we can. We will make changes to the Chase. We already have. We went from 10 to 12 (teams in 2007). It's all inter-connected how the rules packages affect the racing, affects how close things can by. My sense is that we'll look over the offseason for 2011 and see how it plays out and look at the totality of all the other things that we have to consider before we change or adjust the Chase. We like, obviously, the format style. The question is can we make it a little bit better.''(Virginian Pilot)(1-23-2010)

      • Here's a look at how close things have been after three races in previous Chases:
        2009: Six drivers within 100 points of lead
        2008: Three drivers within 100 points of lead
        2007: Three drivers within 100 points of lead
        2006: Five drivers within 100 points of lead
        2005: Five drivers within 100 points of lead (a sixth was exactly 100 back)
        2004: Four drivers within 100 points of lead/(Virginian-Pilot)(10-5-2009)

      • How you start the season, important to make the Chase: People have caught on to how important a good start is in the Chase format, but right here is where you first read about that. We noticed it two years ago and the trends have not changed. Of the 54 drivers who've made the Chase in its first five years, 50 have been in the top 20 after four races. Forty-four have been in the top 15. And 72%, 39 of 54, were in Chase position after four races (the top 10 in 2004-06 or the top 12 the past two years). The four drivers in five years who have come from outside the top 20 after four races to make the Chase were Matt Kenseth and Jeremy Mayfield in 2005, Kevin Harvick in 2006 and Martin Truex Jr. in 2007. A lot was expected out of #5-Mark Martin. If he does turn things around and somehow comes from 34th in the driver standings to make the Chase, it would be historic. Kenseth had 339 points after four races in 2005 and still came back to make the top 10. No driver has made the Chase with a lower four-race points tally. Martin has just 286 points so far this year.(Charlotte Observer/David Poole). A few drivers outside the top 20 expected to compete for the Chase: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (24th), #39-Ryan Newman (32nd) and #5-Mark Martin (34th).(3-14-2009)

      • NASCAR may give "regular-season" bonus in the future: NASCAR is considering creating a reward for the winner of the "regular season" in response to the huge points lead Jeff Gordon built before the Chase for the championship. NASCAR chairman Brian France said earlier this week he is willing to explore the idea of rewarding the driver who is leading the points at the end of the 26th race of the season. Gordon built a lead of more than 300 points, but lost all of it when the field was reset this week for the Chase for the championship. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said Friday that the sanctioning body will discuss the issue during the off season. Among the ideas being kicked around are awarding additional bonus points to be used in the seeding, more prize money or a trophy different from the Nextel Cup.(Associated Press/Yahoo Sports)(9-15-2007)

      • OWNERS: The Owners championship takes the same format as the drivers championship. Owners have their own Chase, so if a team uses more then one driver and is in the Top 12 after 26 races, that TEAM [not driver] would run for the Chase for the owners championship. The drivers would NOT. This means a driver in the Chase would have a team that is NOT in the chase.


      • NASCAR Announces Adjustments to 'Chase' Format and Points System:
        Race victories became more important than ever starting in 2007 as a result of adjustments to the points system and the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format announced late in 2006 by NASCAR. The adjustments are designed to establish more balance between winning and consistency, but there is a new emphasis on the former. "The adjustments taken today put a greater emphasis on winning races," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "Winning is what this sport is all about. Nobody likes to see drivers content to finish in the top 10. We want our sport - especially during the Chase - to be more about winning."

        No Changes in 2010, these rules are the same in 2010:

        The Chase - consisting of the season's last 10 races - will further reflect the importance of racing to win, via a variety of adjustments.

        > During the format's first three years [2004-2006], the top 10 drivers in points after the 26th race of the season (currently Richmond International Raceway) qualified for the Chase; in addition, any other driver outside the top 10 but within 400 points of the standings' leader was also eligible.
        Starting in the 2007 season, the 400-point cut-off is eliminated.

        Also, after Race 26, the top 12 drivers in the points will qualify for the Chase.

        > All 12 drivers will have their point totals re-set to 5,000; each will then receive a 10-point bonus for each race victory they had during the first 26 races.

        > The Chase drivers will be "seeded" to start the Chase based on the number of wins amassed during the regular season.
        Points adjustment: In line with the Chase adjustments, wins throughout the season will be more valuable.

        > Race winners throughout the 36-race season receive 185 points, a five-point increase. Counting the five-point bonuses available for leading at least one lap and leading the most laps, a race winner can earn a maximum of 195 points, creating a possible maximum of 25 points between first- and second-place finishers.

      • How does the Sprint Cup award points to drivers and owners?
        Each driver who competes in a Cup race is awarded points in the following manner: starting at 175 points, dropping 5 points from spots 1-6, 4 points from 7-11 and 3 points from 12th and lower. 43rd is worth 34 points. Bonus points are giving to any driver who leads a lap and to the driver that leads the most laps is awarded an additional 5 bonus points (in a case of a tie, both drivers get the extra points). Owners are awarded points in the same manner, PLUS they get points for attempting a race, where as drivers do not. All teams who pass inspection and fail to make the race get owner points that descend in the order of quickest non-qualifier to the slowest. Those teams earn the position/points immediately below the last car in the field. So if a team misses the race but was the fastest non qualifier the owners would get 31 points and an other drivers would follow the 3 point drop scale, down to a minimum of 1 point. See chart on the NASCAR Points System page


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