Round and Round

Ever since Matt Kenseth’s unfathomable1 one-win Sprint Cup championship run, NASCAR hasn’t been able to sit still on tweaking their Championship format. The very next season, NASCAR introduced the Chase for the Championship. I think it’s safe to say it’s been a success … for Jimmie Johnson.

But no four years have been alike with the Chase, as they’ve been tweaking the formula ever since. This year, they expanded the Chase even more while simultaneously placing a “greater emphasis on winning”. To go along with the new emphasis on winning, they’re also highlighting the drivers who are chasing each other with special paint scheme elements for Chase eligible drivers. I actually kind of like this change, though admittedly I’m not sure this isn’t that different from the glowing puck that invaded our television screens twenty years ago courtesy of Fox. It also begs the question – should the cars ineligible for the Chase even be out there to begin with2?

  1. Albeit well-deserved and not necessarily unprecedented, as Terry Labonte garnered two Championships with just two wins.
  2. The quick answer is yes because having the full field running around the track is part of racing. But think about the possibilities for a second. Yeah, there it is.