NASCAR reveals radical winner-takes-all Sprint Cup title decider
|By Mark Glendenning||Thursday, January 30th 2014, 19:41 GMT|
This year's NASCAR Sprint Cup will be decided by a winner-takes-all finale as part of a revamped Chase for the Championship, series bosses confirmed on Thursday.
Previously, the top 12 drivers in the points after 26 races (top 13 drivers in 2013) had their points reset for the final 10 races, with the championship being determined by who scored the most points during those final events.
Under the new system, which will be introduced this season, 16 drivers will progress to the Chase based on how many races they have won during the first 26 rounds, rather than their points total.
The 16th place will be reserved for the points leader if that driver has not earned a win.
From there, four drivers will be eliminated from the Chase after every three races until just four remain in contention when the series arrives at Homestead for its final round.
NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said that the change is designed to eliminate points racing and put a huge emphasis upon winning races.
"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 France.
"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."
As part of the new system, a driver who wins a race during the Chase will automatically progress to the next phase.
No bonus points will be awarded for laps led in the finale, meaning that the championship will be decided purely by finishing position.