Chase to Continue in 2006

NASCAR has confirmed that its Chase for the Championship play-off system will continue for its third straight year in 2006

Chase to Continue in 2006

Series officials announced that the ten-race, ten-driver play-off for the overall crown will be used next season while announcing the 2006 calendar. The Chase schedule will feature the same ten tracks as this season.

An official NASCAR statement read: "New Hampshire International Speedway again will host the initial event in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the 10-race stretch that ends the season - and determines the series champion. The third annual Chase will commence September 17."

The Chase for the Championship format has been widely regarded as a success since its introduction in 2004. The Chase has prolonged interest in the gruelling 36-weekend championship by guaranteeing a title battle down to the wire. It has also had the side effect of creating drama in the Race to the Chase, as drivers scrap to be one of the top ten points scorers when the points are reset after 26 races.

NASCAR has yet to announce whether it will amend the points margin that would allow a driver to participate in the Chase even if they are not in the top ten drivers. Currently a driver must be either in the top ten finishers or score within 400 points of the leader if they are to be eligible for the Chase.

Next season's calendar features no major surprises or new circuits, with the Daytona 500 pencilled in for Sunday February 19 and the season finale remaining at Homestead Miami Sunday November 19.

Four tracks have swapped race weeks however. Richmond International Raceway's spring race will be held on May 6, with Darlington Raceway's event on May 13. This season, Darlington preceded Richmond.

Kansas Speedway's 2006 Chase event will be held October 1, followed by Talladega on October 8. This year, Talladega precedes Kansas.

2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup series schedule:

Date Site February 11 Daytona International Speedway* (Budweiser Shootout) February 19 Daytona International Speedway February 26 California Speedway March 12 Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 19 Atlanta Motor Speedway March 26 Bristol Motor Speedway April 2 Martinsville Speedway April 9 Texas Motor Speedway April 22 Phoenix International Raceway April 30 Talladega Superspeedway May 6 Richmond International Raceway May 13 Darlington Raceway May 20 Lowe's Motor Speedway* (NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge) May 28 Lowe's Motor Speedway June 4 Dover International Speedway June 11 Pocono Raceway June 18 Michigan International Speedway June 25 Infineon Raceway July 1 Daytona International Speedway July 9 Chicagoland Speedway July 16 New Hampshire International Speedway July 23 Pocono Raceway August 6 Indianapolis Motor Speedway August 13 Watkins Glen August 20 Michigan International Speedway August 26 Bristol Motor Speedway September 3 California Speedway September 9 Richmond International Raceway September 17 New Hampshire International Speedway September 24 Dover International Speedway October 1 Kansas Speedway October 8 Talladega Superspeedway October 14 Lowe's Motor Speedway October 22 Martinsville Speedway October 29 Atlanta Motor Speedway November 5 Texas Motor Speedway November 12 Phoenix International Raceway November 19 Homestead-Miami Speedway * Non-championship points events 
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Series NASCAR
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