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NASCAR tweaks Chase for Championship

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Field will be expanded from 10 drivers to 12; victories will be sole criteria for seeding qualifiers.

Not unexpectedly, NASCAR increased the Chase playoff format to include 12 drivers beginning this year, but the series also added an intriguing postseason seeding system that emphasizes race victories.

NASCAR chairman Brian France said the adjustments strike the proper balance between consistency and winning that the series has been seeking since implementing the Chase -- a 10-race playoff now involving the top 12 finishers in points. The first 26 races of the 36-race schedule determine the playoff chase.

"We want to enhance and emphasize winning even more," France said Monday after making the announcement.

The field will expand to include 12 drivers, but victories will be worth 10 bonus points, and those points will be used in determining the seeding for the Chase. All Chase participants will have their points reset to 5,000, and the bonus points will be added to that total.

Victories during the first 26 races are worth 185 points, an increase of five points. Drivers also will receive five points for leading a race lap and five points for leading the most laps during a race.

Kasey Kahne, who had a series-best five victories in the first 26 races last season, barely made the Chase, finishing 10th in points and starting 50 points behind the Chase leader. Had the new plan been in place last year, Kahne, with the 50 bonus points for those victories, would have been seeded first with that 50-point advantage.

Tony Stewart, the defending NASCAR Nextel Cup champion last year, would have made the Chase field had the new format been in place. Greg Biffle also would have been included.

"It sounds good to me," car owner Chip Ganassi said of the new format. "I think it's good because it rewards wins."

The previous format could have included more than 10 drivers, if a driver outside the top 10 was within 400 points of the leader. That never came into play, and the 400-point rule is no longer part of the equation.

"Some are going to think we went too far, some are going to think we didn't go far enough," France said. "Our job is to try to get it, hopefully, just right. The answer is, it puts more emphasis on winning. There's no question about it."

France had said last July he planned to tweak the playoff format he had created in 2004 to match the postseason frenzy that exists in the NFL and college basketball, for instance.

In that first season, five drivers entered the final race with a chance to win the title, but Kurt Busch prevailed, beating Jimmie Johnson by eight points. In 2005, two of the biggest names -- Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- did not make the Chase.

"I'm happy to see NASCAR increase the points for winning a race," team owner Richard Childress said. "It makes winning that much more important."

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redvett

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NASCAR lost me as a viewer after the announced that Toyota was coming on board.
 
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RedVette said:
NASCAR lost me as a viewer after the announced that Toyota was coming on board.
Sorry to hear that, the only thing constant is change! ;)

L8TR - D
 

vett boy

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NASCAR lost me as a viewer after the announced that Toyota was coming on board.
Bet you will be able to get tee shirts that say "anyone except Toyota"I don't mind driving a Toyota from time to time and i've owned a couple.But I hate to see 'em in NASCAR like yourself.It is UN-American.One other note ,the greatest active driver in NASCAR drives a Chevy. (orange);)
 
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IMHO, it won't be long before Honda makes the jump as well. I don't really care what manufacturers are in it. Within the next couple of years when the Care Of Tomorrow takes over you won't be able to tell what kind of car they are driving anyway. Besides, America is supposed to be a big melting pot. That's what has made us great. And there aren't too many things that are more American than Nascar.

Hey, at least Toyota is a legal alien!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!;LOL

Jim
 

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