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With Junior leading the standings, NASCAR can abandon the Chase

By admin | July 31, 2012

By Richard Allen


For anyone who has visited this website with any degree of regularity, it is not a well kept secret that this writer loathes the Chase for the Championship. So, I’d be happy with any excuse/reason that would cause NASCAR to abandon the so-called playoff.

With that said, the fact that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has taken the Sprint Cup points lead for the first time since 2004, the opportunity is now there to cast away the championship system.

Many would argue that the Chase system was adopted after Matt Kenseth locked up the 2003 title well before the season finale and thus robbed NASCAR and its television partners of a down-to-the-wire championship battle. So, an artificial means of creating a tight battle was created.

And more, the Chase and the points system itself has been tinkered with several times throughout its history to assure that the battle comes to the last race of the season with fewer points between the leaders. Last year, NASCAR and the television networks involved in the coverage of the sport had their dreams come true when Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards ended in a flat footed tie after the last lap of the season had been completed.

Further, the Chase has also been changed so as to fit more drivers into it. The original format called for ten drivers to be included. Then, that number was expanded to twelve. Finally, the current system of the top-10 in points along with two wildcard inclusions now vie for the series title.

Many would argue, and probably correctly, that the expansion and the wildcard adjustments were made to assure that the sport’s biggest stars would not be left out. After seasons in which the likes of Jeff Gordon, Stewart and Earnhardt missed the Chase, NASCAR simply expanded the number of drivers to make sure those who generate the greatest amounts of revenue would remain relevant throughout the season.

So back to my original argument. With the sport’s most popular driver now at the top of the standings, there is no need to rely on ways to artificially keep him in contention.

As a matter of fact, the current Chase format could very easily work against Junior. After the 26th race of the season in Richmond, the points will be reset and those who have won the most races will be rewarded with a greater number of points. Unless the 88 team adds more wins, there will be several drivers to move ahead of Junior in the standings.

So NASCAR needs to act quickly and abandon the Chase for the Championship while Dale Earnhardt, Jr. leads the Sprint Cup standings. Hey, like I said, I’ll settle for any excuse to get rid of the playoff.

Topics: Articles |

7 Responses to “With Junior leading the standings, NASCAR can abandon the Chase”

  1. zhills fan Says:
    August 1st, 2012 at 3:43 am

    I couldn’t have said it better. Right on.!!

  2. Keith_Kagee Says:
    August 1st, 2012 at 7:09 am

    I’ll go a step further and say cancel the rest of the season.
    Most of the media has Junior’s name already on the trophy.

    Can’t wait to hear The Nation squeal like pigs if things remain as they are and Junior starts the chase in 3rd or 4th place.

  3. Tony Geinzer Says:
    August 1st, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Rich, I’ll beg you and the rest of your NASCAR Buddies for Mercy on the fact that somebody needs to junk the chase because I can’t stand JJ or any other Hendrick Employee for that issue and Sprint doesn’t care about NASCAR and I would prefer a Southern Series and NASCAR Sponsor like Coca Cola who is concerned about everyone from the Young Gun to the Seasoned Sea Salt we all know and love.

  4. Michael in SoCal Says:
    August 1st, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Where are these articles where most of the media has already put Junior’s name on the championship trophy? Especially after Indianapolis, all I’ve heard the media say is Jimmie Johnson will win championship # 6. Not sure where KK is getting his info.

  5. Jim Russell Says:
    August 1st, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I’ve been waiting for someone to bring this up. Thank you, Rich, for doing it. The Chase and the associated tweaks to it have all been done to provide one driver, Junior, the opportunity to be in the running at the end of the year. If other drivers can benefit from the Chase system, fine, but it was designed for Junior. It’s my hope that the system comes back and bites NASCAR in the butt. I’m not a Junior fan but I do recognise that he’s had a very good year. But I’ll admit that I’ll LMAO if the Chase format keeps him from being Champion.

  6. Offkilter Says:
    August 1st, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Michael in so cal, i hear ya.
    Rich, i agree all the tweaks were to give some drivers a better chance of being in the run for the championship. However, it’s kinda beneath you to offer up the take that nascar has accomplished a mission by jr now leading the points. He’d probably be leading even if it were still the old points system. Wish i could find the numbers, but i ran out of patience googling.

  7. Larry Says:
    August 1st, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Yea, I’d like to see these articles saying they have already put Jr.’s name on the trophy. How about putting the links to the articles, I want to read them. Hey look, I’m a Jr. fan but I will be the first to tell you I don’t think right now he is the best driver out there. JJ, Steward, Gordon, Kyle, Carl, and a few others may be better drivers than him. But still, Jr. is a decent driver and now I think he has a good crew chief that he works well with. And, in cup racing, you have to have it all-driver, car, crew, crew chief, owner, and luck. All that being said, I do think Jr. has a legitimate chance of contending for the championship but if I was a betting man I would put my money on JJ. Jr. doing good will help the sport but will not save the sport. Brian France has almost ruined the sport and has lost a lot of core fans. I still don’t like the chase because the champ should be based on the entire season instead of ten races. A champion being crowned before the end of the season is not a big deal in my opinion because you still have guys trying to win races and finish as high as they can in points. And, by not having the chase tv can focus more on the entire field rather than the top twelve drivers. Anyway, Jr. might not be the best driver but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t got a chance to win the championship because the best driver doesn’t alway win.