Monday, November 24, 2008

Here's an alternative format for Chase

I have never truly liked the idea of a Chase for the Sprint Cup format that puts everything on the final race to pick a champion.

Some people do. One of the ideas that keeps popping up for that is to "eliminate" a driver from the Chase each week. The driver among those qualifying for the Chase who finishes lowest at Loudon in the first Chase race would be knocked out. The next week at Dover, the driver among the remaining 11 with the worst finish would be out.

That would continue until there are only three drivers left for the final race at Homestead. Then, the driver among those three who finishes best would be the champion.

I hate that for two reasons.

First, and fundamentally, the championship should not hinge on who beats who in one race. That would create a "race for the championship," no dobut, but it would do so in a much more arbitrary and artificial way than the current format tries to do.

This year, for instance, the championship would have come down to Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick at Homestead. While Jimmie Johnson had the most Chase-race points, he would have been knocked out when he finished 15th at Texas.

My second problem with this "last man out" approach is that it would turn the focus in the first nine Chase races to who's running poorly, not who's running well. I am always trying to put the spotlight on who wins races because that's what should be important.

So, if you insist on having it where you have to earn your way into a chance for the championship at Homestead, there'd be a better way to do that.

Instead of saying the worst Chase finisher is eliminated, how about saying anybody who qualifies for the Chase has to WIN a Chase race to earn his way into the championship finale. Only Chase drivers could qualify this way because your regular season has to mean something.

However, to appease all of those who think that the Chase "excludes" people who didn't qualify for it from being part of the final 10 races, let's add this wrinkle. The driver who earns the most points in the first nine Chase race without winning one of those races -- regardless of where he stood in points after 26 races -- earns a "wild card" slot in the championship finale.

At least that way, getting a title shot in the finale would involve winning races and running well and not depend on who doesn't run the worst.

As I said, it's not a road I'd prefer going down. But if you're going down it, you might as well choose the right lane.


Anonymous said...

Is it just me or ever since the Chase was started all anyone does it talk about how to "fix it." You're telling me that is somehow better than simply not having it? I don't buy it.

Monkeesfan said...

No "fix" to the Chase format can make it viable. The format has to be eliminated. Go back to the format of counting all the races for the title, go back to the Latford Point System but add 125 bonus points for winning the race and 100 for most laps led in the race.

Anonymous said...

David, what part of "that is a stupid idea" did Bagley not get through to you this morning? And beyond that you just had to go type it up? Get a fucking life.

Anonymous said...

Finally a thought that mkaes me wonder if you are as big a idiot as i have always thought you to be. But other things hace crept up you need to address. With your views on crews making mistakes and as you have said several times send the entire team home it is about time for you to practice what you preach YOU or someone on your team made spelling mistakes in the above article. Which the responsibility fall's soley on you. So now its time for you to put your money where you mouth is and refund any and all compensation from this article you would receive as well as refund to the sponsor's of this website

Mike Hutton said...

So Snapsels, since you're the self-appointed grammar police officer on this thread, let's take a look at your entry:

1) The first sentence is a fragment.

2) In the first sentence again, any word that begins with a vowel needs to be preceeded with the word "an," not "a."

3) When "I" is used as a personal pronoun, it needs to be capitalized.

4) Your second sentence is also a fragment.

5) "Hace," in your second fragment, should be "have."

6) Your third sentence is a run-on and should be punctuated into about three different clauses.

7) Your fourth sentence is also a fragment. Do you see a pattern yet?

8) "Fall's" cannot be possessive, and therefore shouldn't contain the apostrophe.

9) Soley is mis-spelled.

10) In your fifth sentence, "its" should have an apostrophe so that the contraction would be short for "it is."

11) The word before "mouth" should be "your" and not "you." You got the second person prose correct, you just needed to make it possessive.

12) In the last sentence, "sponsor's" isn't possessive, it's used as the object of a prepositional phrase.

13) You need a period at the end of your last sentence.

People helping people, my friend. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Excellent work, Mr. Hutton!

Anonymous said...

Just a few years ago, NASCAR had the only major sport that could crown an indisputable (if not inarguable) champion.

Now it has the Chase. Sigh.

NASCAR is not the NFL, MLB, NBA or even the NHL. There are no home teams to get the back page of local newspapers, so every time a sport starts a new season, NASCAR will necessarily be pushed off the back page, and the home teams will be on there, Chase or no Chase.

So, here's an idea...make each race an event. Talk about the drivers and teams, and forget about the championship giving the only meaning to the races. There are 36 events - market them, not some contrived system to create artificial excitement. Winning means something, but so does finishing well - celebrate the winners each week, and then, at the end of the season, see who scored the most points for the year. And, voila', there's your champion.

Radical idea, huh? Think it could work? Because I'll tell you one thing - no matter what they do to tweak the Chase, it's still artificial. And, people will be bored with the new format, they'll make more changes, people will get bored, make more changes, and people still get bored. Then what? Draw straws to see who wins?

Rather than chasing their tail, NASCAR should lose the Chase, and market the fact that the old or Classic point system gives you the proper deserving year-long champion, the driver who was the best over a grueling 36 race schedule, and that no other sport in this country can say that.

Anonymous said...

First I am so sick of people going off the deep end about the things David writes. I don't always agree with David,but to call the man names and use foul language shows me that you are the real idiot. And maybe you need to get a life. What gets me is some of you wont even sign your name to what you say. Be a MAN and but your name to what you write and stop hiding behind ANONYMOUS!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

If you were not suffering from cranial anal inversion you would be able to see the point being made.But again a wise man once stated never argue with an idiot its hard to tell who is who

Anonymous said...


Poole's idea can't hurt what they have now

RacewayJay said...

People seem to be united in their hatred for the chase. That's why it will never go away. NASCAR NEVER, EVER seems to care what the fans think.

RacewayJay said...

Here's a novel idea! How about a 36 race "chase" with unlimited teams!

Anonymous said...

Why does NASCAR want to copy other sports playoff?

If teams have to travel for 36 races in a year, then darn it, let them all count towards the championship. Put the old points system back in. End of story.

If the first 26 don't matter than much, then heck, race only a handful of races before the "chase". That would at least save money and keep NASCAR from being so over saturated every weekend for 36 out of 52 weeks a year!

Anonymous said...

Good job Mr. Hutton in setting the grammer and spelling police straight.

Monkeesfan - while I may have liked the old system better for the sake of history, going back to it would not serve a good purpose now and adding more points to that format would only mean they'd probably have a champion decided 6 or 7 races before the end of the season If that were the case there really wouldn't be anyone watching.

David - People get confused enough as it is. Tweaking with all that stuff you listed would just confuse them more.

Personally, I say at the most add 10 or 20 more points for winning a race in the Chase, otherwise leave it alone.

I'd rather see better network coverage of the races; less pre race fluff shows on race day; better and more consistant start times for the races; and last, find a network (2 at the most, first half of the season and last half) and stick with it instead of all the station hopping all year long. That way people would always know what station and what time the race would be on.

Paul Stagg said...

Comment number 1 pretty much nailed it.

The chase is contrived, it doesn't create better racing, and it devalues the first 26 races of the season, which, oh by the way, are the races people are watching because football isn't on.

NASCAR can not compete with football on a national level. NASCAR needs to deal with that, and instead of trying (and failing) to win over football fans, they need to go back to their competitive advantage. They need to focus on their target market first.

The chase doesn't do that. At all.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the Chase. Creates drama and excitement in a part of the season that is usually boring. However, I think we should celebrate the points leader at the end of the "regular season" prior to the start of the Chase. Trophy and a cash bonus.

But to the 11 Chase losers, here's a tip for next year. Don't worry about changing the rules. JUST DRIVE FASTER !!

Anonymous said...

Problem statement: The need is to have some uncertainty in who will be the champion as long as possible - in a competitive as much is possible.
"The Chase" is one format but to various folks it feels artificial or arbitrary.

Possible fix: Rate tracks by skill required to win. Winning at a track requiring more skill results in more points awarded. Short and medium tracks would be worth more than the cookie cutter tracks. The more "competative" the track, the more points awarded, the drivers will work to win those races.... in theory anyway.

Anonymous said...

Ya'll all dum. Donte tells me how to spell. What is a sentunce fragrant anyweigh? Ya'sll stoopid two.

Anonymous said...

Having a "chase" has just ruined what racing is all about. The points leader after 26 races means nothing anymore. What's the sense of racing for the points leads if they are just going to take it away from you after the regular Season? Sooner or later, nascar is going to have to wake up and smell the coffee. This chase system is not working! The old format was working fine. It ma have needed afew tweeks, but all in all, it worked.

Anonymous said...

The onlty sensible move regarding the Chase is to ditch it. Whatever angle you look at the Chase from it hasn't worked; its not as exciting, viewing figures are down and so is race day attendance.

Instead a points system where all 36 races count is worth promoting. The craziest thing is that because of the chase the Daytona 500, Coca Cola 600 and Brickyard 400 count less than a race at New Hampshire!

Really the Chase is dumb and just needs to go.

Anonymous said...

Most of the posts are dead on: it can't be fixed. Get rid of it. Otherwise, just run a green-white-checker with the top three guys at Homestead. I like the comment which said, in essence, that there are 36 races, hence 35 champs.

I admit I used to play with the idea of fixing or tweaking the chase, but no more. Lipstick and pigs and all that ...

Anonymous said...

with the current US economy, NASCAR
will be fortunate to fill the field
at all races in 2009.
here's my idea:
do whatever it takes to fill the stands/attract the fans/and show
that NASCAR cares. there's lots
of ways to do that. minor league
baseball tries about everything.
they have NEVER tried The Chase.

Anonymous said...

David, I love your commentary and columns. I am a self appointed grammar/spelling policeman. In this column, you wrote, '...would create a "race for the championship," no dobut, but...'

I believe you meant to type 'doubt.'

Anonymous said...

Well well well David, seems the chase isn't the favorite of everybody now is it? You should forward these comments to your boy Brian. And Hutton, STFU

Monkeesfan said...

Pam J. - you're assuming nothing would change competitively if they still had the Latford System but with a potential points "swing" of 225 factored into every race - i.e. a race winner who led the most laps would gain 225 more points than second place. I cannot see any scenario under such a system where the rest of the field would ever let any one driver lead that many laps or win that many races as to lock up the title with six or seven races remaining, because that's far too many points to let any one driver get in one race.

To the anonymous who claimed the Chase adds drama - where is the drama?

WideTrax - where do the short tracks require more skill than the "cookie cutters?"

Anonymous said...

I've advocated the following format for many years: fastest 43 qualifiers make the race. For championship purposes, only the top 30 finishes are counted towards the title. This gives 6 "mulligans" throughout the year - DNQ, DNF, etc. Bonus points awarded for leading at the 1/4 mark, 1/2 mark, 3/4 mark and most laps led. This puts emphasis on racing throughout the race instead of stroking til the end. Bonus points for winning the pole. Bonus points for winning races. All emphasis should be placed on winning and running up front.

Anonymous said...

The Chase is worthless. Many drivers admitted early on in the season that they were only points racing in order to position themselves for the Chase.

Why does the points system have to be so complicated? How about something similar to the Champ/IRL points system? Perhaps something like awarding points for the pole, points for leading the most laps and then a graduated point award depending on the drivers' finish. At least this way, you'll have drivers actually racing for ALL races and not just to keep themselves in the hunt for the Chase.

Mike Hutton said...

Anonymous 11, 6:07PM 11/25 - Your profanity means SO much to me when you hide behind an anonymous name.

I might even take your suggestion if I knew from where it came.

Anonymous said...

I told you it was stupid poole

Anonymous said...

First State Hillbily Here we are talking about something that is so screw up that it can't be fixed. The only fair way is to have a points system for the Drivers in the Chase. But enough for that I belive we should all be thinking about all the lost jobs because of the high pay for drivers and owners. Just think how much Jr. Jeff and Jimmy could take less in pay to keep 12 people working at Hendricks. How bout the 100 plus at DEI. How bout selling a airplane or two to keep people working. How bout us staying away and let our money talk to NASCAR and the race teams. An while were at it lets include ball players and anyone else that demands millons of dollar while you and I worry about our jobs and our next pay check covering the bills. Gm paying Tiger seven millon a year. Think how many employees could be working. Or how much less a car could cost.

Anonymous said...

Are you the Real texman?

Anonymous said...

All that Idiot BF had to do was give the winner 225 points and second 175 and so on like the Latford system then he would of been called a genius.In no other professional sport do you play all your competion at the same time like you do racing this is why the chase makes no sense. Eliminate the lucky dog and race back to the yellow if you are ahead of the wreck. There was hardly ever a wreck racing back to the flag. Increase the pit road speed during green flag racing. The reason the ratings are down is that this is not the same sport we grew up watching.

Anonymous said...

I guess all of you don't realize, the so called Chase, is no different than the old points system, when Kenseth won his championship. But...hey...just give it a new name and people will "think" it's new and different. Talking about fooling NASCAR fans all of the least some of the fans all of the time. All NASCAR championships including the so called Chase championships have all been decided on CONSISTENCY!!! Consistency through all of the 36 races or however many races were on the schedule for that particular year.

Some race fans need to get a life. NASCAR is not football, baseball, hockey, etc.

The closest thing I can think of to eliminating chase contenders is to have an Australian pursuit race each week, until one driver is left standing and having not lost an Australian Pursuit race at each of the final 10 races.

Anonymous said...

The FED-EX CUP and SPRINT’s CHASE are among the biggest fiascos in sport’s history. Driven by greed the PGA and NASCAR are reaping what they deserve for annihilating and insulting the true patrons of the sport and obliterating the basics of competition.

Anonymous said...

Kenseth/Roush wins one race and takes the championship and it bothers the power dudes in Daytona because it was mundane. New format. Johnson/Hendrick win three titles in a row. Mundane. But no change. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

How about we eliminate the Chase system and award a 100 point bonus to the winners of any of the last ten races of the season? No lead would be insurmountable and the focus would be entirely on winning. I have always thought that awarding more points for winning and awarding the same points for 25th and back would tighten the standings up naturally. But since NASCAR seems intent on giving a playoff appearance to the end of the season, awarding a huge bonus for wins would do the trick. The 10 point bonuses for wins during the regular season just don't end up amounting to much in practice. Winning is still not the most important thing. Stack the points awarded heavily at the top and do not penalize a driver so much for having an occasional bad finish. Obviously, this would be a monkey wrench into the whole "top-35" automatically qualify, but I think most agree that deal was doomed from the start. It won't happen, but the Chase is just way too fake. There are more legit ways to tighten the points standings and NASCAR could have gone several different routes. More points for winning is the only way to go.

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the chase, the last 10 races are boring if your driver is not in it. I am not crazy about Kyle Bush but I truly beleive he got screwed at the end.

Anonymous said...

There was a mention of golf's FedEx Cup. At least the winner of the FedEx Cup is touted as that - winner of the FedEx Cup. He is NOT called the season champion of golf. And now, of course, they're going to change THAT system, too. Why do we have this compelling need to bring it down to the final day to decide a champ?

Monkeesfan said...

Mulligans are stupidity squared. It doesn't put emphasis on racing all race long; letting teams throw away finishes cheats the entire season.

Anonymous said...

The FED-EX CUP and SPRINT’s CHASE are among the biggest fiascos in sport’s history. Driven by greed the PGA and NASCAR are reaping what they deserve for annihilating and insulting the true patrons of the sport and obliterating the basics of competition.

Unknown said...

A really simple solution, that I feel would work, would be to allow the points leader after Race 26 to maintain that lead starting the Chase.

The other 11 (should go to 9) drivers would then all be that equal distance back of the leader. For example, if Kyle Busch led by 195 points after Richmond, he would keep that lead with 11 drivers being equally positioned that far behind him.

In my opinion, this would make the first 26 races ultra important because a driver would want to be ahead and know they would keep that lead. All drivers would go hard because they would want to keep the leader as close as possible. That would eliminate the whole "gearing up for the Chase" by trying different set-ups and all of that BS.

It would work.

Anonymous said...

After the final race in Homestead, just have the chase drivers, cut-cards to see who wins.

Anonymous said...

Draw 2 names out of a hat. Then have David Poole go on a weight loss program. If David Poole managed to lose 10 pounds, Driver A would win the championship, if he doesnt, Driver B would win the championship.

Its an equal and fair system for everyone!

Anonymous said...

All chase races should be scored for chase drivers in a manner that the Chase race winner gets 12 points, then next highest Chase Finisher gets 1 less Chase point, throughout the field of Chase Drivers. This would allow for a real shootout in Homestead, with several of the Chase Drivers in contention.

Anonymous said...

If we all pretend to like the Chase then maybe NASCAR will ditch it.

How does not putting your name mean that you're "hiding". So if I put my first name and you don't agree with my idea, are you going to come find me and set me aright? You'll have a LONG way to travel, I'll tell you that much.

(My name is Joe, by the way. Every time I type a name in the block, it doesn't post my comment)

The best idea I have heard yet is 43 points for the winner, 42 for 2nd, and so on down the line. Winner gets 20 bonus points, most laps gets 5 and the lucky dog goes away. Laps led under caution don't count for points, and no points for only leading one lap.

Anonymous said...

Enough of this! Do any of you think Earnhardt would tolerate all this whining and complaining. Waaah! My favorite driver didn't win. Waaah! Kyle dominated the first half and then hardly showed up to race. Waaah! Jr finished 12th. Waaah! 48 won three times in a row. Waaah! The champion wasn't determined on the last lap of the last race with a dramatic crash and crossing the finish line on his roof. Waaah!. The Chase is not fair. The Chase is boring. Waaah! Not enough bonus points. Too many bonus points. Waaah! COT sucks. Waaah! Why can't every season be like 1992. Waaah! Lets go back to the good old days when the season was over by Labor Day. Waaah!

No...Earnhardt would tell all of you to shut the hell up and he'd tell all the drivers to tighten their belts and DRIVE FASTER BITCHES!

Anonymous said...

Just award it to Junior every year. That is what Nascar intended when they changed the format.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a big fan of the chase either and would like to see the old system. I do think that the system can be modified to make it more interesting. I would open the first 26 races to all-comers without qualifying (this makes a two-day race weekend more probable) and line up based on inverted owner points (the first five races on the last year's points, the other 21 on the current year). Keep the current limitations on the number of teams an owner can field and let all-comers race (only award purse monies to the top finishing 43 teams, but points to all). Make the last ten races open only to the top 43 in owner points and zero out the points (the exception to this would be that I'd allow the teams to keep all bonus points earned in the first 26 races). Again start the races by inverted owner points. Just my two cents (probably not even worth that :-) )

Anonymous said...

John, that's the best comment I've heard in years!

Anonymous said...

The chase sucks. I've been watching Nascar races over 40 years. Never missed a lap watching it on TV and I'm to the point where I just don't care anymore. What they tried to do was make the last 10 races more interesting so all the fans would continue to watch each week. Yes this is what happend, but now there is no reason to watch the first 26 races. NASCAR you have gained some yuppie fans but have lost many many long-time true hardcore fans. A true champion should earn it with consistency throughout the entire season.

red said...

david poole said (in part):
"I have never truly liked the idea of a Chase for the Sprint Cup format that puts everything on the final race to pick a champion."

oh, i dunno. granted, it isn't cup racing (it was BETTER!) but i thought having the truck championship come down to the last race was pretty freakin' terrific!

here's my simple solution: eliminate the chase and have drivers race and teams work each and every week for the win. give the win a significant amount of points, the pole a lesser amount. have points decrease as one goes down the finish results. at the end of the season, tally it all up and there's the winning team. simple is better: anything else is an artifical construct, intended to manipulate the result for some reason other than recognizing the best team that year.

i'd also eliminate points for lap led IF the lap comes under yellow: that's not racing for the lead. and i'd give more points to the most laps led. after all, we want to see racers competing for the lead thru out the entire race.

reward wins, rewards consistency across an entire season and proclaim the winning team the champions for the year. if that means it comes down to the last lap of the last race, i'm there with that! nothing wrong with having the season come down to the very end, in my opinion. problem is: the chase is so artificial that it takes away the possibility for real suspense at homestead. that may still happen (and has happened!) under a simplier system, that lack of suspense could still occur, but at least the results would be more honest for me.

Anonymous said...

To me the problem with all of this is it's too complicated. In mlb, nfl, nba it all comes down to wins. You win the most games you make the playoffs. You keep winning in the playoffs you win the championship.

Keeping track of all these points and bonus and resetting the points is confusing and laborsome. Especially for young fans who are not able to understand the process.

I'm not saying the answer is to abandon the points system - but to me there should be two main factors to enhance competition on every lap:

1) most wins
2) most laps led under green

I would also say that an emphasis should be put on qualifying position and eliminate the top 35 in points automatic qualifier.

Perhaps this is all already taken into account. Admittedly I don't understand the current system but I don't think it's fun to follow a sport where you have to be a math wiz in order to understand why the champion is the champion.

(Don't get me started on the BCS!)

I would hope Nascar would someday consider simplifying rather than adding more layers to their points / championship chase system.

Anonymous said...

How about doing away with the Chase thing alltogether and do it this way:
Winner gets 43 points, then 1 less point to each car down through the finishing order until
43rd place, who gets 1 point.

1 extra point for leading a lap.
1 extra point for leading the most laps.


Monkeesfan said...

To those wanting to throw out points for laps led under yellow - you can't do that because laps led are laps led, period. Qualifying position should not be part of the points system either because qualifying isn't relevant to anything.

The problem with the Chase format is it artificially shuts out drivers from any top-ten points possibility and locks in drivers in the top ten with ten races to go. The rationale offered was "We've never had a driver 400 points out with ten to go come back and win the championship," as if that's relevant to anything.

The other problem is the championship does not reward performance - wins and laps led. The point of points is supposed to reward the most wins and most laps led.

This is why the point system needs to front-end-load so many points for winning and leading that it leaves everyone no choice but to go for the lead no matter what lap it is.

Anonymous said...

In keeping with the current chase format, and those new formats being proposed, I have the perfect solution. Now, understand that only the top 42 in the initial part of the season would qualify. This would help narrow the field down. Then, a figure 8 school bus race. As I said, is perfect in keeping with the current format.

Anonymous said...

I still maintain that the race should be a points battle 1-12th, between the chase drivers alone, all other drivers don't count. To have a bad race, and finish 43rd, almost assures you're out of contention, BUT, to finish 12th among the Chase drivers wouldn't have near the points impact. Award extra points for actually winning the race, and make it 1 point differentials between positions, beginning the Chase season with 1st thru 12th seperated by 12 points, plus 1 point for each victory. It shouldn't be too hard to figure it out from there, but wouldn't it be great to actually see a championship points race between more than one or two drivers with 3 races to go??

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