The rumored changes to the Chase are set to be announced later today. Under the new format the 10 drivers with the most points during the first 26 races and the 2 drivers who have won the most races who didn’t finish in the top-10 will be in the field of 12 for the Chase.
This means that Jamie McMurray would have made the Chase due to his two wins as well as Ryan Newman who managed one win but had the highest point total of one win drivers.
Consistent drivers like Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer would have been left out of the Chase.
The idea is that ‘winning should give more points’ but the reality is having good finishes is just as and maybe more important at times. Under each point system NASCAR has attempted there have been guys who have found ways to win or come close even though their win totals are lacking. Last season Denny Hamlin won 8 races with Jimmie Johnson winning 6 while Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Jamie McMurray won 3.With the exception of McMurray each of those drivers made the Chase.
The biggest problem with this idea is the fact that McMurray finished 14th in the points after the first 26 races, meaning that he would have leapt 3 drivers based largely on a win a Daytona. The fact is McMurray had already been given more points then those drivers since he had won Daytona. NASCAR would be rewarding him twice for a win.
McMurray had 12 finishes of 10th or better on the season. Every other driver who made the Chase had 15 or more. Only Kenseth, Bowyer and Jeff Burton had fewer top-5’s then McMurray’s 9.
Then there is the fact that Ryan Newman had one win. Imagine if Marcos Ambrose wins both road course races this year. He could make the Chase next season. How does that make any sense?
I am almost hoping something stupid like Ambrose sweeping the road courses happens. Then everyone will be pissed that a driver who was a factor in two races is now being awarded a shot at the post season despite being 20th or so in points. Last year Amborse finished 26th in points with 2 top-5’s and 5 top-10’s. He may be better this year with a move to Richard Petty Motorsports but he’s not one of the 10 or 12 best drivers in the sport.