November 13, 2009, Newsletter Issue #153: The Chase for the Nextel Cup

Tip of the Week

The Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup is the way that NASCAR determines its champion in its top tier Nextel Cup Series.

The Chase debuted in 2004 and was developed as a way to give more drivers a chance to contend for the season long Nextel Cup series championship. The Chase was also designed to create drama and increase fan and media interest. In its inaugural year a mere 8 points, the closest in NASCAR history, decided the championship. In 2005, the margin was 35 points and 2006, 56.

When it was started, the Chase was open to the top 10 drivers plus any other driver within 400 points of the leader, but in January 2007, NASCAR announced that it was ‘tweaking’ the format. The number of eligible drivers was increased to 12 and bonus points were added for wins and the 400-point provision was eliminated.

Under the old Chase, the top driver in points had their total reset to 5050. Each driver behind the top to the tenth position was five points behind the leader.

The Nextel Cup series consists of 36 points paying races. The first 26 races are scored as they have been since 1975.

The top 12 drivers at the finish of the 26th race determine who will be contending for the championship over the course of the final 10 races. Those12 driver’s points are reset to 5000. Each driver is then awarded 10 points for each race win from the 26 races prior to the cutoff.

The series champion is determined over the course of the final ten races, scoring points as they would under the old ‘Latford’ system.

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