Sometimes change is a good thing; sometimes it’s not. Sometimes, frankly, it’s just too much. In case you haven’t heard, NASCAR is throwing around ideas for changing its Chase for the Sprint Cup. One proposed new format has leaded out over the last few days, and it’s been garnering a lot of criticism across social media. Here’s a gist of this proposed new Chase format:
Under this proposed new format, the Chase field would be expanded from 12 (or 13 — circa 2013) to 16 drivers. And under this new proposal, wins, not points are what primarily get drivers in. It’s pretty much a “win and your in” idea. The 16 full-time drivers with the most wins would be the 16 Chasers. If fewer than 16 drivers win races in the first 26 events, the field would be filled out by winless drivers with the most points. If more than 16 win, drivers with the most wins get in with tie breakers determined by points.
Then there will be eliminations once the Chase gets underway. The four drivers at the bottom of the standings would be eliminated after race three. Four more would be eliminated after race six and then another four after race nine.
And hold on to your hats to the part of this proposed format that’s on the receiving end of the most criticism, and personally, the part I hate most about this idea. For the four drivers still in the championship hunt come the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the points will be reset with the driver of those four performing the best in the finale taking the title.
Remember that whole New Coke debacle of the 1980s? Okay, so maybe I’m dating myself, but anyway, I’m thinking this whole aforementioned idea, if it is implemented, could be NASCAR’s New Coke. In case you’re forgetting, let me refresh your memory. It didn’t go well.
I’m all for putting more emphasis one wins, but this proposed format is going just a little too far in that direction. On top of that, I think this idea puts way too much weight on the final race of the season. Sure, I think the final race should be important but reseting the points for that final shootout may be a little much.
Maybe change is needed; maybe it’s not. But if change is in order, I think NASCAR needs to go back to the drawing board on this one.
Again, though, this is just a proposal at this point. An official announcement regarding changes, if any, is expected later this month. Meanwhile, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this won’t be it.