It’s no secret that one of the primary reason for the overhaul of NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup format, both for getting into the Chase and the postseason, itself, was to place more emphasis on winning races. But is winning THE way to becoming the 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion?
Drivers have acknowledged in recent weeks that there are multiple ways to win the title and winning may not be absolutely necessary.
“We could run through all the hypotheticals, but there are so many different scenarios, it is really a waste of time, in my mind,” Keselowski said during Chase Media Day in Chicago before last weekend’s race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. “The reality is, you can just go out and perform and let it take care of itself.”
Apparently, Keselowski’s taking the race-winning route. After all, one Chase race down, one win for Keselowski, and that’s after leading the series in wins during the 26-race regular season with four trips to victory lane.
But, despite this new-found focus on winning races to winning a championship, it is entirely possible to win the Sprint Cup without winning races. I think I’ve mentioned it here before; if the new format was applied to 2013 stats, last year’s champion wouldn’t have been six-race-winning eventual champion Jimmie Johnson. Heck, it wouldn’t have even been seven-race-winning Matt Kenseth. Nope, winless Dale Earnhardt Jr. would have been the 2013 Sprint Cup Series champion, given last year’s statistics. Kind of ironic, isn’t it? More focus on winning would give the title to a winless driver. Actually, I find it kind of humorous.
But, really, isn’t winning races the best way to go? How about this — consistently winning races? It kind of kills two birds with one stone, as they say. After all, consistently winning races involves both winning and consistency.
Once in the Chase, winning may not be as important in that first round, unless you’re one of those drivers who just barely squeaked his way in. After all, 16 drivers start the Chase and, with a cut of four after three races, that still leaves 12. But then again, it’s those drivers who didn’t win races before the Chase that are hovering around the danger zone. And as the rounds go on, that cut-off gets closer and closer. Still the win for automatic advancement just seems to be the safest way to go.
And then, there’s Homestead. The highest among the four still standing will be the champion, no bonus points for laps led, etc. If you win, another driver couldn’t possibly finish ahead of you. Am I right?
What do you think? Is winning races or consistency the path to the 2014 Sprint Cup? Take a poll to voice your opinion, here.