Monday, November 16, 2015

A Battle-Tested, Worthy #NASCAR Champion???

NASCAR announced last year, a new championship format that they stated would put a greater emphasis on winning races all season long. It also expanded the current Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field to 16 drivers, and implemented a new round-by-round advancement format designed to “reward a battle-tested, worthy champion.”

However, the four remaining NASCAR Combatants for the Cup have not won the most races in 2015. If we were to place the prominence on winning races all year, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase finalists would be:

  • Joey Logano with six wins
  • Jimmie Johnson with five wins
  • Matt Kenseth with five wins
  • Kyle Bush with four wins. 

One right out of four is not good. 

“We have arrived at a format that makes every race matter even more, diminishes points racing, puts a premium on winning races and concludes with a best-of-the-best, first-to-the-finish line showdown race – all of which is exactly what fans want,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO stated in 2014.

However, to NASCAR Race Mom this format fosters luck more than racing skill; be it good luck or bad luck. Whether you happen to peak or faltered during a three-race period can make or break your entire season.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and crew chief Greg Ives celebrate after winning the rain-shortened
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500.

Does the Chase make the last ten races of the year more unpredictable and thereby more exciting? Well yes, but at what cost. Whether you cite the Kenseth / Logano clash(s); Kevin Harvick’s restart wreck that helped secure him a spot in the next round, or even Mother Nature shortening the last chance race to get into the finals - - - the opportunity to alter the outcome of the championship becomes more attainable. 

With just one win this season, Martin Truex Jr. is among
the final four Chase drivers.  (Jonathan Moore/Getty Image)

As it is, NASCAR Race Mom will be watching the last 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup next week with uncertainty. Jeff Gordon (1-2015 Win) will battle Martin Truex Jr. (1-2015 Win), Kevin Harvick (3-2015 Wins), and Kyle Busch (4- 2015 Wins) for the Cup championship.  I am sure that Homestead it will be an exciting season finale, hopefully devoid of any further shenanigans. Nevertheless, our 2015 Sprint Cup champion will not epitomize NASCAR’s most winning-est driver of the year and probably not be the “best of the 2015 best.”

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