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DATE News (chronologically)
06/16/10
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Changes coming to NASCAR Chase UPDATE NASCAR officials are meeting with drivers and team owners to discuss possible changes in the sport, including how the Sprint Cup champion is determined. While NASCAR chairman Brian France has been careful not to make abrupt modifications to the title Chase since its debut in 2004, it seems as if changes are due. The Chase field expanded from 10 to 12 drivers in 2007. NASCAR also began awarding 10 bonus points that year for each race a driver wins before the Chase. NASCAR can examine the Chase and other topics because of the sense that the racing has improved. So the meetings this past week - some still need to be held - provide NASCAR a chance to discuss the Chase, testing, what to do with Cup drivers in Nationwide Series races and other topics. "They're certainly looking at the future," said Jeff Burton, who joined Richard Childress Racing officials in meeting with NASCAR last week. "Every conversation I've ever been in with NASCAR, once a year there's a conversation about the Chase. Does it work? Could it be better? That's almost an annual conversation." With the Chase, some of the questions being asked are about the number of competitors, the format and how to determine the champion. When asked about possible changes about how the champion is determined, Mark Martin said he told series officials: "Go for it." Dale Earnhardt Jr., who also met with series officials last week, said: "I didn't get a sense that there was a guarantee on any major changes." Among some of the ideas involving the Chase would be expanding the field. Based on the percentage of teams that make the Chase (27.9 percent of a 43-car field make it), NASCAR trails other pro sports when compared to the percentage of teams that make the playoffs. One suggestion tossed in the meetings is resetting the points for the top drivers heading into the final race. Virginian Pilot

06/10/10 Are changes coming to NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup?

NASCAR is holding town hall meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday with drivers and owners at its Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., to discuss a variety of topics.

The sanctioning body is using the competitors as sounding boards to gather ideas on the Chase format and schedule, changes to the testing policy and parameters for Sprint Cup drivers that enter Nationwide Series events.

Increasing the number of participants that are eligible for the Chase as well as the 26th race of the regular schedule and the 10 events of the postseason were open for discussion along with opening the testing ban and limiting the number of Cup drivers eligible for points in NASCAR’s feeder series.

“I think it’s wonderful that they’re sitting us down and talking to us about what we’re thinking and decisions on what the teams or drivers want,” Jamie McMurray said. “There was nothing earth-shattering about the meeting. They were just throwing out things to get our opinion.”

NASCAR Chairman Brian France and President Mike Helton were in attendance on Tuesday.

“We’re all in this together,” McMurray added. “And when changes come, if you know what the mind-set is behind process, then it won’t be so shocking.”

The meeting comes less than a month after NASCAR met with owners and general managers to discuss a transition time table for fuel injection and ethanol.

AJ Allmendinger found the meeting productive.

“They have some good ideas,“ Allmendinger said. “Obviously, the ratings have leveled out and we need to do something about it. I really think they’re listening to us. They want our opinions.

“The cars look better with the spoiler. The racing is some of the best that we’ve seen in a long time. The cars are hard to drive but that’s what we get paid to do. There’s nothing to complain about on the racing side, we have to figure out how to get the fans back.” FoxSports

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