NASCAR mulls expanding Chase Next year, the drama surrounding the September NASCAR Richmond race -- the final race before the Chase begins -- could be different if series officials again alter the Chase.
Series officials expanded the Chase field from 10 to 12 in 2006, a year after former champion Tony Stewart missed the Chase. Yet, the jokes were that the changes were made to ensure Dale Earnhardt Jr., the sport's most popular driver, and Jeff Gordon made the Chase since both missed it 2005.
NASCAR chairman Brian France suggested this summer that changes could be made to next year's Chase. Some of the suggestions have included expanding the Chase to 15 or more drivers.
"If they do extend the Chase to more cars, a lot of people will say it's because of me, trying to get me in the Chase," said Earnhardt, who has missed the Chase three of the last four years.
"We put ourselves in position to be the punch line of that joke and a lot of other jokes, to be honest. We've just got to work harder. If they make it 15 or whatever next year, we'll try to do what we can to finish in the top 10 and make that argument a moot point, hopefully."
"I think NASCAR is in a tough position PR-wise to change it now," Carl Edwards said. "If they don't change it right away, then it looks like it is a reaction to something that may happen this Chase, which I don't think they would do anyway.
"My opinion is that you should just take the points and the rules and lock it in stone for a certain number of years. That repeated longevity of a system will lend credibility to it. If you keep changing it, it is hard to believe that this is the champion and deserves to be champion."