Changes coming to 2007 Chase

UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact.' See article by AutoRacing1's Pete McCole.

06/29/06 NASCAR chairman Brian France promised slight changes to the sport's championship format, hoping to add more drama to the 10-race title hunt. "What I have always said about the Chase was we needed a few years under our belt to see how it evolves, how it changes in strategy, see how the actual formula we have really works," France said Thursday. "Now in our third year … it's the ideal time for us make adjustments." France did not specify what areas will be changed in an off-season facelift that will take effect in 2007. The Chase for the Nextel Cup was devised by France when he took over as chairman in 2004. The format was designed to spice up a stale championship race in which winners were running away with the title and routinely clinching before the season finale. France wanted more excitement and a dramatic playoff system that could compete with the NFL for television ratings. The result was the Chase, which uses the first 26 races of the season as a qualifier to set up the title run. The top 10 drivers in the standings automatically make it in, and any drivers within 400 points of the leader are also eligible. They then compete over the final 10 events to decide the championship.

"We'll be looking at nothing new — everything that we'll be looking at has been brought up by various people the last couple of years," France said. "Just various things that we think will build what we're hoping for, which are big moments and a bigger stage for the drivers. That's what the Chase has always been about. It's about showcasing their skills."

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