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Jay Busbee

Chase changes: Why not make the Chase an elimination event?

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One of the fun parts of this job is getting email from people offering up their ideas for how to solve NASCAR's problems. Some are ridiculous, and some are good enough that you guys belong in NASCAR HQ. In recent weeks, I've gotten a few proposals for how to change the Chase, and so I'll be running some of those over the next few days. First up is Stephen Walker, who gives us this elimination-based Chase. Take it away, Steve:

If you want to make any changes, why not make it a true playoff?

12 drivers, 10 races to go.
11 drivers, 9 races to go.
10 drivers, 8 races to go.
9 drivers, 7 races to go.
8 drivers, 6 races to go.
7 drivers, 5 races to go.
6 drivers, 4 races to go.
5 drivers, 3 races to go.
4 drivers, 2 races to go.
3 drivers, one race for the championship.

I'm not suggesting reset the points after each week — track them like normal. What I am suggesting is the WORST finish in each week's race by the Chase drivers gets eliminated (not lowest cumulative points to that race but literally the worst finish) — even if they entered the race leading the points. And, heading into the final race, you'll have three drivers with their normal point totals, with whoever has the most points at the end of the race winning the championship.

I know you could see someone like Jimmie Johnson at Texas last year eliminated despite looking like he had it all locked up but that would be the point. That would be the drama. Like football, one bad Sunday WOULD end your championship hopes, meaning each and every week you must show up and perform. Yeah, you could end up with non-chase drivers completely ruining the championship hopes for a Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon be wrecking them on lap one (and certainly, NASCAR would punish the non-chase driver) ... but it would be no different than the Jets injuring Tom Brady in the last regular-season game of the year, or when Carson Palmer injured his knee on the first drive of the playoffs that one year.

The pressure would be there each and every week to perform — and just imagine when you get down to six, five and then four drivers ... even if you're leading the points, you still have to beat every other remaining chase driver to have a shot.

I like it, though the unpredictability of wrecks is a big drawback. It's a lot more likely that someone will get taken out in a wreck than a big-name player will get injured. But still — tension city, baby!

If you've got an idea for spicing up the Chase, hit me up by email. You might just see your work here!

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