Hey Chase-haters. Chill out.
Stop telling us how badly the format stinks. Stop fantasizing about the good old days when NASCAR races were won by laps, not seconds, and championships were locked up before the final race of the season. I'm starting to think that you're NASCAR's version of the Tea Party. A bunch of bark, some flash, but ultimately, little bite. It's more for the glory, not the cause.
And what is the cause? Is it the campaign against manufactured drama? Here's a newsflash: every sport in this country has manufactured drama. It's called playoffs.
Oh, you say, it may not be fair that NASCAR decides their championship over the final 10 races, rendering the first 26 meaningless. Well, how did the 12 drivers qualify for the Chase? Random draw? Major League Baseball decides their champion over the course of (a maximum of) 19 games after a 162 game season. Given the flukiness that can happen in such a small sample size (paging the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals), that's considerably less fair, isn't it?
If there wasn't a Chase, we'd be watching Kevin Harvick waltz his way to a championship. No disrespect to Cupcake, but given the behemoth that is the NFL, what reason would casual fans have to watch NASCAR? Can anyone legitimately make the case that a late season race with no title implications is somehow more meaningful than a race that could decide the championship?
And please, don't try to say that the Chase is contrived. It's pretty simple, actually. The driver who scores the most points over the last 10 races wins the title. Easy enough, right? Yes, the Chase may not be perfect, but no sport is. Hell, college football's imperfection keeps it at the forefront in the fall.
Just sit back, relax, and enjoy what could be a fantastic 10 weeks. Jimmie Johnson could get his fifth championship in a row -- something that we'd look back fondly on in 20 years -- or someone like Kyle Busch or Denny Hamlin could knock him off. Isn't the uncertainty and drama what draws us to sports anyway?