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Jay Busbee

Report: New Chase format will have room for race winners

Jay Busbee
From The Marbles

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On Wednesday evening, NASCAR chairman/CEO Brian France will announce changes to the Chase for the Cup -- sorry, the "much-maligned Chase for the Cup" -- and news leaking out of Charlotte is that the Chase will now draw its drivers in a slightly different fashion.

SpeedTV's Tom Jensen is reporting that the new Chase selection process will draw the top 10 drivers, plus the two from the next 10 who win the most races. Call it the Jamie McMurray Rule; Zoolander had won twice going into the Chase last year but didn't break into the top 12.

Had this system been in effect last year, Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle would have been bounced from the Chase, as neither had won a race by the time the Chase began. (Bowyer would go on to win two.) McMurray would be in, and the final tiebreaker would be between one-win drivers Biffle, Ryan Newman, David Reutimann and Juan Pablo Montoya. Presumably, Biffle would get the nod since he'd have been ranked 12th in points. (Note that it still would have let four no-win drivers -- Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards and Jeff Burton -- into the Chase.)

So it seems to address the question of drivers who race well but not consistently. It also allows a driver who has a bad outing to salvage his season by racing all-out for wins and leapfrogging their way into the Chase. (Question, though: what happens if nobody outside the top 10 gets a win?)

Overall, it's a positive change, or at least not a visibly negative one. But it'll pale in significance to the points alteration. We shall see...

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