We're coming up on the halfway point in the season, and that means it's time to start looking to 2011. NASCAR is already working on ideas that could potentially affect the way that the Chase determines a champion, and at various meetings over the last few weeks, the Chase has been one of many topics. (According to Landmark Newspapers' Dustin Long, other topics include testing, Cup drivers in Nationwide series, why Dale Earnhardt Jr. can't race as well as his daddy, how Toyota is destroying NASCAR, how NASCAR is totally fixed ... wait, I kind of went off the rails there. Those are the topics of this place.)
Long considers several possibilities for the Chase, including:
• Expanding the Chase field. Currently just over one-fourth of the field makes the playoffs, as compared to more than half of the teams in the NBA and NHL, and more than a third of the teams in the NFL.
• Ramping up the excitement during the Chase. Jimmie Johnson has run away with the Chase for most of the last four years. One of NASCAR's big questions is how to keep the championship exciting without totally gimmicking up the Chase.
• Resetting the points ... again. What if the top drivers had their points reset once again at the last race? This would prevent a runaway champion and ensure that a driver didn't clinch the Cup before Homestead.
Each idea has merit, and each idea has problems. (Resetting the points again? Gah.) But the fact that NASCAR is looking to continue its tweaks should come as welcome news to NASCAR fans. One of these days, they'll get this thing right.