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NASCAR Is The BCS Of Auto Racing – Tweaks Chase For Fourth Time In 10 Years

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For the fourth time since the split-season playoff format of the Chase for the Sprint Cup was introduced 10 years ago, NASCAR is fighting to become the BCS [the much-reviled ex-college football system] of auto racing with yet another tweak of the Chase for the Sprint Cup The major changes are listed below…

• A victory in the first 26 races all but guarantees a berth in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup — a change that will put unprecedented importance on winning a Cup race during the season;
• Expanding the Chase field from 12 to 16 drivers, with those drivers advancing to what now will be known as the NASCAR Chase Grid;
• The number of drivers in contention for the championship will decrease after every three Chase races, from 16 to start in the Chase Grid to 12 after Chase race No. 3 to eight after Chase race No. 6 and to four after Chase race No. 9;
• The first three races of the Chase (Nos. 27-29 overall) will be known as the Challenger Round; races 30-32 will be known as the Contender Round; races 33-35 will be the Eliminator Round and race No. 36 will be the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship;
• A win by a championship-eligible driver in any Chase race clinches the winning driver a spot in the next round;
• Four drivers will enter the championship with a chance at the title, and the Cup will go to the highest finisher among those four in that final race.
• Overall points will reset to 2,000 for the Chase, with drivers getting three bonus points for each win during the regular season (but not Chase wins). Also, bonus points for leading a lap and for the driver who leads the most laps in a race will still be given in all but the final race of the season.

The first big race of the season, the Daytona 500, is scheduled on February 23, 2014 at the Daytona International Speedway.

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