Statement from Jerry Gappens, Executive Vice President and General Manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, on NASCAR'S announcement about changes to its Chase format:
*The OSRAM SYLVANIA 300 on Sunday, Sept. 21 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the second race in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup and the second race in the Challenger Round.
"In my opinion, this is one of the most significant changes in NASCAR history. I love it. The 'wow' factor for our 10-race playoff format just went up tenfold.
"Through the years, we have seen other professional and college sports expand participation in their respective playoffs. It has been extremely popular with fans and has created some outstanding drama, excitement and storylines. Think about 'March Madness,' Game 7s and the NFC-AFC championship games that featured four teams and two great games to set the stage for this Sunday's Super Bowl.
"Competition is about winning. I hope I never hear a driver again say, 'It was a good points day.' This new format should eliminate that from everyone's vocabulary."
NASCAR announced a new championship format today that will put greater emphasis on winning races all season long, expands the current Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field to 16 drivers, and implements a new round-by-round advancement format that ultimately will reward a battle-tested, worthy champion.
Changes announced by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France to the championship format include:
- A victory in the first 26 races all but guarantees a berth in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup - a change that will put an unprecedented importance on winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race all season long
- 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 championship drivers in contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship will decrease after every three Chase races, from 16 to start in the Chase Grid; 12 after Chase race No. 3; eight after Chase race No. 6; and four after Chase race No. 9
- The first three races of the Chase (27-29) 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 automatically clinches the winning driver a spot in the next Chase round
- Four drivers will enter the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship with a chance at the title, with the highest finisher among those four capturing the prestigious NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.