NASCAR’s Winner-take-all Format Changes the Definition of a Champion

By Angela Campbell On Fri, Jan. 31, 2014

Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images
Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images

In an effort to put more emphasis on winning, NASCAR has virtually thrown consistency out the window with changes to the 2014 Chase format. Brian France announced those changes today in his State of the Sport address and seemed confident that this is what fans want.

“The vast majority of the fans that we communicated with, and I think we’re the best in sports in staying close to our fan base, really love this,” he said.

I disagree.

Most of the fans I’ve spoken to have been adamant in their dislike of a system that places more value on one win than a season of competitiveness. In theory, a driver could have one win, finish 30th in the points standings and advance to the Chase. Is that driver more deserving than a driver who has no wins but finished consistently in the top ten the entire pre-Chase season?

No one is debating the importance of winning races but there has to be a balance and this new format may tip the scales too far in one direction.

It’s not likely that we will have 16 different race winners leading up to the Chase so consistency will have a part to play. However, it will only take a driver so far in this Winner-take-all game that NASCAR is intent on playing.

Once you make it into the Chase, the only certain way to advance through their version of the elimination rounds is to win a race. The Chase will culminate with the last race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway with the remaining top four battling for top position.

Brian France says, “It’s going to elevate racing. It’s going to make winning the most important thing by a wide margin.”

This may be accurate but is this the true measure of a champion?

Sometimes being a champion is not about the glory of standing in Victory Lane. It’s about all the small moments that led up to it. It’s about making the most of a bad day. It’s about taking a tenth place car and getting a fifth place finish through sheer determination.

It’s about sacrifice, hard work and dedication and most importantly, it cannot be manufactured.

Angela Campbell (118 Posts)

A native of Charlotte, NC, Angela was first introduced to racing by her father. An avid fan of NASCAR, she's now found a way to combine her love of racing with her passion for writing.

The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)
Displaying 6 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Ross Fries says:

    I believe that the new format will be very good,but rewarding the leader at the end of the 26th race,(regular season) would satisfy everyone.

    • Angela Campbell says:

      I hope you’re right and there are aspects of this format that I’m sure will be interesting. Also, I agree that the points leader at the end of the regular season should be rewarded. i wouldn’t be surprised if NASCAR makes tweaks to the Chase again next year after we see how this all plays out this season.

  2. nascarfan says:

    Have to disagree with Brian(the brain)France about listening. I am a member of the fan council and every time there were surveys about changing qualifying or the chase format I and many others said NO. He only listens to the suck up brown nosed yes men he surrounds himself with.

    • Angela Campbell says:

      I have a good friend who is also on the fan council and she told me the same thing just last night. It makes me wonder who these so-called fans are that agree with Brian. Thanks for commenting.

  3. donald langley says:

    Angela,THANK YOU!!!! Will someone please take BF’s passport away!!If he spends much more time with the mayor of Toronto he will completely ruin NASCAR!!What a crackhead plan!!!!!A true champion should be crowned for the entire season not just 1 race. After looking a most of the web sites I see very few favorable comments on this move.I guess now we will never get to see the grandstrands on TV ever again. There will be even fewer fans in the stands.Funny how the networks fail to show the grandstrands nowdays compared to the 90′s to early 2000′s.I’m sure DW is wetting his paints right now over this fantastic amazing brainstorm idea of BF’s genius.WRONG!!!! Thanks for your honesty!!!!!

    • Angela Campbell says:

      To be fair, I’ve seen a few positive comments but most of what I’ve been hearing has been negative. I’m trying to keep an open mind and see how this all plays out but this is one element of the changes that I feel strongly about. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

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