Report: NASCAR to expand Chase field to 16 drivers

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Charlotte, NC, United States (4E Sports) – NASCAR is planning to implement several changes in the Sprint Cup Series and the Chase for the Championship field, according to a newspaper report.

The Charlotte Observer reported that NASCAR will overhaul its points system, making it a virtual lock for drivers to reach the Chase for the Championship by posting a win during the season’s first 26 races.

Under the plan, the Chase field would increase from the current 12 to 16 drivers.

If there were more than 16 winners during the regular season, the 16 drivers with the most wins and highest point totals would qualify for the Chase.

If there were less than 16 winners, the remaining spots would be comprised of the drivers with the most points.

The report added that the 10-race Chase playoffs would feature a round of driver eliminations that will take place in the third, sixth and ninth races.

The four drivers with the lowest point totals after those respective races would be eliminated, leaving the Sprint Cup champion to be determined by a winner-take-all season finale between the final four remaining drivers at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In a statement, NASCAR chief communications officer Brett Jewkes was noncommittal on the report.

“NASCAR has begun the process of briefing key industry stakeholders on potential concepts to evolve its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship format,” Jewkes said.

“This dialogue is the final phase of a multi-year process that has included the review of extensive fan research, partner and industry feedback and other data-driven insights,” he added.

Jewkes also said that NASCAR has no plans to comment further until the stakeholder discussions are complete.

“We hope to announce any potential changes for the 2014 season to our media and fans very soon,” he said.

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