This year marks a year of great change in NASCAR and for fans trying to navigate these changes. The first change is a new qualifying procedure that has multiple cars on the track at any given time- deemed “Knockout Qualifying.” Next the whole 2014 Chase format has been changed (think of the NASCAR Chase as being a championship playoffs if you are new to NASCAR). Instead of 12 drivers (what it has been in seasons past)- the Chase has been expanded to 16 spots- where drivers are subsequently knocked out of the chase in three three-race rounds- eventually narrowing the field to four cars for the final race in Homestead-Miami. That right there seems like a lot of change right?
But what seems to be causing a lot of the confusion right now is HOW a driver qualifies for that Chase. Somehow- the idea that if a driver wins a race in the “regular season” (defined as the first 26 POINTS PAYING races of the NASCAR season) that driver is qualified for the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Series Cup. This has been mentioned by national media on TV as well as by drivers. Because of all the confusion, I decided to go back to the original NASCAR release announcing the new Chase format (which also address exactly HOW a driver qualifies for that chase) and read over it several times.
Let me answer some questions as I understand the new rules: (more…)