NASCAR announces changed to points system and Chase for the Nextel Cup

NASCAR announces changed to points system and Chase for the Nextel Cup

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Race victories will become more important than ever in 2007 as a result of adjustments to the points system and the Chase for the Nextel Cup format announced Monday by NASCAR.

The adjustments are designed to establish more balance between winning and consistency, but there is a new emphasis on the former.

  CHASE ADJUSTMENTS
•   400-point cutoff eliminated 
•   Top-12 drivers qualify 
•   Point totals adjusted to 5,000 
•   Drivers "seeded" by wins 
•   10-point bonus for each win 

'06 RACE MAXIMUM -- 190
•   Race win = 180 points 
•   Lead a lap = 5 points 
•   Most laps led = 5 points 

'07 RACE MAXIMUM -- 195
•   Race win = 185 points 
•   Lead a lap = 5 points 
•   Most laps led = 5 points 

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"The adjustments taken [Monday] put a greater emphasis on winning races," NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said. "Winning is what this sport is all about. Nobody likes to see drivers content to finish in the top 10. We want our sport -- especially during the Chase -- to be more about winning."

The Chase -- consisting of the season's last 10 races -- will further reflect the importance of racing to win, via a variety of adjustments.

During the format's first three years, the top-10 drivers in points after the 26th race of the season (at Richmond International Raceway) qualified for the Chase; in addition, any other driver outside the top 10 but within 400 points of the standings' leader was also eligible.

Starting this season, the 400-point cutoff is eliminated and the top-12 drivers in the points after Race 26 will qualify for the Chase.

All 12 drivers will have their point totals re-set to 5,000; each will then receive a 10-point bonus for each race victory they had during the first 26 races.

The Chase drivers will be "seeded" to start the Chase based on the number of wins amassed during the regular season.

"I like that the points for each of the now 12 drivers in the Chase will be set at 5,000 with an additional 10 for each race win," said team owner Richard Childress, who had two drivers in the 2006 Chase.

"We want our sport -- especially during the Chase -- to be more about winning. "
- Brian France


In line with the Chase adjustments, wins throughout the season will be more valuable.

Race winners throughout the 36-race season will now receive 185 points, a five-point increase.

"I'm happy to see NASCAR increase the points for winning a race," Childress said. "It makes winning that much more important. ... After all, winning is what this sport is all about."

Counting the five-point bonuses available for leading at least one lap and leading the most laps, a race winner now can earn a maximum of 195 points, creating a possible maximum of 25 points between first- and second-place finishers.

The 2006 season of Kasey Kahne provides a dramatic illustration of the adjusted Chase format's implications.

Kahne qualified for last year's Chase, but started it in 10th place -- despite having won a series-high five races. Under the new format, Kahne would begin the Chase in first place, with 5,050 points.

"These changes should make the Chase for the championship even more exciting for the race fans and more competitive for the teams," Childress noted.

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