NASCAR, oh NASCAR. You never change. You’re constantly stirring the pot and causing people to alternately wax poetic about your beauty or take extreme umbrage at your hideousness. (Read about the changes to NASCAR's playoff system here.)
First of all, bravo, NASCAR, bravo, I say! You’ve played this situation with surgeon-like skill. Either NASCAR leaked (or arranged for a third party to leak) details of its proposed change to the Chase to Jim Utter of the Charlotte Observer in mid-January, or they just got lucky that someone spilled to Jim. Either way … BOOM … three weeks of free publicity during which NASCAR could say “no comment” but read all the reactions.
Whether the trial balloon was launched on purpose or not, the entire NASCAR media horde rushed in, reporting what Jim was reporting. The resulting mix of news and opinion spawned hundreds of stories worth millions of dollars in FREE publicity for NASCAR an opportunity for them to gauge reaction.