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January 31, 2014

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Dennis

The Championship is a bit of a place keeper, giving us an objective measure of a team/driver's performance. We also do that with lifetime win tallies. Well, we'll still have the win tallies but a one-race "Championship" is pretty hollow. What does it really represent compared to the past Championships?

When an organization thinks the product that it puts on the racetrack isn't good enough to attract fans, then it needs to fix the product. Not the points system.

I'll still watch. I'll still cheer. But, I'll imagine asterisks when we talk about a "Champion" during this new era.

Roy Hobbson

"Because it funnels the championship down (artificially, they contend) to the last race, a winner-take-all show down between the four cars that are still eligible for the championship. It sets up the possibility that the fourth-highest car in points could beat the number one car for the championship in a single race."

So it's basically the NCAA Basketball Tourney. Well that just won't do! Because as we all know, THE GENERAL PUBLIC/NON-HARDCORE COLLEGE BASKETBALL FANS HATE HATE HATE THE NCAA TOURNEY!!!!!!!!

Ted Wolfram

This is a "tempest in a tea pot"....NASCAR knows that fans in attendance at races, as are fans attending professional sporting events...is declining. So it is important to do new things to attract casual fans to the tube.

Bernie E. says he could care less who attends F1 but watches TV audience numbers, since that I where the money is.

Will it work?...Well I think the new qualifying format will....and with a few surprise winners...like Danica at Daytona and/or Dillion in the #3, or someone totally unexpected....the TV audience may well grow for the chase.

And what does IndyCar do? Think a formula that has failed since 2003 (Except when a wee girl led the "500" in 2005)and is expected to have the same sled till 2018-2019----or 2021....will somehow regrow an aging and unhappy fan base. Sure it will!!!

Props to NASCAR for trying many things to improve their presentation...including cutting down on the number of seats at various venues.

SkipinSC

Some might say this is as Mr. Hobbson put it, "The NCAA Basketball Tourney." I would submit that it more closely resembles the FedEx Cup in golf, which has given some life to the tour AFTER the PGA Championship.

Personally, I think it's another contrivance by NASCAR to try and boost interest that (perhaps) the series has lost due to some of it's previous contrivances such as the "Lucky Dog," the "Green, white, checker" finish, and the "Phantom debris caution." These gimmicks are, in my opinion, the reason that a number of fans are equating NASCAR to WWE.

That being said, I suspect a lot of the NASCAR public will buy it, which means it will be a success.

Fred Hurley

"Excitement is powered by randomness."

I agree. And the enemy of randomness, it should be noted, is n. N is the variable usually used to represent the number of events in a sequence. So basically the results of a series of coin flip should grow closer to 50% heads and 50% tails as n (the number of flips in the series) increases. In four flips, you could easily have three land on tails. In a hundred flips, you are far less likely to see 75 land on heads. The more times you do something, the more likely you are to see the result you expected going in.

I mention all this because there's one purity vs. randomness point that keeps coming up that annoys me. People who point to IndyCar as having a purer points championship, and point to its streak of close finishes as proof that you don't need a playoff system to get that result, are ignoring one major elephant in the room. NASCAR's n is significantly higher than IndyCar's. Like double, in fact. Over 16 races, a driver can have three crashes and it's a major points hit. In NASCAR, three crashes through the season is all but expected. That's a clean season. And all of that would be fine, except I see so many of the people touting IndyCar's purity also complaining that IndyCar doesn't have more races on the calendar. Well guess what? Add races, and the chances of the championship going down to the final race will decrease.

This isn't a point for or against the changes to the Chase. It is, however, a reminder that no, you cannot actually have everything you want in life and racing every season, and that life is about compromising to get the things that matter most to you. NASCAR's solution is, in fact, a logical and reasonable compromise that allows them to maintain a long race season while also having an exciting championship fight at the end of the season. Anybody who thinks there's some magical other way to achieve both of those things, and do so consistently, is kidding themselves.

Also, yeah, bingo: this ain't the quest for a cure. It's a sport. I can roll with many different ways of officiating the sport. I might prefer one to another, but man, some of the sturm und drang seems a little ... sad?

Diane

I am sure it is the fact that I am getting older...or old....but I just can't bring myself to wring my hands over the changes. My guy & gal are still racing so I will watch to see how they do. I'm thinking I might care more about the first 26 races because of the "win and your in" rule. Smaller teams may have even less to lose by changing up strategies to try and pull off a win. So we might seem some interesting stuff going on. I don't think I like the 1 race championship. I'll let you know, especially if my guy wins....lol! I used to love Indy Car or whatever it is called now. Went to my first 500 17 years ago. Ran off 9 in a row until my son's wedding. Since then we have only made a few. The manufactured drama with the "34th" car has taken much of the uniqueness of the race away. Also find it difficult to get emotionally attached to any of the drivers. Although my husband and I do just love racing (he has raced for 40+ years and I pit crew for him), but the look alike cars, "vanilla" personalities have dampened the enthusiasm in NASCAR & INDY CAR. Not sure where F1 is going with weird looking cars and double points! Bottom line, I'm probably not the target audience for these changes. I hope it works because I want to still be watching races in my 90's :-). I just hope this isn't the beginning of the end.

vern

Simply a joke from Nascar which is in deperation mode for attendance dropping and ratings soon to be dropping greatly. The fact that Nascar Race Hub today said JR could've won last yr with this yrs new chase rules, even without a win all yr and that's the crime in all this once again. Nascar says its all for valuing winning but the fact that a high pointing none winner could win it all is the fact this isn't any better then what they had. Many are saying it appears Nascar will do anything for JR to have the best chance to win it all, for all the good it would do their series anyway as he isn't the one who has proven he can increase ratings etc, even when he does well like all his runner up finishes last yr--now is he--the end?

The fact that a NONE winner could get lucky & win it all if say a 4 time winner has mech problems before the last race and gets eliminated from the last 4 drivers going for it all with this format, is ridiculous to say the least.

Most the fans want everything back where it used to be long ago--NO chase crap, just the highest points & winning driver all yr wins it all as that shows they are the best without all these keystone cops gimmicks. OH well--Nascar will find this out the hard way, as more fans and viewers most likely run away--guess we'll see?

Ron Ford

"Masterful" PA? Get serious Bill. Just about as meaningless and just about as valuable as Super Bowl hype. It is just winter time blah, blah, blah to fill the 24/7 news cycle. NASCAR has declining attendence and cable TV is losing suscribers for reasons unrelated to whatever this year's flavor of the month Chase becomes. Do you really think that any of the publicity about the Chase change has put so much as a nickel in advertiser's pockets? It doesn't even sell newpapers since the internet is free.

S0CSeven

I guess they should have reset the Super Bowl score to zero/zero with 5 minutes left. It would have negated Seattle's season and game to that point but Denver may have won it. It would have been really exciting.

But it also would have been a travesty. A huge joke.

pressdog

Would that be more or less of a travesty than having Seattle beat Denver like a rented mule in the final game only to have Denver still win the Championship based on points accumulated during the season? Didn't they reset the "points" for both teams to zero before the game started?

Dylan

I disagree, I think it's a pretty horrific decision which NASCAR is making. While in the short term it might keep people interested in the long run it damages the legacy and importance of the championship. The goal clearly is to combine the NCAA Basketball and NFL playoff system to create excitement. One of the problems I have with this is that it is a completely shameless attempt to manufacture excitement. I'm not a purist but this really crosses the line since it forces the last race to be exciting (at least in theory). Racing is not a stick and ball sport! The first and foremost difference is that all the main drivers compete against each other every week, unlike in a stick and ball sport which is one team vs. one team. It's not the same.

What's worse is NASCAR has never tried a system for points which truly rewards winning (such as the Indycar points system, but there are other examples too). They changed to a more simplified points system a few years ago , but again it did not reward winning enough. Why not just change that? I just do not think that this change is what NASCAR needs or is even justified.

GeorgeK

Bill, I agree totally with your predictions regarding the outcome this year. What remains to be seen is if it will carry over as a sustainable model for the next few years.

I'll go so far as to predict that any sport that is not constantly re-assessing their methodology for determining a champion will suffer the potential of a dwindling fan base.

Even the almighty NFL is looking at their scoring system in order to maintain interest, and it's reasonable to say they are the 900 lb gorilla in the world of viewership and minting money.

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