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Ever since this new Chase format was revealed to us, we were told that it would put a new emphasis on winning. "Win and you're in!" And to some extent that's true, as far as moving on to the next level. But take a look now that we're down to the last round and you'll see that two of our top four drivers, both Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth, are in with nary a win for all of 2014 so far. Meanwhile, Jimmie with three wins, Junior with four and Kyle Busch with four are out. Brad Keselowski with six and Kevin Harvick (who has had the fastest car in the garage for most of the season) with three are teetering on the brink of being knocked out.

Are some teams gaming the system? We were told that now drivers would have to race every lap like it was the last one but it appears that some crew chiefs and drivers realized early on that, just like always, you were actually better off to play it safe and get good solid finishes than to push too hard for wins because in the end, consistency is just as important as it ever was. I wouldn't call it gaming the system because they are going by the same rules as everyone else but I would say that it is going around the obstacles rather than jumping over them.

It is betting the odds, of course, but if you're playing the consistency game, you know there will always be one spot based on points. In this round we're in now, we know there will be at least two slots open for Homestead since a non-Chaser won at Martinsville.

So it sort of boils down to whether a solid no-wins season is more rewarding in the long run than several wins if they come along with a few bad races and the answer to that question is clearly yes. Is that what you expected when you heard about this format? Are you satisfied with that answer?

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i am certainly not satisfied with this format.  not when top tier drivers, like jr, and jimmie, and kyle b have been eliminated,,,,,then perhaps kevin and kez.  while some medium tier drivers r still in it,..and i especially do not like the fact that the championship ride on the finish of the last race,  who is not only the best, but who is luckiest,,,,,that being said,,,,,i suck it up and say,,, GO JEFF...

Yes, every step along the line, luck plays a bigger part until in the end, maybe the one who played it safe and "points raced" was the smartest. That would certainly calls for more tweaking! Yes, I'm rooting for Jeff too!

I hate this points system.The concept that who has the best finish in the last race,no matter the points accumulated,wins it all is the most stupid thing I've ever heard in any sport.I don't think it will last long.And Kyle won just one race this year,Vicky... ;-)

Oh, I was thinking he won more....maybe it's that he was high in the points before that last wreck. Well, anyway...:)  Yep, I dislike all of it but the very worst part is Homestead being the deciding factor!

(i just put sync's comment in here, where i thought it was better, instead of Writers Corner, where it was.)

I'm sure the new chase format was well thought out. They probably took everything and everyone into consideration. Some fans love it, some fans don't love it, and some fans don't love it a lot !! lol. I, have swallowed that nasty pill, and it has dissolved and been diluted. To me, the Championship won't mean as much as it has in the past. For some it will stand in the books as another great championship to remember. I have friends that like it, I have friends that don't. That being said, I have decided to keep my future opinions of the new chase format to myself. Those of you who like it, honor the 2014 Champion with joy. I plan to continue watching each race as I have in the past, while cheering my driver to the front. May each of you continue to like/love racing, and strive to strengthen its position in the world of sports.
yours,
Syncro_Lock

Well, I mostly agree with you Syncro. I will definitely continue to watch the races. I will definitely continue to root for Jimmie to win. I will root for Jeff to win the championship although if we got a new champion, I'd be okay with that too. I know there are lots of people who love this format and more power to them. NASCAR can't please everyone. I honestly think they try to please as many as they can. Only one place I will diverge from you is in expressing my opinions because griping is the NASCAR fan way...lol

I surely don't think a championship should be decided by just one race...that is a race winner.....a championship should take the whole season into consideration.  I DON'T LIKE IT!

Well, playing the devil's advocate, I suppose they would say they take the whole season into consideration with the different rounds but I'm with you about it coming down to a final race. I really don't care for that part.

I DONT LIKE IT TOO!!!!!

Great comment princess4e. It seems as if it may very well boil down to one race, whether it's whomever wins the last race, or whomever got wrecked in any "one" race during the Chase.

Nailed it Vicki! I've been putting a similar article together in my mind because I was going to see what happened at TMS this weekend and PIR next weekend before I posted it. But you motivated me to go ahead and spill the beans. My discussion was along the same lines, but more of a comparison to actual elimination playoff formats in other sports. Take a look at it if you get the time. I know that you don't follow stick and ball sports, but I believe that I spelled it out clearly enough for all to understand. if not... even in my own little mind!

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