Because, aviously…

NASCARs playoffs kick off next weekend, with an all-new format, that is set to make things a lot more exciting down the stretch, with each weeks race meaning something to the racers in the Chase, and also leaving us with a final race this year that means more than just “Jimmie Johnson needs to finish 26th or better to win”.

Let’s break it down, and then mention who is in-it-to-win-it this year:

  • 16 drivers made it into the Chase this year (based on wins during the season, not necessarily on points…so drivers winning in the beginning of the year [I’m looking at you Dale Earnhardt Jr.] could relax throughout the rest of the season [although he didn’t])
  • As usual the playoffs are a 10-race event, with each race hosting the standard field of 43, however, the amount of drivers competing for the Cup will decrease as the playoffs go on
  • 16 racers start off in the playoffs for the first 3 races (Challenger Round), this is reduced to 12 for the next 3 races (Contender Round), 8 for races 7-9 (Eliminator Round) and finally just four racers with a chance to win it in the final race of the season (The NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship)
  • To advance from one round to the next, racers must either win a race in the current round or be in the top (12, 8 or 4) in points to advance. This gives racers that have car trouble in the first race of the Chase, a chance to win the 2nd race, and still be in the playoffs, not being eliminated on one performance
  • Four drivers will enter the last race of the season, and the first to the finish line from that group, wins the cup…I smell an old fashioned Green-White-Checkered exciting race to the finish!
  • Point for the playoffs are as follows:
    • Playoff drivers start with 2000 points (+3 for every regular season victory)
    • Racers in the 2nd round have their points moved to 3000
    • Racers in the 3rd round get moved up to 4000 points
    • And finally, the racers in the Championship race will start with 5000 points

The drivers who will be competing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup are (point totals in parenthesis, and drivers # listed as well):

  1. #2 Brad Keselowski (2012) – Brad is the 2012 Champion
  2. #24 Jeff Gordon (2009) – Jeff is a 4-time Champion, but hasn’t won since 2001
  3. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2009) – Dale has never won the Championship, but his father won it 7-times
  4. #48 Jimmie Johnson (2009) – Jimmie is the reigning Champion and a 6-time winner
  5. #22 Joey Logano (2009)
  6. #4 Kevin Harvick (2006)
  7. #99 Carl Edwards (2006)
  8. #18 Kyle Busch (2003)
  9. #11 Denny Hamlin (2003)
  10. #10 Kurt Busch (2003)
  11. #5 Kasey Kahne (2003)
  12. #43 Aric Almirola (2003)
  13. #47 A.J. Allmendinger (2003)
  14. #20 Matt Kenseth (2000)
  15. #16 Greg Biffle (2000)
  16. #31 Ryan Newman (2000)

NASCAR Playoff Contenders


Challenger Round

9/14 1PM – Chicago

9/21 2PM – New Hampshire

9/28 2PM – Dover

Contender Round

10/5 2PM – Kansas

10/11 7:30PM – Charlotte

10/19 2PM – Talladega

Eliminator Round

10/26 1:30PM – Martinsville

11/2 3PM – Texas

11/9 3PM – Phoenix

NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship

11/16 3PM – Homestead-Miami


3 thoughts on “NASCAR Playoffs – New Format Explained

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