I really enjoyed the Chase format for 2014. But I do think with its emphasis on winning throughout both the regular season and the playoff format, it’s a good thing that Kevin Harvick won both the championship and the final race. Had Ryan Newman won, I think it would have been bad for the sport and been a real mark against all the adjustments to rules made this year.
It couldn’t have worked out any better for NASCAR or for Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick. In his freshman year at SHR (and his 13th in the Sprint Cup Series), Harvick has his first title in a hard-fought year filled with a total of five wins, but with a lot of frustrations between all those.
Congrats to Kevin Harvick, his team and Stewart-Haas Racing.
I’ve touched on it before, but I think NASCAR got it mostly right. I’m definitely the target fan — new into the sport, and consuming everything about the sport I can. While I quite honestly have watched and would have watched regardless of what the playoff system looked like, I love the adjustments. I know not everyone did, and some have more history and a longer investment in the sport, but for me and my family of NASCAR fans, we were all in.
But next year they still need to tweak it a bit more.
Set it up so that there are a maximum of 16 drivers entering the Chase. But to be in the post-season Chase for the Sprint Cup, the drivers have to win in regular season action. In other words, if you’ve got 12 different regular season winners, you start the Chase with 12 in contention and whittle it down from there. If there happen to be more than 16, drivers with the most wins are in, and the rounds work like 2014.
Make that one adjustment, and leave the sport alone for awhile. Let people get comfortable with it and enjoy it year to year.