Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Rookie Stripe: The Chase for the Sprint Cup — a Refresher

 
Photo credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
The Chase is mind-boggling all around.

NASCAR’s championship includes four elimination rounds that lead to one winner of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. In the throes of the Chase, there's an elevated level of competition bordering on the savage  that keeps you on the edge of your seat or screaming at your TV. It’s an addictive, manic, feverish thrill.

As a rookie fan, the Chase can be utterly confusing.

“I have news for you: there is no plan. Expect the unexpected.” – Kevin Harvick, Chase Media Day, September 15, 2016

The odds of making it in
A driver must qualify for the Chase to have a shot at winning the title. Drivers who fail to qualify will still run each week and can still win a race, but they aren’t eligible to win the championship. Some of the toughest days for drivers are after the Richmond race when they don't make the Chase at all, or when they're eliminated during Chase rounds. Some drivers may spend their entire Sprint Cup careers struggling just to make the Chase. The full Rookie Stripe guide to the Chase explains the nuts and bolts of the pathway to the championship including how drivers qualify based on wins and points and how waivers work — and gives you a brief history of the Chase itself.

Evenly divisible
If you need something simpler, here’s my advice. Remember that there are 16 drivers who make the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Series, which has four rounds to determine the series champion. During the Round of 16, all of the drivers are still in contention to win. After each round, the four drivers at the bottom in points are eliminated. So, for the Round of 12, a dozen drivers are in contention to win, and so on. The champion is determined at the final race at Homestead–Miami each year.

Photo credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
These are the tracks that host each round:

Round of 16 – Chicagoland, New Hampshire, Dover

Round of 12 – Charlotte, Kansas, Talladega

Round of 8 – Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix

Round of 4 – Homestead-Miami

Photo credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
Make sure to check out NASCAR’s 2016 Chase Grid , which offers a visual look at how the Chase plays out, and an update on current standings.

“This is the Chase; anything can happen. By this time next week we could be at each other’s throats.” – Carl EdwardsChase Media Day, September 15, 2016 
Photo credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs

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