The Frontstretch: Not Everyone Is All In For "Winner Take All" by Mike Neff -- Thursday January 30, 2014

Go to site navigation Go to article

Not Everyone Is All In For "Winner Take All"

Mike Neff · Thursday January 30, 2014


After the first two days of the Sprint NASCAR Media Tour presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway the typical media member in attendance would have gleaned that everyone in the sport was completely on board with the proposed Winner Take All championship race to conclude the season. When the Roush Fenway drivers took to the microphones on Wednesday morning, that opinion changed a bit.

While they all agreed that it will add excitement to the sport and provide quite a bit of buzz as the final week of the season unfolds, it leaves the door open for some less than ideal circumstances. The most vocal of the group was Carl Edwards. The 2011 Cup Series runner-up pointed out a couple of scenarios that could leave a foul taste in the mouths of fans and competitors alike. The first situation, which is extremely unlikely but could happen involved a driver winning the first 35 races of the season and then blowing a tire at Homestead, crashing out and not being crowned the champion. That would be a catastrophic development in a sport that is trying to emphasize winning.

The second circumstance is much more plausible and could easily play out at the end of 2014. Driver A wins five races during the regular season and is leading the points when the Chase field is set. In the first six races of the Chase he wins three more events and is leading the points. At Kansas he blows an engine and finishes 35th. He wins Charlotte and goes to Talladega ranked second in the points. 10 laps into the Talladega race he gets caught up in a big wreck and, even though he makes it back onto the track he finishes 33rd and falls to fifth in points. He’s eliminated from Championship contention because the top four are the only drivers eligible at Homestead. He goes to Miami and leads 90% of the race and scores the victory. It will be very difficult to explain to fans how that driver does not deserve to be the Champion.

Greg Biffle brought up another point pertaining to the longevity of the format. He feels that the best driver in the sport should be good at all types of tracks. He does not think the title should be decided at the same track every year. He is of the opinion that, if you are going to do the Winner Take All race, it needs to rotate around to multiple venues. If it doesn’t rotate then it takes some of the legitimacy from the title.

The process of choosing a champion for a sport is almost always a long and involved activity. There are different methodologies and formulas that are employed by various sports and each provides a champion in their own right. The legitimacy of the champion can be debated but, when the final event comes to a conclusion, everyone involved acknowledges who the best of the best is for that given season in their sport. Hopefully that same feeling will apply when the checkered flag flies at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Connect with Mike!

Contact Mike Neff

The Frontstretch Newsletter, back in 2014 gives you more of the daily news, commentary, and racing features from your favorite writers you know and love. Don’t waste another minute – click here to sign up now. We’re here to make sure you stay informed … so make sure you jump on for the ride!

Today on the Frontstretch:
Did You Notice? … Breaking Down A Sprint Cup Season Eight Races In
Beyond the Cockpit: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. on Growing Up Racing and Owner Loyalties
The Frontstretch Five: Flaws Exposed In the New Chase So Far
NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Darlington
NASCAR Mailbox: Past Winners Aren’t Winning …. Yet
Open Wheel Wednesday: How Can IndyCar Stand Out?


©2000 - 2008 Mike Neff and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

01/30/2014 02:47 PM

Breaking News!!!

With his good buddy Rick Hendrick standing at his side, and his puppets Helton, Darby, and Pemberton standing behind him, the most incompetent and stupid governor of a sports body announced the banning of the Roush-Fenway racing organization. The brainless idiot said that NASCAR is his show, and he will do whatever he wants. He also said that he will not stand for any dumb driver to openly criticise what he does. The brainless idiot said that any team owner who cannot control his driver’s mouths is not welcomed in his dictatorship. The brainless idiot then sighted Mr. Hendrick as the best example of a team owner who makes sure his drivers keep their millionaire mouths shut, as they know which side their bread is buttered on.

In a show of support for the now banned Roush-Fenway organization, Ford Motor Company announced that they have had it with France’s B.S., and are formally withdrawing from the joke called NASCAR, effective immediately. The brainless idiot that said that Ford tried to step on his Grandfather’s toes, and paid the price then, and Ford, not realizing that he is God, will never be allowed to compete in any NASCAR sanctioned events. This includes any Ford powered race cars running in the new unified sports car series, which NASCAR also controls.

Carl D.
01/30/2014 02:49 PM

In the end we will all know who the best driver of 2014 is before the green flag drops at Homestead. If he’s not one of the four drivers competing for the championship in that race, it will be a travesty, especially if it’s due to his getting caught up in another driver’s wreck in the previous race.

Fed Up
01/30/2014 03:58 PM

BoZo France has turned racing into a circus. He has created a incomprehensible farce. You can bet all tv dialogue will be about the chase because it will need an ongoing explanation. RIP checkered flag racing.

01/30/2014 06:41 PM

Don’t bet on drivers saying anything negative about this. They know where their bread is buttered and won’t do anything to jeopardize that. DW will be falling all over himself telling everyone how great it is.

I applaud Carl for stating what most Nascar fans with a brain know. Make the racing better and it will take care of most of the problems. No gimmicks can make up for crappy racing. France still hasn’t figured out the majority of the fan based watch for the races, not for the playoffs.

Carl can probably expect a fine coming soon. France doesn’t stand for such honesty when it doesn’t suit his agenda.

Bill B
01/30/2014 07:16 PM

Utterly ridiculous method for choosing a champion given the length of the season, the myriad of variables beyond driver’s control, and the element of luck involved when 43 drivers compete at once in machines going 160+ mph.
I think every decision dumbass has made has increased the crapshoot factor in both the races and championship.
When Gordon retires I will be relieved to lessen my involvement and time spent following this now pseudo-sport.

What road of clap.

01/31/2014 01:29 AM

Good for Carl, BZF will not take kindly that Carl actually spoke of the Emperor having no clothes. This is seriously dumb, people have been vocal against The Chase since its inception. Nobody really believes a 10 race chump racing 12 drivers is really a true champ..sorry Jimmie, just a fact. Now this, basically a they really think people are stupid. Shame also on the owners (not suprising Rick) singing great things about this nonsense. We already had to hear the idiot DW on Racehub tell us fans, “you were wanting change now you got it”. Change of this sort DW and Brian is not what the fans were screaming about. Fans wanted a champion crowned after 36 races of hard racing. Where have the brains of common sense gone? Sad indeed. I shutter to think of the idiots in the broadcast booth going on about this bull and endless talking about Danica and her posse of bad boys at SHR…Good grief, can somebody buy these idiots a clue?? A lets not forget this is Jr’s year too. (no offense JR)

01/31/2014 11:37 AM

This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. This literally means the best driver will not win the championship. You could dominate the entire regular season, dominate the first two Chases races, and then get put in the wall by somebody, finish 35th, and lose the championship. ONE RACE SHOULD NOT DECIDE A TITLE. THIS IS NOT FOOTBALL.

I give up. I am officially done with the Cup series. I will watch the Martinsville races and the road courses because they’re the only thing worth watching anymore.

It’s the Truck Series all the way for me now. The only real stockcar racing left in NASCAR.

Dave in Ohio
01/31/2014 01:56 PM

A-HA! I finally figured out King Brian’s idiotic reasoning! from Jayski:

New points system, Earnhardt Jr. would had won championship in 2013: In announcing major changes to the Chase for the Sprint Cup on Thursday, NASCAR chairman Brian France touted an emphasis on winning as a primary reason behind the format. But it turns out last year’s champion, if the new rules were applied, would have been #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who didn’t win a race. According to economist Andrew Maness, who runs the site, Earnhardt would have made the final race along with Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon. NASCAR’s Mike Forde confirmed the lineup. The driver who won the most races last season, Matt Kenseth with seven, would not have been eligible for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(USA Today)(1-31-2014)

Just gotta keep tinkering with the rules until JR. can win. Just like the “bud shootout” ridiculous rules they were coming up with for any way to get jr. in the show.

02/01/2014 08:31 AM

Drama over legitimacy. Brian France and Vince McMahon were separated at birth.


Contact Mike Neff

Recent articles from Mike Neff:

Special Winter Sprint Car Series set for January debut at Cocopah Speedway
Beyond the Cockpit with Ben Rhodes
Kroger 250 postponed until Sunday afternoon
Denny Hamlin out of the car for the race at Auto Club Speedway
Nationwide Breakdown – Drive to Stop Diabetes 300

Want to find out more about Mike Neff? Maybe see all the articles he's written here at the Frontstetch? Check out his article archive and bio page then!