Thursday, July 15, 2010 | 4:12 p.m.
It looks like more changes are coming to the Chase For The Sprint Cup. NASCAR chairman Brian France recently stated that more tinkering with the Chase format may be necessary to “bring out more winning moments.”
OK. Great. I’m all for that. But is continued massaging of the current point system the best way to ensure that the battle for the Cup has an exhilarating conclusion?
According to several media outlets, the changes being contemplated to the 10-race season finale include eliminating contenders as the Chase progresses, expanding the field to include more drivers, a completely separate points system for the Chase and a one-race, winner-take-all event to determine the champion.
I’m not going to get into the pros and cons of these ideas, but I will offer an idea that I think is one of the best ways to increase the level of competition and excitement in the Chase: Have fewer races at the cookie-cutter tracks.
I realize that NASCAR isn’t going to spend a gazillion dollars to start reconfiguring tracks in this economy. It might not even be able to justify the expense in a good economy. So rebuilding existing tracks is a pie-in-the-sky notion. But there are plenty of tracks that consistently produce competitive races that could be included in the Chase.
The quality of the racing at Bristol isn’t what it used to be, but it’s still great racing and it should be included in the Chase. How about adding a road course or moving a Richmond date to the last 10 races? Maybe the season should end as it starts, at Daytona.
I realize that tracks like Fontana, Texas and Homestead are included in the Chase because they help make the final 10 races representative of the overall season. But if NASCAR wants to make the Chase more exciting, then including more tracks that produce exciting racing is an option to be considered.
After last week’s race, Juan Pablo Montoya suggested that Mark Martin needed to take some driving lessons. Montoya was upset with the way Martin passed him on the last lap. Suggesting Martin take driving lessons would be a little like me suggesting Michelangelo take drawing lessons.