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NASCAR gets lot of Chase advice
By TIMES WIRES
Published September 22, 2006
If NASCAR fails to tweak the format for Nextel Cup's Chase for the Championship next year, it won't be for lack of suggestions.
They are pouring in from all quarters.
One of the latest comes from a couple of the series' biggest stars. They would like to see Chase drivers and non-Chase drivers subject to separate point systems in the final 10 weeks of the season.
From the day that he announced a Chase was being established, NASCAR chairman Brian France has insisted that the playoff was a work in progress. He said to expect tweaks.
All 10 drivers in the 10-race season-ending Chase are subject to the same point structure as the rest of the season.
Non-Chase driver Tony Stewart, who was second Sunday at New Hampshire, the Chase's first race, said a separate point system would help Chase drivers by minimizing the effects of a bad day.
He cited Jimmie Johnson, who crashed at New Hampshire and slid from second to ninth in points.
Stewart said under a two-tier system, "It would still have hurt Jimmie, but it wouldn't have hurt him as bad. Especially, at least from what I understood, when it was somebody else that caused him to have a bad day."
And non-Chase drivers would not have to worry about the consequences of ending a Chase driver's chances of winning a championship.
"The Chase is exciting, there is nothing wrong with it," said Stewart, who was in the Chase its first two seasons and won the title last year. "It just puts some of us drivers in some awkward positions."
Four-time champion Jeff Gordon agrees and said the Chase point format encourages conservative driving by drivers in the playoff.
Kevin Harvick won in New Hampshire and went from third to first in points. He said he did not favor tweaking the system for the Chase.
"I feel like if you had a 43rd-place day, you should be awarded 43rd-place points and if you have a good day, you should be rewarded good points," he said.