The 2015 NASCAR Race to the Chase for the Sprint Cup is now in the record books. This is the second Race to the Chase for this format. Did the teams learn anything from last year? Did the results of the completion under this format change? This article will build upon what was found last year.
This year we had 11 different winners, eight of which won multiple times compared to 13 winners and seven multiple last year. Just like last year that statistic doesn’t lend itself to indicating a larger “Win and You’re in” mentality. In reality the only driver to “Win and in” was Kyle Busch who missed 11 regular season races due to injury and boy did he win. Busch won four races and will be seeded tied for first in the standings after the reset when the Chase starts. Other than Busch all the other winners ended the regular season in the top 11 in points and would have made the Chase under the previous format.
In the end not much has changed. Jamie McMurray was the only one who would have made the Chase under the previous format on points alone. Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard made the Chase via points but only in the four expanded positions.
Each and every driver who made the Chase worked hard the entire season. Other than Kyle Busch the first 15 drivers in points made the Chase. The one and only benefit of this new format is injured drivers are no longer stuffed into cars in order to get the points and make the Chase. That is the best thing ever to happen in NASCAR.
The Chase for the Sprint Cup begins at Chicagoland Speedway, Sunday September 20th for the myAFibRisk.com 400. If you cannot get to Chicagoland it will be broadcast on NBCSN starting at 3 PM ET.
Feature Photo Credit: 312201 Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images