Here’s what Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage had to say about today’s Chase changes, specifically the final-race scenario:
Q: With all four drivers heading into the Chase finale at Homestead even, do you believe it will help attract the casual fan even more without all the various clinch scenarios?
Gossage: “I think it is going to bring everyone to pay more attention to NASCAR. The casual fan, the more hardcore fan because this is it. This is the championship race. Four drivers going at it. Whoever finishes ahead of the other three is going to win the title. I can’t imagine not selling that race out. I can’t not imagine adding seats to Homestead for this thing. If that promoter can’t sell that race out and add seats to the place and still sellout 100,000, 150,000 seats something is wrong down there because that race is going to be breathtaking. It’s going to be exciting. You are going to see guys doing things that you wouldn’t typically see done. I know there are some complaints that some guy could have a great race at the end of the season and win the championship. Well a few years ago [in 2007], the New England Patriots went to the Super Bowl completely undefeated throughout the regular season and playoffs and they got to the Super Bowl and the New York Giants beat them. Nobody says the New York Giants didn’t win the championship because the Patriots had this great season. Well the same thing in NASCAR. You can have a great season, but you are going to have to come down to Homestead and you are going to have to perform better than those other three guys that are in the position to win the championship. You are going to have to do that to win. I think that is breathtakingly exciting. If they can’t sell it out and they don’t want it down there with that kind of excitement give it to us down here in Texas because we will sure do something with it.”
NASCAR has announced some very interesting and exciting changes to the playoff. But there is one key part that doesn’t seem right — to have the final four title contenders go into the final race completely even. There ought to be at least some slight seeding to account for their performance in the Chase.
What they’ve created is equivalent to every other sport that ends in a tournament, like the NFL. Taking overall playoff performance into account would be like sports that end with seven-game series.
Not a bad way to start the racing season. Sebastien Bourdais, a winner at Texas Motor Speedway, wins the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona with Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa. Good for Bourdais, a four-time Indy car champion, and this year will be his best shot yet at winning the Indy 500.
NASCAR announced today that it is changing to multiple-round knockout qualifying for Cup, Nationwide and truck races, except for the Daytona 500, the Sprint Unlimited and Sprint All-Star Race exhibitions, and the dirt race.
Here’s what Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said about it:
“I think fans are going to love this because it basically means another race day to race weekend. Qualifying day is going to be a race in and of itself with speed, a lot of competition and a lot of strategy. You are going to have to worry not only about getting a perfect lap but that somebody else doesn’t come down and mess up your line a little bit. They may squeeze you down a little bit and you have got to get out of the gas a little earlier than you might otherwise. It’s completely different than qualifying before and the fans are going to be here on this case, Saturday, April 5, for qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. They are going to see some strange things for the first time ever in qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway. I think these fans are going to love it. This really almost has gotten 100 percent unanimous support from what I’ve seen so far.”
I’m here at my third track of the season to cover the U.S. Grand Prix. Of course, at home I covered the three major races at Texas Motor Speedway. Now I’m in Austin at Circuit of the Americas, and in the spring I was lucky enough to blog from the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.