Sunday, September 10, 2006


Drivers who were in the Chase last year who aren't in it this year (in order of their finishes last year):

• Tony Stewart
• Greg Biffle
• Carl Edwards
• Ryan Newman
• Rusty Wallace (but he retired)
• Jeremy Mayfield
• Kurt Busch

Drivers who are new to the Chase this year:

• Kevin Harvick
• Kyle Busch
• Denny Hamlin
• Dale Earnhardt Jr.
• Jeff Burton
• Jeff Gordon
• Kasey Kahne

Drivers who made the Chase in both '05 and '06:

• Matt Kenseth
• Jimmie Johnson
• Mark Martin

Those three are also the only drivers to make it in all three years of the Chase format.

And the most telling stat of all, the one that makes sure that next year will have a different points system:

Number of times in the three seasons of the Chase system that a driver has made it in by being within 400 points of the leader (instead of being in the top 10:

• Zero

I'm certain that, at least, we'll see an increased bonus for winning (maybe another 10-15 points). Maybe they'll change the points a little to put more emphasis on top-fives, and maybe for poles as well. And there will probably be a change to allow multiple winners in the Chase automatically. If the rule were to allow any race winners in, we'd have three more drivers in this year:

• Tony Stewart (2 races won)
• Greg Biffle (1 race)
• Kurt Busch (1 race)

So it's not like you're exactly letting in all the riffraff. One race would let all three in, multiple races would just have gotten Stewart in. Interestingly, if the rule were to require at least one race won to qualify, both Burton and Martin would be out (neither has won, they made it in on the strength of a lot of top-tens).

Then again, they haven't asked me. And I'm not even that huge a fan. I'm just a math geek when it comes to this kind of stuff.

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