NASCAR Implements Chase Format In XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Seriesby Hunter Thomas January 19, 2016 0 comments
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On Tuesday during the opening day of the 2016 Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, NASCAR announced several major changes for the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
The two series will now crown their season champions through a Chase format, much like the one the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has competed with in seasons past.
“When we look at how successful the format is for the Sprint Cup Series and the fact that the drivers trying to win a championship in those lower divisions are trying to come up to the Sprint Cup Series, we know that the way to win in the future, you’ve got to beat people,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO, Brian France. “You’ve got to be winning. You’ve got to be in the crosshairs of elimination at any moment, and that’s how we want our young drivers from a very early stage to understand the racing competitive style in NASCAR.”
In the NASCAR XFINITY Series, 12 drivers will compete for the series championship throughout the final seven races. The Chase will feature only three rounds with the Championship 4 dueling it out at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars can’t compete in the final race. Just like the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, drivers earn a Chase berth by winning a regular season race, and the remaining spots will include the highest finishing drivers within the championship point standings that don’t have a win.
“Well, I think first giving some credit to XFINITY, an unbelievable partner for us, and has really showcased that series, so when we look to 2016, one of the things as that series has continued to elevate to really be the second most popular in all of motorsports, those drivers deserve more and more coverage, and we believe that the Chase format will do just that,” said NASCAR Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, Steve O’Donnell. “We saw it in the Cup Series where we’re not just talking about one or two competitors or race teams, we’re talking about 16. We expect similar results in the XFINITY Series and Camping World where the focus will be on multiple teams, and as Brian mentioned earlier, they’ve got to go out and win, and that’s what we’re all about as a sport.”
Another huge change that’s coming to the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season is an adjustment to the Dash 4 Cash events. During the Dash 4 Cash races at Bristol Motor Speedway (April 16), Richmond International Raceway (April 23), Dover International Speedway (May 14) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 23), Coors Light Pole Award Qualifying will only set the first starting positions in two heat races.
The two winners from the heat races will set the front row of the main event. Also, the top-two finishing series regulars in each heat race will then compete for the Dash 4 Cash in the main event Two Dash 4 Cash victories throughout the season will be the equivalent of a regular season win and catapult the driver into the Chase.
“This new Dash 4 Cash format is perfect for a short track like Bristol Motor Speedway and it is sure to add a new level of intrigue to the Food City 500 weekend,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager for Bristol Motor Speedway. “Races of this nature are a staple of hometown tracks all over the country and one that drivers and fans love. We are ready to see it in action here in east Tennessee.”
In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, eight drivers will compete for the series championship in the final seven races of the season. Once again, there will be three rounds, a Championship 4 and no NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars can compete in the season ending event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
NASCAR will also implement a Caution Clock throughout the 2016 season. A caution will be thrown 20 minutes following each green flag. If there’s a caution before the 20-minute mark, then the clock will reset. The Caution Clock will not be used within the final 20 laps of the race. Eldora Speedway is excluded from the Caution Clock., and at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and Pocono Raceway, the clock will be turned off with 10 laps remaining.
“Why is that important for us,” said O’Donnell. “We think it’s going to add to the strategy during the race, and if you look at the Camping World Truck Series, that is an area where some of our younger drivers, younger teams, newer teams really can use the competition caution to be able to adjust on the truck. We’ve seen that in the Cup Series when we’ve had a competition caution early in the race. It’s allowed the teams to make some last‑minute adjustments early in the race. We think that’s going to be huge for the teams, as well, and the trucks throughout the race and will be implemented throughout the season as we head into 2016.”
The changes announced on Sunday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame are certainly huge, but they were created to make the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series seasons even more exciting. The Chase gives the younger drivers more experience competing in an elimination-styled format just like the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers, and the Dash 4 Cash format and the Caution Clock are designed to hype the competitive energy and bring the competition closer, evening the playing field between the teams.