The Chase for the Cup is NASCAR's version of playoffs for it's most elite series, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.


When Nextel took over NASCAR's premier sponsorship for the 2004 season, NASCAR made a major decision. First, five additional points were added for a race win. Second, a new formula for declaring a series champion based on a Hooters Pro Cup idea.

How It WorksEdit

A cut was made after 26 teams, with the high ten drivers and teams plus ties, and anyone within 400 points of the leader placed in the Chase for the Championship (or simply "The Chase"). The Chase participants have their points increased to a level mathematically unattainable by anyone outside this field (roughly 1800 points ahead of the first driver outside of the Chase), which usually is 5,050 points for the leader, with other positions dropping by five points per position, with a limit of 5,000 points after ties and the 400 point cut. Race layouts remain the same and points are scored the same way in the final 10 races. Whoever leads in points after the 36th race is declared the Sprint Cup champion. A special award is also given to the highest finishing non-Chase driver to encourage continued competition among all drivers -- which usually includes the final position on the stage for the awards banquet.

Reason for the ChaseEdit

This playoff system was implemented primarily to make the points race more competitive late in the season, and indirectly, to increase television ratings during the NFL season, which starts around the same time as the Chase begins. Furthermore, the Chase also forces teams to perform at their best during all three stages of the season -- the first half of the regular season, the second half of the regular season, and the Chase.

Previously, the Cup champion may have been decided before the last race (or even several races before the end of the season) because it was mathematically impossible for any other driver to gain enough points to overtake the leader.

TV RightsEdit

From its inception in 2004 until 2006, the Chase was shown on NBC and TNT. In 2007, ABC acquired the rights to air the Chase. For the 2009 season, all of the Chase races excluding Charlotte were moved to ABC's sister cable network ESPN, where it stayed until the 2014 season. Beginning in 2015, the Chase will be broadcast by NBC and NBCSN.

Development of ChaseEdit

Short track racing, the grassroots of NASCAR, began experimenting with ideas to help the entry-level racer. In 2001, the United Speed Alliance Racing organisation, sanctioning body of the Hooters ProCup, a late-model series, devised a five-race playoff system where the top teams in their Hooters ProCup North and Hooters ProCup South divisions would participate in a five-race playoff, the Four Champions, named for the four Hooters Racing staff members (including 1992 NASCAR champion Alan Kulwicki) and pilot killed in an April 1, 1993 plane crash in Blountville, Tennessee. The system organised the teams with starting points based on the team's performance in their division (division champions earn a bonus), and the teams would participate in a five-race playoff. The five races, added to the team's seeding points, would determine the winner. The 2001 version was four races, as one was cancelled because of the September 11th terrorist attacks; however, NASCAR watched as the ProCup's Four Champions became a success and drivers from the series began looking at NASCAR rides.

2007 Race to the ChaseEdit

Points # Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Diff.
1 24J.Gordon 10221232411414191972593492719-- 0
2 20Stewart 43872357252288664053612381161104--349
3 11Hamlin 28113191439321329461410143172232543--353
4 17Kenseth 271431110251410712594234982101412439--419
5 99Edwards 23296712171211421251531411813431821871--422
6 48Johnson 393111613842131015421917510373953321--523
7 31J. Burton 34154261133443102412132437167811401412--528
8 5Ky. Busch 24993214377372373017868112134127139--558
9 07Bowyer 18636681116223599298101643771013816173--638
10 29Harvick 117272544129106717212011728344717361516--694
11 1Truex Jr. 2942128372972010281116132243133912226211--695
12 2Ku. Busch 4172611291211183512324216252221361111116--703
13 8Earnhardt Jr. 324011147536197138822125134361934242125--861
14 12Newman 381282339143238964392237201014842713167--790

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