Word has leaked out that NASCAR is considering a Chase-style format to determine champions in the Xfinity and/or Camping World Truck series. The sanctioning body has utilized some form of the Chase format at its top-level, the Sprint Cup Series, since 2004. Word of Chase consideration for the Xfinity and Truck series was leaked via social media by someone on NASCAR’s Fan Council. NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer and Steve O’Donnell confirmed discussions Monday during his regular visit to one of the call-in shows Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The discussions have also included dialogue on limiting Sprint Cup Series driver competition in NASCAR’s other two series. Sprint Cup Series regulars already are prohibited from competing from championships in the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series, because of the sanctioning body’s “declare a series” rule. The rule, which took effect in 2011, conversely also prohibits drivers in the Xfinity Series or Truck Series from running for a championship in either of the other two series. Right now, though, drivers may compete in races across all three series; they just can’t collect championship points in more than one series.
“At no time have we gone out and said, ‘Hey, we’re looking to ban Cup drivers,'” O’Donnell said on SiriusXM and was quoted on NASCAR.com. “I think what we have looked at is, how does it play out in the competitive landscape of each series? A lot of it has to do with, are we enabling the young drivers to showcase their talents and giving them the best opportunity to move up the ranks, if they have the ability to do so? There’s a lot of different opinions. We are looking at some things, partly around if you go to a different championship format, could you look at some of those events potentially as just Xfinity or Truck drivers only. Not anywhere near making a call on that yet, but we certainly hear the fans. I’d say (fans) are more vocal now in terms of Cup drivers not participating as much as they are.”
The format idea leaked by the fan council member, specifically pertained to the Xfinity Series. Details included a 12-driver Chase field with drivers determined by most wins and then the points standings to fill-out the 12-driver field. The proposed format would consist of the final seven races, with four drivers eliminated after race three, four more after race six and the final four racing for the series championship in the season-finale. Like in the Sprint Cup Series, a win in one round would automatically advance a Chaser to the next round, with the rest of the following round’s field set by the points standings coming out of the previous round. The highest finisher among the four finalists in the season-finale would be the Xfinity Series champion.
“If we do make any changes, obviously they would come in the offseason,” O’Donnell said. “I would confirm we are having those discussions in the industry. If we continue to see some positives, that may be a direction we choose to go to.”