DAYTONA BEACH — It’s official: all of NASCAR’s top touring divisions are going Chasing, starting this year.
NASCAR announced its rule changes on January 19, and the list of exhaustive rule changes took effect officially today.
Among the rule changes:
- All three major touring divisions now have a Chase format. Until now, neither the Camping World Truck nor xfinity Series had such a format.
“The idea is pretty simple,” said Chairman Brian France. “When we looked at how successful the format is with the Sprint Cup Series, and the fact that drivers trying to win a championship in those lower divisions are trying to come up to the Sprint Cup, we know the way to win in the future … you’ve got to beat people, you’ve got to be winning, you’ve got to be in the crosshairs of elimination at any given moment.”
And that’s how we want our young drivers, at a very early stage, to understand the latest in the competitive style of NASCAR. So no better way to do that than to have our championship formats consistent, and that’s one of the main reasons we did that.”
Unlike the four-round elimination format in the Sprint Cup, the Chase for the CWTS and xfinity Series will have one fewer round. Twelve drivers will race for the title starting in Sparta, Kentucky for the xfinity title, while eight drivers will run for the CWTS crown starting at Loudon, N.H., the site of the very first Chase race for the then-Nextel Cup Series back on September 19, 2004.
- The 2015 NSCS champion Kyle Busch will no longer run in six lower-tier Series races. When the rule changes were announced, Mr. Ky. Busch knew he would no longer be racing in the CWTS and xfinity Series races at Homestead, Fla. as he is one of the fifteen Chasers (not including the retired Jeff Gordon) from 2015.
Now, he has announced that Daytona Beach and Talladega, Ala. are also off his schedule for lower-tier events.
“No restrictor-plate races, I’m out of that stuff,” he said. “No more plate races because my wife (Samantha) won’t let me. And (team owner) Joe (Gibbs).”
Joe and Samantha have made that decision. I was thinking about it but they were like ‘no.'”
It was as if Mrs. Busch and ex-NFL Coach Gibbs read his mind.
The decision was made “when I hit the wall at 90 g’s,” he said.
“That was sort of an (indication) that ‘all right, we don’t need to be doing this anymore,'” Busch said. “That was more of a Joe and Samantha request rather than something for me. I’ll race anything; I don’t care. But we’re not … invincible of course, things do happen. That was just a part of the plan.”
They are probably the scariest, most dangerous races that we have on the calendar. There still could be some crazy things that happen at other race tracks but it’s more in the drivers’ hands. …”
We were in the hospital and Samantha was like ‘you’re not doing these restrictor plate races anymore.’ Then she had a conversation with Joe.”
TV schedule announced
USA Network will pick up at least one Sprint Cup race this season due to NBC’s long-standing commitment to the Summer Games.
USA was announced as the TV broadcaster for the NSCS at Watkins GLen, N.Y. That race moves up to August 7 this year.
The other races remained unchanged from their Fox/FS1, NBC/NBCSN TV schedules.
What does change is that although Richmond International Raceway will remain in the spring, it will be on a Sunday for the first time since 1997, taking a church day away from dedicated fans.