Larry Mac: Jury still out on possible NASCAR changes

Rumors have been swirling about an overhaul to the Chase, but what will NASCAR's Brian France announce in the coming weeks? 

Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images

Friday evening a report came out about the possibility of another change to the Chase point’s system. Now I will be the first to admit that I am old school and not a big fan of change. In that same vein though, going back to my crew chief days, I knew that if we didn’t change and evolve from one year to the next that our team was going to regress. My point is you have to be willing to change to move forward.

Now am I one to be concerned that there sometimes can be too much change to often? You bet. From what I’ve come to understand about the proposed changes, well, it’s a lot. I like some of what I am hearing while at the same time getting nervous about some of the things I am hearing about.

You probably don’t remember but back in 2004, when the Chase format was announced, I was one of the first people to ask out loud –€“ "who in the world came up with this crazy idea because it’s the most bizarre thing I have ever heard because this will not work." Guess what? I’ll also be the first to admit I was very wrong.

Looking ahead to the 2014 season

I guess one of my biggest concerns is why are we doing this now? Remember just three years ago, we have a tie in the final points with the tiebreaker awarding Tony Stewart his third NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. So I just don’t know about these supposed changes. The jury is still out in my book. I can’t say yes it’ll improve on what we have or no it won’t improve a thing, until we all know the exact changes that are going to happen.

One thing I have always said and still stand by today is that for a driver to be a part of the Chase, they must have won at least one race in the first 26 races of what we now call our regular season. Again we have to wait until the actual changes are rolled out, but it does sound like that is finally going to be a component of it.

The only hicup I see there is I have heard they are going to expand the Chase field to sixteen drivers. The issue is you are going to have to go back a long, long way to find a season when we had sixteen different winners after the first twenty-six races. I guess my point there is if they do it that way, then there is still a distinct possibility of drivers high in points, who make the Chase but haven’t won a race.

I know that NASCAR’s CEO Brian France is a big fan of what he calls "Game 7" moments, when everything comes down to the final-final. I have a concern however when you look to artificially try and create Game 7 moments.

I know I would have loved to see Sunday’s NFL Playoff games come down to the teams tied in the fourth quarter at the two minutes warning. One of those games was really good while the other one, well you pretty much knew the outcome by the start of the fourth quarter. That’s just the way sports is.

With all that said, I am okay with change just as long as we aren’t changing too much too often. In my book, simply changing for changes sake serves zero purpose. 

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