NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said Monday afternoon that the new format for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup adopted last year will remain unchanged for 2015.
France, speaking at the kickoff event for the 2015 Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, said the sanctioning body is coming off "perhaps our greatest Chase and certainly in recent memory. A lot of excitement, a lot of momentum."
Last year was the first time NASCAR used the expanded format for the Chase, with a field of 16 drivers, three elimination rounds that knocked out four drivers each, and a winner-take-all, season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"It’s overwhelmingly popular with our most important stakeholder, the fans," said France of the Chase. " … They like the fact that it tightened up competition. They liked the drama down the stretch. They like the emphasis on winning. And one of the things they told us that they really liked is the idea that we weren’t going to change anything. And they strongly suggested that we didn’t. And we’re not going to."
France said he received good suggestions on Chase tweaks — including from drivers who were eliminated early on and thought the Chase drivers should have their own points system.
"One of the magical parts of this Chase — and we want to make sure we keep it this way — is the simplicity of it," said France. "Win and you’re in."
One change this year will occur on pit road, where NASCAR will use a series of 46 high-definition cameras to detect violations such as too many crew members over the pit wall or pitting outside the box. The cameras feed into computers, with NASCAR officials inside a trailer able to approve or override penalties the cameras detect.
The cameras will also feed data to NASCAR’s broadcast partners, race teams and fans.
"We think it’s a game-changer," said NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell.