The focus is clear: Winning is the way of the future
MAR 08, 2014 9:48a ET
I like what I am seeing initially from NASCAR's new format change for the Chase. They have moved the focus directly where it should be and that is on winning. Both Dale Earnhardt Jr who won the Daytona 500 and Kevin Harvick who won last week at Phoenix already know they are pretty much in the Chase this early in the season.
I think the rule changes for 2014 along with the Chase format change have gotten these teams excited. We saw teams that struggled early at Phoenix but worked all day on their car and then by the end of the race there was some furious racing as folks tried to catch Kevin Harvick.
I really think we will have a really good picture of the impact of all this after we get through Las Vegas this weekend and then Bristol next weekend. I think this will give everyone an opportunity to evaluate where their programs are based on the new options that NASCAR has given them during the off season.
Also don't forget that even after Bristol we go to our fifth different race track style when we head back out west to California at Fontana. Five weeks and five different tracks will give everyone a great idea of where things are with their programs.
I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if at the end of those five weeks that we aren't talking about five different winners. Now, with that said, we also always talk to you about when there are off-season rule changes that some teams get a handle on it quickly while others struggle to play catch-up. So while I can easily see five different winners in these first five weeks, with the way Dale Jr. and Kevin are running right now, it also wouldn't surprise me in the least to see them put another win or two up on the board.