NASCAR: Looking At The 2004-2013 Chase Under 2017 Rules

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In 2014 NASCAR changed the Chase format by expanding the field and turning it into an elimination format. If that had been the format back in 2004 how would it have impacted the previous Chases?

NASCAR changed the game in 2004 when they announced the NASCAR Chase. Gone was the previous championship format in which a champion was crowned by accumulating the most points over the entire season. The introduction of the NASCAR Chase in 2004 was meant to being more excitement to the end of the season. Too many times in previous seasons drivers would run away with the title long before the last handful of races.

Matt Kenseth winning the championship in 2003 while winning only one race during the season also helped push NASCAR into change mode. The new format was supposed to make winning matter and make the end of the season matter.

Flash forward to 2014 when NASCAR decided to change the game once again. After introducing the original Chase in 2004 which contained 10 cars, NASCAR expanded the field to 12 cars a few seasons later. In 2014 NASCAR opened their playoff format to 16 cars and created a knockout format that would result in four cars having a chance to win the title every season during the final race of the year.

The new Chase format has had mixed reviews (I think it’s great but I might be in the minority) but it has produced first-time champions. Kevin Harvick won his first title in the new format’s inaugural season in 2014 and Kyle Busch won his first championship last year. So, what would have happened had this been the format since 2004? Would there have been a bunch of new champions? Would Jimmie Johnson still be a six-time champion?

This obviously isn’t an exact science as some of the outcomes from 2004-2013 might have been a little different had there been different things on the line. That being said, it’s still interesting to see how things would have shaken out between 2004-2013 had the results been the same and the only difference was the format in which the drivers were running for a championship.

2004 Season Overview

Below are the final standings from the 2004 season and the 10 drivers that were in the first ever NASCAR Chase. 2004 was actually one of the best years for the Chase as three drivers had a chance to win it all in the final race of the season.

2004 Final Season Standings

  1. Kurt Busch (Champion)
  2. Jimmie Johnson (-8)
  3. Jeff Gordon (-16)
  4. Mark Martin (-107)
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-138)
  6. Tony Stewart (-180)
  7. Ryan Newman (-326)
  8. Matt Kenseth (-437)
  9. Elliott Sadler (-482)
  10. Jeremy Mayfield (-506)

2004 Chase Grid Under 2016 Rules (wins in parenthesis)

  1. Jeff Gordon (5)
  2. Jimmie Johnson (4)
  3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (4)
  4. Tony Stewart (2)
  5. Matt Kenseth (2)
  6. Elliott Sadler (2)
  7. Kurt Busch (2)
  8. Mark Martin (1)
  9. Jeremy Mayfield (1)
  10. Ryan Newman (1)
  11. Rusty Wallace (1)
  12. Greg Biffle (1)
  13. Jamie McMurray
  14. Kasey Kahne
  15. Bobby Labonte
  16. Kevin Harvick

Due to wins Wallace and Biffle would qualify for the Chase in 2004 and the final four spots were set based on points seeing as how there were only 12 winners in the first 26 races. The points are then reset and three points are awarded for each win.

2004 Chase Round of 16

Round of 16 Elimination

In the opening round of the Chase Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. each won races and clinched a spot in the second round. After the first three races of the Chase 12 drivers moved on and four missed the cut as seen below, the drivers are ranked according to the points they had after the first three races even though points reset before the next round.

  1. Kurt Busch
  2. Ryan Newman
  3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  4. Jeff Gordon
  5. Mark Martin
  6. Jamie McMurray
  7. Kevin Harvick
  8. Matt Kenseth
  9. Elliott Sadler
  10. Tony Stewart
  11. Jimmie Johnson
  12. Rusty Wallace

——————————————————–

  • 13th – Greg Biffle (-15)
  • 14th – Bobby Labonte (-18)
  • 15th – Kasey Kahne (-23)
  • 16th – Jeremy Mayfield (-29)

The only real surprise from the opening round of the Chase would have been Mayfield. Mayfield had won twice in 2004 and would have been expected to make it out of the opening round of the Chase. In 2004 Mayfield was expected to achieve some big things in NASCAR, however we all know what kind of turn that story eventually takes.

2004 Chase Round of 12

Round of 12 Elimination

In round two of the Chase a non-chase driver (Joe Nemechek) won the first race and the second and third races were won by Jimmie Johnson which pushed Johnson into the third round. After the second round four more drivers were eliminated and the top-8 moved on which can be seen below. The top-8 are arranged by how they were in points after the second round even though points reset before the third round begins.

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Kurt Busch
  3. Jamie McMurray
  4. Jeff Gordon
  5. Elliot Sadler
  6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  7. Mark Martin
  8. Matt Kenseth

—————————————————–

  • 9th – Ryan Newman (-2)
  • 10th – Tony Stewart (-4)
  • 11th – Rusty Wallace (-12)
  • 12th – Kevin Harvick (-33)

The second round would have been very exciting given how close Newman and Stewart were to moving on instead of Kenseth. The biggest surprises of round two were Sadler maintaining consistency and McMurray being a winless driver but performing so well.

2004 Chase Round of 8

Round of 8 Elimination

During the third round of the Chase Jimmie Johnson won twice and Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the other race which punched both of their tickets into the final-four. The win was big for Earnhardt Jr. because without the win he would not have made the final-four based on points. The final-four are arranged based on how they stood in points after the third round even though points reset before the final race.

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  3. Mark Martin
  4. Jamie McMurray

——————————————————

  • 5th – Jeff Gordon (-3)
  • 6th – Kurt Busch (-21)
  • 7th – Elliott Sadler (-61)
  • 8th – Matt Kenseth (-61)

Gordon would have suffered heartbreak here as he was only three points behind 4th place McMurray and was actually two points better than Dale Earnhardt Jr. who made it because of his win during the round. McMurray would have been the surprise of the year making it to the final-four having not won a race all season. Could you imagine McMurray having won this whole thing and not had a win after they changed this all because of what Kenseth did the year before? Also the actual champion in 2004 (Kurt Busch) did not make the final-four which means there is going to be a new champion crowned.

Crowning The 2004 NASCAR Champion

Final Race – Homestead-Miami

Below are how the final-four drivers in the chase ran at Homestead-Miami and how the championship panned out.

  1. Jimmie Johnson – 2nd place
  2. Jamie McMurray – 7th place
  3. Mark Martin – 11th place
  4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 23rd place

In this season under the 2016 rules Jimmie Johnson would have won the championship. In case you were wondering, Greg Biffle won the final race that season and Jeff Gordon ran third right behind Johnson.

If NASCAR had dreamed up this current chase system some 10 years ago it would have had an immediate impact on history as Kurt Busch would not have won the championship in 2004. With Jimmie Johnson winning his first title now in 2004, one has to wonder if Johnson is going to have more than six championships by the time we get to 2013.

2005 Season Overview

Below are the final standings from the 2005 season and the 10 drivers that were in the second Chase. Entering the final race of the Chase in 2005 Stewart pretty much had the Chase wrapped up but Biffle and Edwards were still alive.

2005 Final Season Standings

  1. Tony Stewart (Champion)
  2. Greg Biffle (-35)
  3. Carl Edwards (-35)
  4. Mark Martin (-105)
  5. Jimmie Johnson (-127)
  6. Ryan Newman (-174)
  7. Matt Kenseth (-181)
  8. Rusty Wallace (-393)
  9. Jeremy Mayfield (-460)
  10. Kurt Busch (-559)

2005 Chase Grid Under 2016 Rules (wins in parenthesis)

  1. Greg Biffle (5)
  2. Tony Stewart (5)
  3. Kurt Busch (3)
  4. Jeff Gordon (3)
  5. Jimmie Johnson (2)
  6. Carl Edwards (2)
  7. Jeremy Mayfield (1)
  8. Kevin Harvick (1)
  9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1)
  10. Kyle Busch (1)
  11. Kasey Kahne (1)
  12. Matt Kenseth (1)
  13. Rusty Wallace
  14. Mark Martin
  15. Ryan Newman
  16. Elliott Sadler

Due to wins Gordon, Harvick, Earnhardt Jr, Kyle Busch and Kahne would qualify for the Chase in 2005 and the final four spots were set based on points seeing as how there were only 12 winners in the first 26 races. The points are then reset and three points are awarded for each win.

2005 Chase Round of 16

Round of 16 Elimination

In the opening round of the Chase Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson won races and clinched a spot in the second round. After the first three races of the Chase 12 drivers moved on and four missed the cut as seen below, the drivers are ranked according to the points they had after the first three races even though points reset before the next round.

  1. Ryan Newman
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Tony Stewart
  4. Carl Edwards
  5. Greg Biffle
  6. Jeremy Mayfield
  7. Kevin Harvick
  8. Rusty Wallace
  9. Matt Kenseth
  10. Mark Martin
  11. Kurt Busch
  12. Kyle Busch

——————————————————–

  • 13th – Kasey Kahne (-5)
  • 14th – Elliott Sadler (-8)
  • 15th – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-13)
  • 16th – Jeff Gordon (-19)

The big surprise from this round would have been Jeff Gordon. Gordon wrecked in the final two races of this round and as a result missed the cut. Gordon would have been a favorite entering the Chase this season which would have made his early exit truly disappointing for his fans.

2005 Chase Round of 12

Round of 12 Elimination

In round two of the Chase Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson each won a race which allowed them to clinch a spot in the third round of the Chase. After the second round four more drivers were eliminated and the top-8 moved on which can be seen below. The top-8 are arranged by how they were in points after the second round even though points reset before the third round begins.

  1. Mark Martin
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Kurt Busch
  4. Greg Biffle
  5. Tony Stewart
  6. Carl Edwards
  7. Ryan Newman
  8. Matt Kenseth

—————————————————–

  • 9th – Rusty Wallace (-8)
  • 10th – Jeremy Mayfield (-12)
  • 11th – Kevin Harvick (-25)
  • 12th – Kyle Busch (-27)

No real surprises here in the second round aside from how poorly Harvick and Busch ran. For the second year in a row Kenseth would have just made the cut into the third round of the Chase.

2005 Chase Round of 8

Round of 8 Elimination

During the third round of the Chase Carl Edwards was the only Chase driver to win a race and he did that twice. This was also the best round of 2005 because five of the eight drivers ran very well in this round and that would have produced some nice drama. The final-four are arranged based on how they stood in points after the third round even though points reset before the final race.

  1. Carl Edwards
  2. Tony Stewart
  3. Mark Martin
  4. Greg Biffle

——————————————————

  • 5th – Jimmie Johnson (-1)
  • 6th – Matt Kenseth (-11)
  • 7th – Ryan Newman (-33)
  • 8th – Kurt Busch (-35)

Jimmie Johnson would have missed the championship race by one point this season. The final-four would have been the top-four drivers in the finishing order of the Chase under the actual 2005 rules. Mark Martin would have made it to the final race in the Chase despite having not won in the first 26 races of the season. Biffle who won five times during the season almost missed the cut but he just made it over Johnson.

Crowning The 2005 NASCAR Champion

Final Race – Homestead-Miami

Below are how the final-four drivers in the chase ran at Homestead-Miami and how the championship panned out.

  1. Greg Biffle – 1st place
  2. Mark Martin – 2nd place
  3. Carl Edwards – 4th place
  4. Tony Stewart – 15th place

In this season under the 2016 rules Greg Biffle would have won the championship. Biffle also won the final race of the 2004 season however he did not make the final-four in 2004.

If NASCAR had dreamed up this current chase system some 10 years ago it would have had an immediate impact on history as Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart would not have won the championship in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Biffle’s first championship would have made his the first first-time champion that this new format produced.

2006 Season Overview

2006 Final Season Standings

  1. Jimmie Johnson (Champion)
  2. Matt Kenseth (-56)
  3. Denny Hamlin (-68)
  4. Kevin Harvick (-78)
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.  (-147)
  6. Jeff Gordon (-219)
  7. Jeff Burton (-247)
  8. Kasey Kahne (-292)
  9. Mark Martin (-307)
  10. Kyle Busch (-448)

Above are the final standings from the 2006 season and the 10 drivers that were in the third ever NASCAR chase. Entering the final race of the Chase in 2006 Johnson pretty much had the chase wrapped up but Kenseth and Hamlin were still alive.

2006 Chase Grid Under 2016 Rules (wins in parenthesis)

  1. Kasey Kahne (5)
  2. Jimmie Johnson (4)
  3. Matt Kenseth (4)
  4. Kevin Harvick (3)
  5. Jeff Gordon (2)
  6. Denny Hamlin (2)
  7. Tony Stewart (2)
  8. Kurt Busch (1)
  9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1)
  10. Kyle Busch (1)
  11. Greg Biffle (1)
  12. Mark Martin
  13. Jeff Burton
  14. Carl Edwards
  15. Casey Mears
  16. Clint Bowyer

Due to wins Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch would qualify for the Chase in 2006 and the final five spots were set based on points seeing as how there were only 11 different winners in the first 26 races. The points are then reset and three points are awarded for each win.

2006 Chase Round of 16

Round of 16 Elimination

In the opening round of the Chase Harvick, Stewart and Burton each won a race and clinched a spot in the second round. After the first three races of the Chase 12 drivers moved on and four missed the cut as seen below, the drivers are ranked according to the points they had after the first three races even though points reset before the next round.

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Jeff Burton
  3. Tony Stewart
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Carl Edwards
  6. Greg Biffle
  7. Matt Kenseth
  8. Mark Martin
  9. Jeff Gordon
  10. Clint Bowyer
  11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  12. Kurt Busch

——————————————————–

  • 13th – Casey Mears (-2)
  • 14th – Jimmie Johnson (-7)
  • 15th – Kasey Kahne (-28)
  • 16th – Kyle Busch (-38)

The big surprise from this round would have been Jimmie Johnson not making it to the second round of the Chase considering the fact that he won the championship this season. A poor finish in the opening race doomed the No. 48 team. Another surprise was Kahne who won five times in the first 26 races but could not advance out of the first round of the Chase.

2006 Chase Round of 12

Round of 12 Elimination

In round two of the Chase none of the chase drivers won a race. These three races were won by Brian Vickers, Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson. After the second round four more drivers were eliminated and the top-8 moved on which can be seen below. The top-8 are arranged by how they were in points after the second round even though points reset before the third round begins.

  1. Matt Kenseth
  2. Carl Edwards
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Tony Stewart
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Kurt Busch
  8. Mark Martin

—————————————————–

  • 9th – Jeff Gordon(-1)
  • 10th – Jeff Burton (-10)
  • 11th – Clint Bowyer (-18)
  • 12th – Greg Biffle (-48)

2006 would have been another tough year for Gordon as he would have again missed moving on in the Chase by only one point. Aside from Gordon and none of the Chase drivers winning, there were not many surprises in this round of the Chase.

2006 Chase Round of 8

Round of 8 Elimination

During the third round of the Chase Stewart won two races and Harvick won the third to punch their tickets to the championship race. This was also the best round of 2006 because seven of the eight drivers ran very well in this round and that would have produced some nice drama. The final-four are arranged based on how they stood in points after the third round even though points reset before the final race.

  1. Tony Stewart
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  4. Denny Hamlin

——————————————————

  • 5th – Carl Edwards (-5)
  • 6th – Matt Kenseth (-6)
  • 7th – Kurt Busch (-8)
  • 8th – Mark Martin (-42)

This round was filled with good racing. When it was all said and done only 13 points separated 3rd place Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 7th place Kurt Busch. Mark Martin struggled mightily during this three-race stretch.

Crowning The 2006 NASCAR Champion

Final Race – Homestead-Miami

Below are how the final-four drivers in the Chase ran at Homestead-Miami and how the championship panned out.

  1. Denny Hamlin – 3rd place
  2. Kevin Harvick – 5th place
  3. Tony Stewart – 15th place
  4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.  – 19th place

In this season under the 2016 rules Denny Hamlin would have won the championship. Just like in 2005 Greg Biffle won the final race of the season.

If NASCAR had dreamed up this current Chase system some 10 years ago it would have had an immediate impact on history as Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson  would not have won the championship in 2004, 2005 and 2006 respectively. Hamlin would also be the second first-time champion that this format produced.

2007 Season Overview

2007 Final Season Standings

  1. Jimmie Johnson (Champion)
  2. Jeff Gordon (-77)
  3. Clint Bowyer (-346)
  4. Matt Kenseth (-425)
  5. Kyle Busch (-430)
  6. Tony Stewart (-481)
  7. Kurt Busch (-492)
  8. Jeff Burton (-492)
  9. Carl Edwards (-501)
  10. Kevin Harvick (-524)
  11. Martin Truex Jr. (-559)
  12. Denny Hamlin (-580)

Above are the final standings from the 2007 season and the 12 drivers that were in the fourth ever NASCAR Chase. 2007 was the first year that NASCAR opened the Chase field from 10 drivers to 12 drivers. Entering the final race of the Chase in 2007 Johnson pretty much had the Chase wrapped up and was on his way to his second championship in a row.

2007 Chase Grid Under 2016 Rules (wins in parenthesis)

  1. Jimmie Johnson (6)
  2. Jeff Gordon (4)
  3. Tony Stewart (3)
  4. Carl Edwardsk (2)
  5. Kurt Busch (2)
  6. Denny Hamlin (1)
  7. Martin truex Jr. (1)
  8. Matt Kenseth (1)
  9. Kyle Busch (1)
  10. Jeff Burton (1)
  11. Kevin Harvick (1)
  12. Casey Mears (1)
  13. Jamie McMurray (1)
  14. Juan Pablo Montoya (1)
  15. Clint Bowyer
  16. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Due to wins Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya would qualify for the Chase in 2007 and the final two spots were set based on points seeing as how there were only 14 different winners in the first 26 races. The points are then reset and three points are awarded for each win.

2007 Chase Round of 16

Round of 16 Elimination

In the opening round of the Chase Bowyer and Edwards each won a race and clinched a spot in the second round, the third was was won by Greg Biffle. After the first three races of the Chase 12 drivers moved on and four missed the cut as seen below, the drivers are ranked according to the points they had after the first three races even though points reset before the next round.

  1. Clint Bowyer
  2. Carl Edwards
  3. Jimmie Johnson
  4. Jeff Gordon
  5. Casey Mears
  6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  7. Tony Stewart
  8. Kevin Harvick
  9. Jamie McMurray
  10. Kyle Busch
  11. Martin Truex Jr.
  12. Jeff Burton

——————————————————–

  • 13th – Kurt Busch (-0)
  • 14th – Juan Pablo Montoya (-0)
  • 15th – Matt Kenseth (-14)
  • 16th – Denny Hamlin (-21)

The big surprise from this round would have been the three-way tie for the final spot in the second round. Burton, Montoya and Busch were all tied for the 12th spot in the chase standings but Burton got the tie breakers as he had the best finish in that round of the three drivers. Mears also had a surprisingly strong round.

2007 Chase Round of 12

Round of 12 Elimination

In round two of the Chase Gordon won the first two races and Johnson won the third. Busch advanced to the second round of the Chase along with Burton despite poor finishes in the opening race of the round. After the second round four more drivers were eliminated and the top-8 moved on which can be seen below. The top-8 are arranged by how they were in points after the second round even though points reset before the third round begins.

  1. Jeff Gordon
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Clint Bowyer
  4. Carl Edwards
  5. Tony Stewart
  6. Kyle Busch
  7. Casey Mears
  8. Jeff Burton

—————————————————–

  • 9th – Kevin Harvick (-5)
  • 10th – Martin Truex Jr. (-21)
  • 11th – Dale Earnhardt Jr.  (-24)
  • 12th – Jamie McMurray (-34)

The biggest surprise in this round would have been all of the bad finishes by chase drivers. In the opening race alone there were five chase drivers who finished outside of the top-30. Burton finished the first race of this round in last place but still advanced with back-to-back strong performances in the last two races of the round.

2007 Chase Round of 8

Round of 8 Elimination

During the third round of the Chase Johnson won all three races which would have been the first time that was ever done. The final-four are arranged based on how they stood in points after the third round even though points reset before the final race.

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Jeff Burton
  3. Jeff Gordon
  4. Kyle Busch

——————————————————

  • 5th – Clint Bowyer (-6)
  • 6th – Tony Stewart (-16)
  • 7th – Casey Mears (-27)
  • 8th – Carl Edwards (-40)

The surprise of this round would have been Edwards who lost an engine while running well in the third race. Had Edwards run that race (he led the second most laps before blowing the engine) he would have advanced.

Crowning The 2007 NASCAR Champion

Final Race – Homestead-Miami

Below are how the final-four drivers in the Chase ran at Homestead-Miami and how the championship panned out.

  1. Jeff Gordon – 3rd place
  2. Jimmie Johnson – 5th place
  3. Jeff Burton – 15th place
  4. Kyle Busch – 19th place

In this season under the 2016 rules Jeff Gordon would have won the championship, which would have been the fifth of his career. Matt Kenseth won the final race of the year in 2007.

If NASCAR had dreamed up this current chase system some 10 years ago it would have had an immediate impact on history as Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson (twice) would not have won the championship in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively. Although Gordon is not another first-time winner, it would have been nice to see him win his fifth title.

2008 Season Overview

2008 Final Season Standings

  1. Jimmie Johnson (Champion)
  2. Carl Edwards (-69)
  3. Greg Biffle (-217)
  4. Kevin Harvick (-276)
  5. Clint Bowyer (-303)
  6. Jeff Burton (-349)
  7. Jeff Gordon (-368)
  8. Denny Hamlin (-470)
  9. Tony Stewart (-482)
  10. Kyle Busch (-498)
  11. Matt Kenseth (-500)
  12. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-557)

Above are the final standings from the 2008 season and the 12 drivers that were in the fourth ever NASCAR chase. 2008 was the second year that NASCAR opened the Chase field from 10 drivers to 12 drivers. Entering the final race of the Chase in 2008 Johnson pretty much had the chase wrapped up and was on his way to his third championship in a row.

2008 Chase Grid Under 2016 Rules (wins in parenthesis)

  1. Kyle Busch (8)
  2. Carl Edwards (6)
  3. Jimmie Johnson (4)
  4. Kasey Kahne (2)
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1)
  6. Clint Bowyer (1)
  7. Denny Hamlin (1)
  8. Jeff Burton (1)
  9. Ryan Newman (1)
  10. Kurt Busch (1)
  11. Tony Stewart
  12. Greg Biffle
  13. Jeff Gordon
  14. Kevin Harvick
  15. Matt Kenseth
  16. David Ragan

Due to wins Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch would qualify for the Chase in 2008 and the final six spots were set based on points seeing as how there were only 10 different winners in the first 26 races. The points are then reset and three points are awarded for each win. This would have marked the first time that Ragan made the Chase.

2008 Chase Round of 16

Round of 16 Elimination

In the opening round of the Chase Biffle won twice and Johnson won once and they both clinched a spot in the second round of the Chase. After the first three races of the Chase 12 drivers moved on and four missed the cut as seen below, the drivers are ranked according to the points they had after the first three races even though points reset before the next round.

  1. Greg Biffle
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Carl Edwards
  4. Jeff Burton
  5. Kevin Harvick
  6. Jeff Gordon
  7. Clint Bowyer
  8. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  9. Matt Kenseth
  10. Kasey Kahne
  11. David Ragan
  12. Denny Hamlin

——————————————————–

  • 13th – Tony Stewart (-4)
  • 14th – Ryan Newman (-8)
  • 15th – Kurt Busch (-13)
  • 16th – Kyle Busch (-24)

The big surprise from this round would have been Kyle Busch. Busch won eight of the first 26 races of 2008 but he fell apart in the Chase. A wreck, engine failure and poor finish doomed his chances to move on. Another surprise of the first round was the fact that David Ragan was able to move onto the second round.

2008 Chase Round of 12

Round of 12 Elimination

In round two of the Chase Stewart won the opening race which for him was one race too late. The next two races were won by Burton and Johnson which helped move them into the next round. After the second round four more drivers were eliminated and the top-8 moved on which can be seen below. The top-8 are arranged by how they were in points after the second round even though points reset before the third round begins.

  1. Jeff Burton
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. David Ragan
  4. Clint Bowyer
  5. Kevin Harvick
  6. Greg Biffle
  7. Jeff Gordon
  8. Denny Hamlin

—————————————————–

  • 9th – Carl Edwards (-5)
  • 10th – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-5)
  • 11th – Kasey Kahne  (-11)
  • 12th – Matt Kenseth (-13)

The biggest surprise in this round would have once again been that of David Ragan. Aside from the drivers who won in this round, Ragan had the most points of the remaining Chase drivers. Another surprise was Edwards falling out. Edwards was second in the series in wins to this point only to Kyle Busch who was eliminated after the first round.

2008 Chase Round of 8

Round of 8 Elimination

During the third round of the Chase Johnson won the third race one again again assure his spot in the next round. The first two races of the round were won by Carl Edwards who missed making this round by five points. The final-four are arranged based on how they stood in points after the third round even though points reset before the final race.

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Greg Biffle
  3. Denny Hamlin
  4. Kevin Harvick

——————————————————

  • 5th – David Ragan(-2)
  • 6th – Clint Bowyer (-8)
  • 7th – Jeff Burton (-13)
  • 8th – Jeff Gordon (-24)

The fairy tale came to an end for David Ragan in crushing fashion here in Round Three. Ragan put together three more solid runs but just missed the cut. Gordon was also on the verge of moving on after the first two races of the round be he finished outside of the top-40 in the third race and that killed his chances of getting into the top-four.

Crowning The 2008 NASCAR Champion

Final Race – Homestead-Miami

Below are how the final-four drivers in the chase ran at Homestead-Miami and how the championship panned out.

  1. Kevin Harvick – 2nd place
  2. Denny Hamlin – 13th place
  3. Jimmie Johnson – 15th place
  4. Greg Biffle – 18th place

In this season under the 2016 rules Kevin Harvick would have won the championship, which would have been the first of his career. Carl Edwards won the final race of the year in 2008. Edwards won three of the last four races of 2008 which gave him nine wins on the year and the most in the series.

If NASCAR had dreamed up this current Chase system some 10 years ago it would have had an immediate impact on history as every champion from 2004-2008 would have been different. Harvick would have been the third first-time champion crowned under this new format.

2009 Season Overview

2009 Final Season Standings

  1. Jimmie Johnson (Champion)
  2. Mark Martin (-141)
  3. Jeff Gordon (-179)
  4. Kurt Busch (-206)
  5. Denny Hamlin (-317)
  6. Tony Stewart (-343)
  7. Greg Biffle (-360)
  8. Juan Pablo Montoya (-400)
  9. Ryan Newman (-477)
  10. Kasey Kahne (-524)
  11. Carl Edwards (-534)
  12. Brian Vickers (-723)

Above are the final standings from the 2009 season and the 12 drivers that were in the 2009 Chase. Entering the final race of the Chase in 2009 Johnson had already clinched his fourth consecutive championship.

2009 Chase Grid Under 2016 Rules (wins in parenthesis)

  1. Mark Martin (4)
  2. Kyle Busch (4)
  3. Tony Stewart (3)
  4. Jimmie Johnson (3)
  5. Denny Hamlin (2)
  6. Kasey Kahne (2)
  7. Matt Kenseth (2)
  8. Jeff Gordon (1)
  9. Kurt Busch (1)
  10. Brian Vickers (1)
  11. David Reutimann (1)
  12. Joey Logano (1)
  13. Carl Edwards
  14. Ryan Newman
  15. Juan Pablo Montoya
  16. Greg Biffle

Due to wins Kyle Busch, David Reutimann and Joey Logano would qualify for the Chase in 2009 and the final four spots were set based on points seeing as how there were only 12 different winners in the first 26 races. The points are then reset and three points are awarded for each win. This would have marked the first time that Reutimann and Montoya made the Chase.

2009 Chase Round of 16

Round of 16 Elimination

In the opening round of the Chase Martin, Stewart and Johnson each won a race which moved them into the next round. After the first three races of the Chase 12 drivers moved on and four missed the cut as seen below, the drivers are ranked according to the points they had after the first three races even though points reset before the next round.

  1. Mark Martin
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Tony Stewart
  4. Juan Pablo Montoya
  5. Kurt Busch
  6. Jeff Gordon
  7. Denny Hamlin
  8. Greg Biffle
  9. Carl Edwards
  10. Ryan Newman
  11. David Reutimann
  12. Kyle Busch

——————————————————–

  • 13th – Kasey Kahne (-8)
  • 14th – Matt Kenseth (-19)
  • 15th – Brian Vickers (-25)
  • 16th – Joey Logano (-50)

There were not many surprises in the opening round of the 2009 Chase. I guess you could say that Reutimann moving on was a surprise but you have to remember that he did win a race in 2009.

2009 Chase Round of 12

Round of 12 Elimination

In round two of the Chase Johnson won the first two races and then Hamlin won the final race of the round which saved him from elimination. After the second round four more drivers were eliminated and the top-8 moved on which can be seen below. The top-8 are arranged by how they were in points after the second round even though points reset before the third round begins.

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Jeff Gordon
  4. Mark Martin
  5. Tony Stewart
  6. Ryan Newman
  7. Kurt Busch
  8. Kyle Busch

—————————————————–

  • 9th – Juan Pablo Montoya (-4)
  • 10th – David Reutimann (-13)
  • 11th – Greg Biffle  (-25)
  • 12th – Carl Edwards (-30)

Again, no real big surprises in the second round of the Chase. Hamlin wrecked in the first two races of the round which made it seem likely that he was done but by winning the third race of the round he moved on in the chase and knocked out Montoya in the process.

2009 Chase Round of 8

Round of 8 Elimination

During the third round of the Chase non-chaser Jamie McMurray won the opening race. The next two races were won by Johnson and Kurt Busch who punched their tickets to the finale. The final-four are arranged based on how they stood in points after the third round even though points reset before the final race.

  1. Kurt Busch
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Mark Martin
  4. Kyle Busch

——————————————————

  • 5th – Jeff Gordon (-5)
  • 6th – Denny Hamlin (-6)
  • 7th – Tony Stewart (-29)
  • 8th – Ryan Newman (-31)

After wrecking in the second race of the round Johnson was in a hole entering the final race and needed to win to move on, which he did. The win by Johnson kept Gordon from going into the finale. Stewart and Newman both had poor showings over this span of three races.

Crowning The 2009 NASCAR Champion

Final Race – Homestead-Miami

Below are how the final-four drivers in the Chase ran at Homestead-Miami and how the championship panned out.

  1. Kurt Busch – 4th place
  2. Jimmie Johnson – 5th place
  3. Kyle Busch – 8th place
  4. Mark Martin – 12th place

In this season under the 2016 rules Kurt Busch would have won the championship, which would have been the first of his career since the one in 2004 would not have happened.. Denny Hamlin won the final race of the year in 2009. Jeff Gordon finished this race in 6th behind both Johnson and Busch.

If NASCAR had dreamed up this current chase system some 10 years ago it would have had an immediate impact on history as every champion from 2004-2009 would have been different. Busch would have been the fourth first-time champion under this new format which might have been a breath of fresh air from the Jimmie Johnson parade in the real world.

2010 Season Overview

2010 Final Season Standings

  1. Jimmie Johnson (Champion)
  2. Denny Hamlin (-39)
  3. Kevin Harvick (-41)
  4. Carl Edwards (-229)
  5. Matt Kenseth (-328)
  6. Greg Biffle (-375)
  7. Tony Stewart (-401)
  8. Kyle Busch (-440)
  9. Jeff Gordon (-446)
  10. Clint Bowyer (-467)
  11. Kurt Busch (-480)
  12. Jeff Burton (-589)

Above are the final standings from the 2010 season and the 12 drivers that were in the 2010 Chase. Entering the final race of the chase in 2010 Denny Hamlin was actually the point leader. However, a rough race following an early spin led to Hamlin losing out on the title and Johnson winning his fifth in a row.

2010 Chase Grid Under 2016 Rules (wins in parenthesis)

  1. Denny Hamlin (6)
  2. Jimmie Johnson (5)
  3. Kevin Harvick (3)
  4. Kyle Busch(3)
  5. Kurt Busch (2)
  6. Jamie McMurray (2)
  7. Tony Stewart (1)
  8. Greg Biffle (1)
  9. Ryan Newman (1)
  10. Juan Pablo Montoya (1)
  11. David Reutimann (1)
  12. Jeff Gordon
  13. Carl Edwards
  14. Jeff Burton
  15. Matt Kenseth
  16. Clint Bowyer

Due to wins Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, David Reutimann and Juan Pablo Montoya would have qualified for the Chase, this would have been the second time Reutimann and Montoya made the Chase. McMurray would have missed the chase in the actual format despite winning twice in 2010. The rest of the field was set based on points as only 11 spots went to race winners.

2010 Chase Round of 16

Round of 16 Elimination

In the opening round of the Chase Bowyer, Johnson and Biffle each won a race which moved them into the next round. After the first three races of the Chase 12 drivers moved on and four missed the cut as seen below, the drivers are ranked according to the points they had after the first three races even though points reset before the next round.

  1. Clint Bowyer
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Greg Biffle
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Kevin Harvick
  6. Jamie McMurray
  7. Carl Edwards
  8. Jeff Gordon
  9. Ryan Newman
  10. Kyle Busch
  11. Kurt Busch
  12. Jeff Burton

——————————————————–

  • 13th – Tony Stewart (-8)
  • 14th – Matt Kenseth (-14)
  • 15th – Juan Pablo Montoya (-28)
  • 16th – David Ruetimann (-40)

There were not many surprises in the opening round of the 2009 Chase. After winning the first race Bowyer didn’t run well in the next two races and as a result he would have missed the first cut based on points, therefore the win saved him.

2010 Chase Round of 12

Round of 12 Elimination

In round two of the Chase Tony Stewart won the first race as a non-chase, the next two races were won by Jamie McMurray and Denny Hamlin. After the second round four more drivers were eliminated and the top-8 moved on which can be seen below. The top-8 are arranged by how they were in points after the second round even though points reset before the third round begins.

  1. Jamie McMurray
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Jimmie Johnson
  4. Kevin Harvick
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Jeff Gordon
  7. Jeff Burton
  8. Carl Edwards

—————————————————–

  • 9th – Clint Bowyer (-2)
  • 10th – Kurt Busch (-13)
  • 11th – Ryan Newman  (-17)
  • 12th – Greg Biffle (-25)

There were not any bug surprises in this round of the Chase but the top cars all ran better than the rest of the field. McMurray, Hamlin, Johnson and Harvick all had great runs in this round while the others each had their struggles.

2010 Chase Round of 8

Round of 8 Elimination

During the third round of the Chase non-chaser Clint Bowyer won the opening race. The next two races were won by Hamlin and Edwards who punched their tickets to the finale. The final-four are arranged based on how they stood in points after the third round even though points reset before the final race.

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Carl Edwards
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Jimmie Johnson

——————————————————

  • 5th – Jeff Gordon (-36)
  • 6th – Jamie McMurray (-42)
  • 7th – Kyle Busch (-49)
  • 8th – Jeff Burton (-76)

The 36-point gap between 4th and 5th would have been the largest in this format of the Chase thus far. In 2010 Johnson, Harvick and Hamlin were head and shoulders above the rest of the field and it showed in he third round of the Chase.

Crowning The 2010 NASCAR Champion

Final Race – Homestead-Miami

Below are how the final-four drivers in the chase ran at Homestead-Miami and how the championship panned out.

  1. Carl Edwards – 1st place
  2. Jimmie Johnson – 2nd place
  3. Kevin Harvick – 3rd place
  4. Denny Hamlin – 14th place

In this season under the 2016 rules Carl Edwards won have won the championship which would have been the first of his career. Johnson would once again run second in the points. The end of this race would have been fun to watch as Edwards, Johnson and Harvick held the top-3 spots.

If NASCAR had dreamed up this current chase system some 10 years ago it would have had an immediate impact on history as every champion from 2004-2010 would have been different. Edwards would have been the fifth first-time champion under this format, continuing a trend that would have changed the history of NASCAR.

2011 Season Overview

2011 Final Season Standings

  1. Tony Stewart (Champion)
  2. Carl Edwards (-0)
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Matt Kenseth
  5. Brad Keselowski
  6. Jimmie Johnson
  7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  8. Jeff Gordon
  9. Denny Hamlin
  10. Ryan Newman
  11. Kurt Busch
  12. Kyle Busch

Above are the final standings from the 2011 season and the 12 drivers that were in the 2011 Chase. Entering the final race of the Chase in 2011 Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards were neck and neck with each other. At the end of the race they were actually tied in the point’s but Stewart won the title based on his five Chase wins

2011 Chase Grid Under 2016 Rules (wins in parenthesis)

  1. Kyle Busch (3)
  2. Kevin Harvick (3)
  3. Jeff Gordon (3)
  4. Brad Keselowski (3)
  5. Matt Kenseth  (2)
  6. Carl Edwards (1)
  7. Jimmie Johnson (1)
  8. Kurt Busch (1)
  9. Ryan Newman (1)
  10. Denny Hamlin (1)
  11. Marcos Ambrose (1)
  12. Paul Menard (1)
  13. Regan Smith (1)
  14. Tony Stewart (0)
  15. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (0)
  16. AJ Allmendinger (0)

Due to wins Regan Smith, Paul Menard and Marcos Ambrose would have qualified for the Chase. there were 13 winners in 2011 not counting Trevor Bayne who would not have been eligible to make the Chase although that might have been different since he won Daytona and he might have found a full-time ride. The final three spots went to those highest in the point standings with no wins.

2011 Chase Round of 16

Round of 16 Elimination

In the opening round of the Chase Stewart won twice and Kurt Busch won once which allowed them both to advance. After the first three races of the Chase 12 drivers moved on and four missed the cut as seen below, the drivers are ranked according to the points they had after the first three races even though points reset before the next round.

  1. Tony Stewart
  2. Kurt Busch
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Carl Edwards
  5. Brad Keselowski
  6. Jimmie Johnson
  7. Matt Kenseth
  8. Kyle Busch
  9. Jeff Gordon
  10. Regan Smith
  11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  12. Ryan Newman

——————————————————–

  • 13th – Paul Menard (-2)
  • 14th – AJ Allmendinger (-3)
  • 15th – Marcos Ambrose (-4)
  • 16th – Denny Hamlin (-24)

The 2011 Chase would have been one of the closest in history to this point after the first round. Newman took the 12th spot in the second round but he did so by only two points and there were three drivers within four points of that spot.

2011 Chase Round of 12

Round of 12 Elimination

In round two of the Chase Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth each won a race with the third being won by a non-Chase driver. After the second round four more drivers were eliminated and the top-8 moved on which can be seen below. The top-8 are arranged by how they were in points after the second round even though points reset before the third round begins.

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Matt Kenseth
  3. Carl Edwards
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Tony Stewart
  6. Kyle Busch
  7. Kevin Harvick
  8. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

—————————————————–

  • 9th – Kurt Busch (-2)
  • 10th – Ryan Newman (-4)
  • 11th – Regan Smith  (-19)
  • 12th – Jeff Gordon (-2o)

Jeff Gordon struggled in this round while Jimmie Johnson ran well. Earnhardt Jr. took the 8th spot in the third round but it would have been a close battle as both Busch and Newman were within four points of him.

2011 Chase Round of 8

Round of 8 Elimination

During the third round of the Chase Stewart again won a pair of races with non-Chase driver Kasey Kahne winning one as well. The final-four are arranged based on how they stood in points after the third round even though points reset before the final race.

  1. Tony Stewart
  2. Carl Edwards
  3. Jimmie Johnson
  4. Kevin Harvick

——————————————————

  • 5th – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-3)
  • 6th – Brad Keselowski (-22)
  • 7th – Matt Kenseth (-31)
  • 8th – Kyle Busch (-50)

Earnhardt Jr. would have kept the pressure on Harvick in this round but Keselowski, Kenseth and Busch each stumbled. Busch actually missed the second race of this round as his No. 18 machine was driven by Michael McDowell.

Crowning The 2011 NASCAR Champion

Final Race – Homestead-Miami

Below are how the final-four drivers in the chase ran at Homestead-Miami and how the championship panned out.

  1. Tony Stewart – 1st place
  2. Carl Edwards – 2nd place
  3. Kevin Harvick – 3rd place
  4. Jimmie Johnson – 14th place

In this season under the 2016 rules Tony Stewart still would have won the title. Edwards would have come up just shy of winning back-to-back titles and Harvick would have finished third in the standings yet again. Johnson would have been in the hunt which he was not in the real standings come the final race of the season.

If NASCAR had dreamed up this current Chase system some 10 years ago it would have had an immediate impact on history as every champion from 2004-2010 would have been different with Stewart being the only one not to change. Given all of the parody, Stewart’s win might have been even more impressive.

2012 Season Overview

2012 Final Season Standings

  1. Brad Keselowski (Champion)
  2. Clint Bowyer (-39)
  3. Jimmie Johnson (-40)
  4. Kasey Kahne (-55)
  5. Greg Biffle (-68)
  6. Denny Hamlin (-71)
  7. Matt Kenseth (-76)
  8. Kevin Harvick (-79)
  9. Tony Stewart (-89)
  10. Jeff Gordon (-97)
  11. Martin Truex Jr. (-101)
  12. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-155)

Above are the final standings from the 2012 season and the 12 drivers that were in the 2012 Chase. Entering the final race of the Chase in 2012 Jimmie Johnson was only 20 points behind Brad Keselowski. At the time many believed that Johnson would find a way to overcome the 20-point deficit and win this sixth championship. However, that was not the case and Johnson would have to wait until 2013 to win his sixth Sprint Cup Series championship.

2012 Chase Grid Under 2016 Rules (wins in parenthesis)

  1. Denny Hamlin (4)
  2. Jimmie Johnson (3)
  3. Tony Stewart (3)
  4. Brad Keselowski (3)
  5. Greg Biffle (2)
  6. Clint Bowyer (2)
  7. Kasey Kahne (2)
  8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1)
  9. Matt Kenseth (1)
  10. Jeff Gordon (1)
  11. Kyle Busch (1)
  12. Marcos Ambrose (1)
  13. Ryan Newman (1)
  14. Joey Logano (1)
  15. Kevin Harvick (0)
  16. Martin Truex Jr. (0)

Due to wins Kyle Busch, Marcos Ambrose, Ryan Newman and Joey Logano all would have qualified for the Chase in 2012. There were 14 winners in 2014 which means that the final two spots in the field were set by points and those spots would have went to Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. based on the points earned in 2012.

2012 Chase Round of 16

Round of 16 Elimination

In the opening round of the Chase Brad Keselowski won twice and Denny Hamlin won once which allowed them both to advance. After the first three races of the chase 12 drivers moved on and four missed the cut as seen below, the drivers are ranked according to the points they had after the first three races even though points reset before the next round.

  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Jimmie Johnson
  4. Clint Bowyer
  5. Kasey Kahne
  6. Tony Stewart
  7. Joey Logano
  8. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  9. Martin Truex Jr.
  10. Ryan Newman
  11. Jeff Gordon
  12. Kyle Busch

——————————————————–

  • 13th – Kevin Harvick (-2)
  • 14th – Greg Biffle (-4)
  • 15th – Matt Kenseth (-26)
  • 16th – Marcos Ambrose (-30)

The 202 chase was extremely close after the first cut with only eight points separating 9th-place Truex Jr. and 14th-place Biffle. Kenseth struggling the way that he did and being knocked out might have been a surprise to some people.

2012 Chase Round of 12

Round of 12 Elimination In round two of the Chase Clint Bowyer was the only chase driver to win a race as Kenseth won the other two in the round. After the second round four more drivers were eliminated and the top-8 moved on which can be seen below. The top-8 are arranged by how they were in points after the second round even though points reset before the third round begins.

  1. Clint Bowyer
  2. Kasey Kahne
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Martin Truex Jr.
  5. Jimmie Johnson
  6. Jeff Gordon
  7. Denny Hamlin
  8. Kyle Busch

—————————————————–

  • 9th – Tony Stewart (-1)
  • 10th – Joey Logano (-15)
  • 11th – Ryan Newman  (-21)
  • 12th – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-71)

Earnhardt Jr. missed two races in this round of the Chase and that was why he ended up being 12th in the standings. Once again Busch barely made it to the next round as he was only one point ahead of Tony Stewart

2012 Chase Round of 8


Round of 8 Elimination

During the third round of the Chase Jimmie Johnson won twice and the final race was won by non-Chase driver Kevin Harvick.. The final-four are arranged based on how they stood in points after the third round even though points reset before the final race.

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Kasey Kahne

——————————————————

  • 5th – Clint Bowyer. (-7)
  • 6th – Jeff Gordon(-22)
  • 7th – Denny Hamlin (-22)
  • 8th – Martin Truex Jr. (-48)

Johnson and Busch put on a show in the third round of the Chase. It was a three-man race for the final two spots between Keselowski, Kahne and Bowyer heading into the ninth race of the Chase but Bowyer struggled.

Crowning The 2012 NASCAR Champion

Final Race – Homestead-Miami

Below are how the final-four drivers in the chase ran at Homestead-Miami and how the championship panned out.

  1. Kyle Busch – 4th place
  2. Brad Keselowski – 15th place
  3. Kasey Kahne – 24th place
  4. Jimmie Johnson – 36th place

In this season under the 2016 rules Kyle Busch would have won his first Sprint Cup Series title. The actual champion Keselowski would have finished second with Kahne coming in third. Johnson would have finished in fourth for the second season in a row.  Keep in mind that under this system Johnson would only have one title after the 2012 season as opposed to the 12 that he had in the real world.

If NASCAR had dreamed up this current chase system some 10 years ago it would have had an immediate impact on history as every champion from 2004-2012 would have been different with Tony Stewart (2011) being the only one not to change.

2013 Season Overview

2013 Final Season Standings

  1. Jimmie Johnson (Champion)
  2. Matt Kenseth (-19)
  3. Kevin harvick (-34)
  4. Kyle Busch (-55)
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-56)
  6. Jeff Gordon (-82)
  7. Clint Bowyer (-83)
  8. Joey Logano (-96)
  9. Greg Biffle (-98)
  10. Kurt Busch (-110)
  11. Ryan Newman(-133)
  12. Kasey Kahne (-136)
  13. Carl Edwards (-137)

Above are the final standings from the 2013 season and the 13 drivers that were in the 2012 Chase. 13 drivers were let into the Chase by NASCAR after the issue at Richmond with MWR. Entering the final race of the Chase in 2013 Jimmie Johnson was 28 points ahead of Matt Kenseth and he knew that a sixth championship was well within his reach.

2013 Chase Grid Under 2016 Rules (wins in parenthesis)

  1. Matt Kenseth (5)
  2. Jimmie Johnson (4)
  3. Kyle Busch (4)
  4. Kevin Harvick (2)
  5. Carl Edwards (2)
  6. Kasey Kahne (2)
  7. Joey Logano (1)
  8. Greg Biffle (1)
  9. Ryan Newman (1)
  10. Martin Truex Jr.(1)
  11. David Ragan (1)
  12. Jamie McMurray (0)
  13. Clint Bowyer (0)
  14. Dale Earnhardt Jr.(0)
  15. Kurt Busch (0)
  16. Jeff Gordon (0)

Jamie McMurray would have made the Chase in this situation after an injury to Tony Stewart took him out of the No. 14 machine. McMurray would have been next up with the most points so he would have slotted into Stewart’s spot.

2013 Chase Round of 16

Round of 16 Elimination

In the opening round of the Chase Matt Kenseth won twice and Jimmie Johnson won once which allowed them both to advance. After the first three races of the chase 12 drivers moved on and four missed the cut as seen below, the drivers are ranked according to the points they had after the first three races even though points reset before the next round.

  1. Matt Kenseth
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. Jeff Gordon
  5. Greg Biffle
  6. Kevin Harvick
  7. Ryan Newman
  8. Jamie McMurray
  9. Clint Bowyer
  10. Kurt Busch
  11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  12. Martin Truex Jr.

——————————————————–

  • 13th – Joey Logano (-10)
  • 14th – Carl Edwards (-12)
  • 15th – Kasey Kahne (-19)
  • 16th – David Ragan (-37)

The 2013 Chase was not as close as the opening round of the 2012 Chase. The surprises in this round came courtesy of Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards. While neither was a favorite to win a championship in 2013, they did both with a pair of races during the season. As a result of that many would have expected them to at least make it out of the first round of the Chase.

2013 Chase Round of 12

Round of 12 Elimination

In round two of the Chase Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray and non-Chase Brad Keselowski won races. After the second round four more drivers were eliminated and the top-8 moved on which can be seen below. The top-8 are arranged by how they were in points after the second round even though points reset before the third round begins.

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Jamie McMurray
  3. Jimmie Johnson
  4. Jeff Gordon
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  6. Matt Kenseth
  7. Clint Bowyer
  8. Kurt Busch

—————————————————–

  • 9th – Greg Biffle (-6)
  • 10th – Kyle Busch (-8)
  • 11th – Ryan Newman  (-18)
  • 12th – Martin Truex Jr. (-18)

The win in this round for McMurray was huge as he would not have made it into the next round had he not won. The win was also big for Greg Biffle who was knocked out of the Chase as a result of the McMurray win. The departure of Kyle Busch was also surprising in this round as he seemed to have more momentum than his brother heading into this round.

2013 Chase Round of 8

Round of 8 Elimination

During the third round of the Chase Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon each won a race which put them into the final-four. The final-four are arranged based on how they stood in points after the third round even though points reset before the final race.

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Jeff Gordon
  3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  4. Kevin Harvick

——————————————————

  • 5th – Matt kenseth (-13)
  • 6th – Clint Bowyer (-19)
  • 7th – Kurt Busch (-27)
  • 8th – Jamie McMurray (-45)

The third round of the 2013 Chase would not have been all that close. Johnson, Gordon and Harvick each won a race which put them into the championship race in Miami. Dale Earnhardt Jr. did not win in this round but he did run in the top-five consistently and as a result Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer were not able to keep him from being the third HMS car in the final-four.

Crowning The 2013 NASCAR Champion

Final Race – Homestead-Miami

Below are how the final-four drivers in the chase ran at Homestead-Miami and how the championship panned out.

  1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 3rd
  2. Jimmie Johnson – 9th
  3. Kevin Harvick – 10th
  4. Jeff Gordon – 11th

In this season under the 2016 rules Dale Earnhardt Jr. would have won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. The actual champion Jimmie Johnson would have finished second with Harvick coming in third. For Johnson it would have been another season where he came close to a championship but did not win one.

In the real world this would have been Johnson’s sixth championship, however if the format were different, he only would have won one title. This season also would have produced another first-time champion, something that this format has done several times between 2004-2013.

Reviewing The Champions

Had the 2016 NASCAR Chase format been used from 2004-2013 (and all things remained the same) NASCAR would have been totally different. Gone would have been Johnson’s six titles and his five championships in a row. That dominance would have been replaced by a great deal of parity. First-time champions would have been one of the major themes in NASCAR from 2004-2013 had NASCAR used this newer format as compared to the older one.

Below is a look at all of the champions that would have been crowned under the new system from 2004-2013.

Reviewing The Champions

  • 2004 Season – Actual Champion (Kurt Busch), New Champion (Jimmie Johnson)
  • 2005 Season – Actual Champion (Tony Stewart), New Champion (Greg Biffle)
  • 2006 Season – Actual Champion (Jimmie Johnson), New champion (Denny Hamlin)
  • 2007 Season – Actual Champion (Jimmie Johnson) , New Champion (Jeff Gordon)
  • 2008 Season – Actual Champion (Jimmie Johnson), New Champion (Kevin Harvick)
  • 2009 Season – Actual Champion (Jimmie Johnson), New Champion (Kurt Busch)
  • 2010 Season – Actual Champion (Jimmie Johnson), New Champion (Carl Edwards)
  • 2011 Season – Actual Champion (Tony Stewart), New Champion (Tony Stewart)
  • 2012 Season – Actual Champion (Brad Keselowski), New Champion (Kyle Busch)
  • 2013 Season – Actual Champion (Jimmie Johnson), New Champion (Dale Earnhardt Jr.)

From 2004-2013 NASCAR only saw four different champions in 10 years. Had the other format been used, NASCAR would have seen 10 different champions with the first repeat champion not happening until 2014 when Kevin Harvick would have won his second championship. Then of course Kyle Busch would have won his second in 2015 and Jeff Gordon would have retired with five to his credit.

Again, this isn’t an exact science but it’s safe to say that the current Chase format promotes parity. It’s also safe to say that Jimmie Johnson does not excel under the current format. With that in mind, it’s not farfetched to believe that NASCAR could have had several different champions from 2004-2013 had the format been different.

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