Phoenix action proves NASCAR got new Chase format right

While the drivers with the most wins may not have made the final four, Larry McReynolds believes NASCAR got it right when introducing the new Chase format. 

Chris Trotman

Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway was to me just another example of how NASCAR got this Chase format dialed in just right.

With less than 100 laps to go in the race on Sunday we had all eight Chase drivers within 13 points of each other. We had just about every storyline you can imagine.

Two of the four drivers that transferred to the championship race this Sunday — Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano — each had issues on pit road. Both drivers had to utilize the free pass to get back into contention.

The other big storyline was Jeff Gordon who has two second-place finishes in this last three-race round didn’t even transfer. I think that just goes to show you how close the competition is with these drivers.

Just like Brad Keselowski did at Talladega, Kevin Harvick went to Phoenix knowing he had to win the race to transfer to the final four and simply goes out there and does it.

Are the four drivers who enter Homestead with a chance to win the championship the absolute best four drivers of 2014? I can’t say they are.

I pose this question to you; how often do the two very best teams play for the Super Bowl, the World Series or the NBA Championship at the end of each season? Look at the new College Football Playoff system. Is there any guarantee, when it’s absolutely said and done that it will be the four best teams of the season going for the championship? No there is no guarantee that will happen.

It’s the way the system works and these four drivers — Kevin, Denny, Joey and Ryan Newman — worked the system to their best advantage and now here they are all four of them on the edge of winning their first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

VIDEO: Newman’s pass in Phoenix & Keselowski’s pass in Texas product of Chase format