NASCAR places priority on winning races in new playoff system

Brad Keselowski drinks a beer in front of NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France in Champions Victory...

Brad Keselowski drinks a beer in front of NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France in Champions Victory Lane after winning the series championship in 2012. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images/AFP)

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:10 PM ET

NASCAR boss Brian France has announced a complete makeover of the sport’s Sprint Cup championship playoff system, even though the Charlotte Observer’s Jim Utter beat him to the punch earlier this week.

Here are the key parts of those changes:

- A victory in the first 26 races all but guarantees a berth in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup — a change that will put an unprecedented importance on winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race all season long.

- Expanding the Chase field from 12 to 16 drivers, with those drivers advancing to what now will be known as the NASCAR Chase Grid.

- The number of championship drivers in contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship will decrease after every three Chase races, from 16 to start in the Chase Grid; 12 after Chase race No. 3; eight after Chase race No. 6; and four after Chase race No. 9.


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