Chase for the Cup

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The Chase for the Cup , from 2004 to 2007 Chase for the Nextel Cup and from 2008 to 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup is a play-off system that is used in the NASCAR series and is used to determine the master of the series. In NASCAR parlance, it is often just called The Chase . Until 2015 the system was only used in the Cup Series , and in 2016 it was also used for the first time in the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series .

Monster Energy Cup Series


The Chase for the Cup was introduced by NASCAR in 2004 when Nextel became the sponsor of the series. After 26 races, the ten drivers with the most points qualified for the chase. The leader of the championship was set to 5,050 points, the second to 5,045, etc., each with an interval of five points. Here, too, the point allocation corresponded to the usual point system, according to which the winner of a race received 180 points, the driver with the most leading laps in a race received five bonus points and each driver with one leading lap per race also received five bonus points.


In the 2007 season, a revised version of the Chase was used for the first time. Twelve instead of ten drivers now took part, and all participating drivers received 5000 points at the beginning of the chase as well as ten bonus points for every victory they had so far. The changes were made to put a stronger focus on the race winners.


In 2011 the system was revised again. As before, the ten drivers with the most points were able to qualify, and the two drivers with the most wins, who were between 11th and 20th in the points classification, were able to secure a place in the chase. The chase participants started with 2000 points, the drivers who were in the top 10 of the points received an additional three points for each previous victory.

Since 2014

The biggest change to date was announced in January 2014. The field of participants has been increased to 16 drivers, each winner of the regular season who is in the top 30 of the points classification after the 26th race receives a place in the chase, should there be fewer than 16 winners, the remaining places are provided by the drivers most points filled. At the start of the chase, each driver receives 2000 points plus three points for every win in the regular season. The nine races of the chase up to the season finale in Homestead are divided into three segments, each segment consists of three races. A victory in one of the races in the segment means automatic qualification for the next segment, after the three races the four drivers with the fewest points are eliminated from the chase. This leaves four drivers for the season finale, the driver who achieved the best result in the last race is crowned champion. So it is quite possible that a driver gets 10 victories in the regular season, but is eliminated in the chase before the last race and thus does not become champion. It should also be noted that of the last 4 drivers, the champion becomes the one who gets the furthest in the final race. So if all 4 title contenders are involved in an accident, it is crucial whose car is "closest" to the finish line. A championship can theoretically also be decided by who "slides" the furthest after an accident.

Xfinity and Truck Series

The chase introduced in 2016 in the lower NASCAR leagues is similar to the system introduced in the Cup Series from 2014, but it only lasts seven races and only two segments are held until the season finale. The field of participants in the Chase is also smaller, with twelve drivers in the Xfinity Series and only eight in the Camping World Truck Series. In the Truck Series, only two instead of four drivers are eliminated after each segment.

Individual evidence

  1. Expansion, eliminations highlight Chase format changes . ( online [accessed December 21, 2016]).
  2. Chase format extended to XFINITY, Camping World Truck Series . ( online [accessed December 21, 2016]).

Web links