While NASCAR officials did a great job when they unveiled the ten race, four round elimination playoff system to determine The Champion at the end of the season, they did so with some pretty bad decision making that hurt its credibility. Furthermore, it seemed like it was more geared towards excitement then creating a legitimate champion at the end of the season.
With that being said, the format does have its strong points and even its defenders, but what if NASCAR made a few more changes to it so everyone could enjoy? Of course, the change probably wouldn’t please every single person that watches the sport, especially with how divided NASCAR seems to be at times, but it might succeed in pleasing the majority if the right things are added.
Again, since we are aiming to please the majority and not everyone, some of these ideas might not stick as much as others do. In fact, if you’re a NASCAR purist, some of these choices might enrage you and make you want to give up on the sport completely. For those that want to see NASCAR reach its final form, however, here are five changes its playoff system needs.
5 Shorten the playoffs to seven races.
A shorter postseason might feel like a bit of a drag, but there are other fans that would say ten races is the way to many in determining a champion. With that in mind and the playoffs starting around the same time The NFL season does, the sport is forced to compete for attention against the biggest sport in North America.
Unfortunately for NASCAR, they have been steadily losing this competition for a long time now and really need to go back to the drawing board in order to bring eyeballs back. One way to do that would be to shorten the postseason to seven races, which will consist of three rounds of two races and a championship race at the homestead.
Not only does this increase the excitement level for fans, especially since there will be an elimination every two races instead of every three, it also shortens the postseason a little bit and moves things along a bit faster as well. Sure, seven seems like a pretty arbitrary number and it would be tough to decide on what tracks to cut, but a shorter season means possibly holding onto people’s attention.
4 Expand the playoff field to 24
The playoffs have centered around artificial excitement for a long time now and while some of that gets annoying from time to time, it can also be used to help enhance the playoff system in viable ways as well. For example, if NASCAR were to expand the playoff field to 24 drivers, it would give a lot more teams a chance to compete, help their sponsors gain more attention and give drivers more experience
While some might think this hurts the legitimacy of the playoff system and that the field should be kept at 16 drivers, expanding it to 24 drivers has a lot more benefits to it. In fact, it means that more drivers can be eliminated each round, which will only serve to make the playoffs even more intense and allow for a few underdog stories in the meantime time.
3 Eliminate 6 drivers every two races
Not only would eliminating six drivers every two races be a great way to create an anything can happen atmosphere during the playoffs, but it also creates a situation where more drivers will make it to the final finale in Homestead Miami. If nothing else, eliminat9ing more drivers is important. step in the process of making the playoffs more exciting and while it’s a small one, it will serve a crucial role later.
With that being said, imagine six drivers competing for their playoff life’s every two freaking weeks! Interestingly enough, this would also serve as an equalizer for teams hoping to unseat the big three in the playoffs and make a run at the titles themselves. In the end, maybe it will be more based on luck then some fans would like, but that’s kind of the direction they were going in any way.
2 Shorten races
Another crucial aspect in the evolution of The NASCAR playoffs is to shorten the races themselves. Of course, this is a change that NASCAR needs to make to just about every race on the circuit, but it becomes even more important in the playoffs. In fact, shortening races could be another thing that goes a long way in bringing fans back to the sport.
Think about it! NASCAR is again forced to compete with The NFL for the entirety of their postseason and it’s a fight they keep losing. With that in mind, why not make a race shorter, which will add excitement and intensity to the race itself, but also make it so it doesn’t take up a lot of time. At least this way, it will be easier to decide to make for fans to watch the race or at least pop in a bit more.
1 Six people battle for the championship.
The easy answer to that is more drivers competing for a championship, but exactly how many would be a good number? While this would ultimately be up to NASCAR discretion based on what they think will make the sport look legitimate, the way the eliminations listed above are set up leaves us with six final drivers to compete for the championship!
Not only would this give the big three and other teams like them to battle their way into the championship, but it also gives the underdog teams a chance to sneak in as well. If nothing else, that’s great for the sport, especially since it gives drivers more playoff experience and lower tiered teams more airtime, but it also does so in a way that makes things more exciting for everyone.