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- Up till 2003, the NASCAR Cup Collection driver with probably the most factors on the finish of the season was declared the champion.
- After Matt Kenseth received the 2003 championship with only one race win, new NASCAR CEO/Chairman Brian France devised a revolutionary system that it was believed would create elevated consideration and recognition.
- Sadly, the fan hatred or just indifference to the brand new Chase format in 2004 finally contributed to the downturn of recognition of the sequence and the fervent following of followers.
For probably the most half, at the least on the outset, NASCAR followers hated the Chase format, feeling it was a synthetic option to crown a champion
The 2004 NASCAR Cup season noticed important modifications that proceed to impression the game to this very day.
The 2 most notable modifications had been:
• With Winston and R.J. Reynolds having ended their 33-year sponsorship of NASCAR’s Cup Collection on the finish of the 2003 season, a brand new firm took over because the sequence’ main entitlement sponsor: Nextel.
• RJR’s departure additionally prompted a significant change in how groups certified for the Cup championship. Up till 2003, groups completed every season the way in which NASCAR had initially set its standings up again when it shaped in 1948. Easy. The motive force with probably the most factors on the finish of the season incomes the championship, whereas drivers with fewer factors would end in numerical/sequential order.
Enter Matt Kenseth’s 2003 championship season.
When Kenseth received the 2003 championship with only one race win, new NASCAR CEO/Chairman Brian France, who had changed his father, Invoice France Jr., when the elder France retired, the youthful France—after important session amongst lots of the sanctioning physique’s prime officers—devised a revolutionary system that it was believed would create elevated consideration and recognition.
That new idea could be known as the “Chase for the NEXTEL Cup”—additionally recognized extra merely as simply “The Chase”—a playoff sequence that will begin with 10 drivers competing within the ultimate 10 races to find out the eventual champion (the sector would subsequently enhance to 12 drivers in 2007 and finally 16 in 2014, which it stays at at the moment).
Even with the implementation of the playoff format, Roush Racing (earlier than it might develop into Roush Fenway Racing) would bookend its stranglehold on the Cup championship, as Kenseth received the ultimate Winston Cup crown and his teammate, Kurt Busch, would wind up profitable the primary NEXTEL Cup championship in 2004. Satirically, that will even be the final season the Roush group would win a Cup crown, a winless streak that is still intact at the moment.
For probably the most half, at the least on the outset, NASCAR followers hated the Chase format, feeling it was a synthetic option to crown a champion moderately than the title being rightfully received by the motive force who earned probably the most factors throughout the complete season, as had been the case for the earlier 55 years.
Sadly, the fan hatred or just indifference to the Chase format finally contributed to the downturn of recognition of the sequence and the fervent following of followers. The Chase format wasn’t the one factor that led to NASCAR’s reputation drop: a lot of it started with the tragic dying of the game’s largest icon, Dale Earnhardt, in a ultimate lap crash within the 2001 season-opening Daytona 500.
Earnhardt’s dying, the Chase format, the introduction of the Automotive of Tomorrow in 2007 and the eventual recession that started in 2007 and continued for the following a number of years, led to hundreds of job losses inside the sport, with groups folding, media protection considerably curtailed (to not point out dozens of standard reporters dropping their roles protecting the game), and a significant drop-off of sponsorship that continues at the moment.
Comply with Autoweek correspondent Jerry Bonkowski on Twitter @JerryBonkowski