ThatsRacin

NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase has 1 clear winner

Complain about who is eliminated from the Chase, who is penalized and who is not, who was the instigator and who was the perpetrator.

Debate whether drivers should race hard and with respect – and how exactly you do both at the same time.

Worry about who may get bounced from the Sprint Cup series championship hunt or celebrate the fact eight drivers still have a chance to win it.

Whatever it is you feel right now as a race fan based on the events of the last several weeks, the fact you are still that engaged with two of 36 races still remaining this season shows NASCAR’s new Chase format has done just as intended.

Forget who wins and who doesn’t. That part really doesn’t matter – it’s just a bonus.

As this year’s Chase winds to a close, there are more drivers with a chance to win the championship this late in the season than ever before. That also means there are more drivers’ fan bases engaged and following a title hunt at this point in the season than ever before.

Sure, the system was designed with the intent to create such a result. Rarely, though, do things work as intended.

Again, forget who ultimately wins and who doesn’t – although that creates additional controversy all on its own.

As a race fan, think about the last time so many people were discussing racing this late in the NASCAR season – and I mean reaction from actual on-the-track results, not blown-up, much-made-about-nothing controversy off of it.

With two races still to go, no one can say in any way, shape or form who will win the Cup championship this season.

With that the case, the biggest winner this season is NASCAR. Hands down.

Notes

New car body introduced: NASCAR this week unveiled a new car body design for its developmental K&N Pro series, making the cars much more similar to those used in the Cup series.

The new design, which can be used starting next season and becomes mandatory in 2017, is made from a composite laminate blend and allows teams to easily install and repair damaged panels.

It will be available in all three manufacturer models: Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry. The new body will also be eligible for competition in the Automobile Racing Club of America series.

Time to get dirty: All dirt roads lead to Charlotte this weekend as three of the premier dirt track series will crown their champions when The Dirt Track at Charlotte hosts the eighth annual World of Outlaws World Finals.

The three-day event beginning Thursday features the finals of the sprint car series, the late model series and the Super DIRTcar Series big-block modifieds.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call the speedway ticket office at 800-455-3267 or go online at charlottemotorspeedway.com/dirt.

RCR adds Jones: K&N Pro Series driver Brandon Jones will run a partial schedule in the Nationwide Series next season when it becomes the Xfinity Series with Richard Childress Racing, the team announced this week.

Jones, 17, an Atlanta native, finished fourth in points in the Pro Series East this season and earned a victory at Iowa. He also competed in three Truck series races, with one top-five finish.

“I have a lot of work and learning ahead of me. I couldn’t think of a better team to race with than RCR,” Jones said.

Classic car show returns to Charlotte: Former NASCAR Cup championship crew chief Ray Evernham will host the second AmeriCarna Live on Nov. 29 at the Ingersoll Rand corporate campus in Davidson.

The show will support IGNITE, an innovative community center in Davidson for young adults with high functioning autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.

The car show also will feature local bands, a silent auction, food vendors and a celebrity car corral. For more information, visit americarnatv.com/.

Time to Hammer Down: A new NASCAR documentary series on Nickelodeon titled, “Hammer Down,” premiered this week featuring four of NASCAR’s rising stars – Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Kenzie Ruston. The four-episode series airs Wednesdays from 9-11 p.m.

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