NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series will look a little different in 2014 as the sport changes its playoff format to an elimination style that could make for an exciting finale at Florida's Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"The Chase stuff, everybody is going to have their opinions," said Clint Bowyer. "Until that plays out once or twice, nobody can really predict what it’s going to be but I think we can all see the entertainment value of it. You can’t take that away. I can forecast that. Homestead is going to be wild.
The notable changes include increasing the Chase field from 12 to 16 drivers and added emphasis on winning races. There would also be eliminations after the third, sixth and ninth races to set up a winner-take-all race among the final four drivers.
"I understand they’re trying to spice things up a bit and make it more exciting and do those things," said Greg Biffle. "These changes are probably more dramatic than any change we’ve ever seen. We’re changing how we’re going to determine our champion, which historically has been the way our sport has been made up."
Many of the changes stem from low TV ratings and dropping attendance numbers.
"I really really want to wear the right hat and look out for our sport," said 2013 Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson. "And I know fair well that some of these things may affect my opportunity to win or impact the 48’s ability to win championships but that’s fine. We need our sport to be around."
But the drivers are also quick to admit, while NASCAR continues to make changes, the formula stays the same.
"Winning has always been a premium," said Bowyer. "I don’t care if you’re racing for a box of popcorn or a Bud Light or Harley Earl trophy, it’s always been a premium. That’s what we’ve done since we’ve ever competed, since I was 4 years old, I’ve tried to win. And if you can’t win or you don’t think you can win, you don’t do it."