NASCAR announced their new championship format. It will include 16 drivers via for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. The final 10 races will feature a round-by-round knockout format. NASCAR's format is designed to ultimately reward a “battle-tested” worthy champion.

NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said that this new format will put a premium on winning races.

We have arrived at a format that makes every race matter even more, diminishes points racing, puts a premium on winning races and concludes with a best-of-the-best, first-to-the-finish line showdown race – all of which is exactly what fans want. The new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be thrilling, easy to understand and help drive our sport’s competition to a whole new level.”

To be honest it is an interesting concept, but at first glance it might be hard to follow. Here is the 10-cent tour …

A victory in the first 26 races all but guarantees a berth in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. 16 drivers will become eligible for the championship.

  • The number of championship drivers in contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship will decrease after every three Chase races, from 16 to start in the Chase Grid; 12 after Chase race No. 3; eight after Chase race No. 6; and four after Chase race No. 9.
  • A win by a championship-eligible driver in any Chase race automatically clinches the winning driver a spot in the next Chase round.
  • During the final race, four drivers will enter the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship with a chance at the title, with the highest finisher among those four capturing the prestigious NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

Four Drivers, First-to-the-Finish Championship Finale:
The 36th and final race of the season will be the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Simply stated, the highest finisher in that race among the remaining four eligible drivers will win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title.

Bonus points for laps led will not apply in the season finale, so the official finishing position alone will decide the champion.

Note: All rules outlined above also apply to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner championship structure.