(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — NASCAR announced major changes to the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship on Thursday.
Under the new system, the field will be expanded to 16 drivers, which will ultimately be whittled down to four through three rounds of eliminations. The final four drivers will go into the last race of the year with a chance to capture the Sprint Cup title. The driver that crosses the finish line first will be crowned champion.
With the new format, a regular-season win basically assures a driver a ticket to the postseason. During the playoffs, a driver can guarantee himself a trip to the next round with a victory.
Before the Chase for the Sprint Cup was created in 2004, NASCAR determined its champion based on which driver had the most points at the end of the season.
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Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN