When the story broke last week that Nascar is thinking about restructuring the Chase format the first thing that crossed our mind was what kind of impact this would have on the pit crews. If this format is adopted, the value of points will be more important than ever before. The analogy of crewmen to place kickers will be even more true.
In the current format, teams have ten races to put together a championship run. In those ten races, teams can afford one or maybe two sub par performances and still have a shot at a championship. This new format would eliminate the mulligan scenario. Just like in other professional sports, the best team might not always win. In this Chase format every pit stop becomes even more important than the last. A loose wheel that puts your team a lap down could eliminate them from the proposed new Chase playoff system. Every mistake has more value when there is an elimination format.
Now, its not all doom and gloom. This will also put more of a premium on top pit crew members. Teams and coaches will have to adjust their thinking in terms of risk vs. reward. The new format would reward wins so teams that can throw down a good stop to win a race will gamble more on their stop. From a fans perspective, a pit stop is a pit stop. The reality is there are a few things that pit crews can do to help speed up a stop or really push the envelope of risk vs. reward. Next season should be very fun to watch. The cream will rise to the top and the pit crews will be at the fore front. Hopefully in the next few days or weeks we will know what Chase format looks like and it should make for a great 2014 season.