Saturday, November 15, 2008

Is the CHASE having the OPPOSITE effect?

Wasn't the whole point of the chase to keep a closer championship race longer throughout the season? Is it actually achieving these goals? I realized that this year's points standings would have been much closer going into the final race had they not instituted the Chase. Take a look at the Truck series which has no Chase format, yet the top two drivers are only separated by 3 points going into the final race.

Look at the table below, showing the points separation between the top two drivers going into the final race of the season.

I notice three findings:
  1. How the gap has been increasing every year consistently in the chase (from 18 points to a whopping 141)
  2. The Chase helped meaningfully narrow the points gap in 2 of the 5 races, but otherwise they didn't do much to improve the competition.
  3. Look how this isn't the only year when the Chase standings were actually less competitive then if they had just left the traditional standings alone.

2008 56 141

2007 344 86

2006 11 63

2005 282 52

2004 52 18