News & Media


10-race Chase for the Cup crowns series champ

January 28, 2011, , NASCAR.com

The Chase for the Cup was implemented in 2004 to involve more drivers in the championship hunt, and intensify fan interest and drama during the season's stretch run.

The first 26 points events of the 36-race season determine the drivers eligible for the Chase and, ultimately, the series title. After race No. 26 the top 10 drivers will qualify for the Chase. The 11th and 12th spots, the "wild cards," will be filled by the two drivers with the most victories ranked 11th-20th in the points standings. If there are no drivers ranked 11th through 20th with victories, the "wild-card" spots will be filled based on points. If there are multiple drivers tied in number of victories, points will be used as the tie-breaker.

Chase drivers' point totals are adjusted prior to the season's final 10 races -- the Chase. The adjusted totals distinguish the Chase field in the final season standings.

Each of the 12 Chase drivers begin with 2,000 points. The top 10 in points will receive three bonus points to their adjusted total for each victory in the first 26 races. The top 10 Chase drivers are "seeded" to start the Chase based on the number of wins amassed in the first 26 events. The "wild-card" drivers will remain 11th and 12th and will not receive bonus points for victories.

However, Chase participants compete with all other drivers during the final 10 races. Each week, all 43 drivers battle for victories and prize money and continue their seasons under the standard point system.

Point System

NASCAR National Series
FinishPoints FinishPoints FinishPoints FinishPoints FinishPoints
242 1232 2222 3212 422
341 1331 2321 3311 431
440 1430 2420 3410   
539 1529 2519 359   
638 1628 2618 368   
737 1727 2717 377   
836 1826 2816 386   
935 1925 2915 395   
1034 2024 3014 404   

The driver who tops the Chase standings at the end of the final 10 races will be crowned the Cup Series champion.

Note: In addition to the points allocated, any driver who leads a lap during a race receives one bonus point. The driver who leads the most laps receives an additional one bonus point. The winner of a race receives three bonus points. Maximum points per race: 48.