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Chase 101: All you need to know

Easy-to-follow guide for the new Chase Grid format

RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota
MORE: Full coverage of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format changes | Official news release | Changes explained | Chase Facts and FAQ

UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship is set

The final four in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is set for next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway after four of the eight drivers remaining in contention during Sunday’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway were eliminated.

Advancing to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship:

Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman.

Of the final four drivers still in contention, the highest finisher in next Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN) will win the championship. There will be no bonus points awarded for laps led or most laps led to the contending drivers in the final race.

Eliminated from contention:

Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards.

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It’s finally here, what we’ve all been waiting for: the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with a new elmination-style format where there will be plenty of nail-biting excitement throughout the next 10 races. So, let’s see — we’ve got our TV and favorite chair in the correct position, or tickets to the races; the pantry and our coolers are stocked with our favorite snacks and beverages, and social media is queued up with our favorite #MyChaseNation driver hashtag ready to send out to our friends to celebrate.

What else could we need? Oh yeah, a quick explainer of how the new system works. Not that it’s a complicated deal, it’s just good to be prepared, and preparation leads to success. Without further ado, here is your quick guide to the new Chase format. Click on the video and links above if you want even more details on the new setup.

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THE SEEDING

Each of the 16 drivers who qualifies for the Chase Grid starts with 2,000 points, plus three points for each win earned during the first 26 regular-season races. After the bonus points for wins are added, drivers are ranked in order of the reset points. See the updated standings.

THE ROUNDS

Challenger Round: The 16 drivers will battle at Chicagoland Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway for the 12 spots available in the next round (Contender). A win at any of the three races equals advancement into the next round. The rest of the field of 12 will be determined by order of points scored in the three races. After this round, each advancing driver will be reset to 3,000 points.

Tiebreaker: If any position comes down to a tiebreaker, only the three races in the Challenger Round matter. Wins and finishes in the regular season won’t, so these nine drivers will need to run up front to challenge for the win. If they can’t win, they’ll need to have more second-place finishes, third-place finishes, etc. than their competitors in order to break the tie and advance. If two drivers have the exact same finishes, the tiebreaker then goes to the driver who scored the best finish first.

Points note: Drivers who don’t advance to the next round will have their point totals reset to the Chase-start base of 2,000 (with any regular-season wins bonus points), plus the additional points they’ve earned during the Chase.

Contender Round:
The 12 drivers will battle at Kansas Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway for the eight spots available in the next round (Eliminator). A win at any of the three races equals advancement into the next round. The rest of the field of eight will be determined by order of points scored in the three races. After this round, each advancing driver will be reset to 4,000 points.

Tiebreaker: If any position comes down to a tiebreaker, only the three races in the Contender Round matter. Wins and finishes in the regular season won’t, so the drivers will need to run up front to challenge for the win. If they can’t win, they’ll need to have more second-place finishes, third-place finishes, etc. than their competitors in order to break the tie and advance. If two drivers have the exact same finishes, the tiebreaker then goes to the driver who scored the best finish first.

Points note: Drivers who don’t advance to the next round will have their point totals reset to the Chase-start base of 2,000 (with any regular-season wins bonus points), plus the additional points they’ve earned during the Chase.

Eliminator Round: The eight drivers will battle at Martinsville Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway for the four spots available in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. A win at any of the three races equals advancement into the next round. The rest of the field of four will be determined by order of points scored in the three races. After this round, each advancing driver will be reset to 5,000 points.

Tiebreaker: If any position comes down to a tiebreaker, only the three races in the Eliminator Round matter. Wins and finishes in the regular season won’t, so the drivers will need to run up front to challenge for the win. If they can’t win, they’ll need to have more second-place finishes, third-place finishes, etc. than their competitors in order to break the tie and advance. If two drivers have the exact same finishes, the tiebreaker then goes to the driver who scored the best finish first.

Points note: Drivers who don’t advance to the next round will have their point totals reset to the Chase-start base of 2,000 (with any regular-season wins bonus points), plus the additional points they’ve earned during the Chase.

THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP CHAMPIONSHIP

The highest finisher among the four finalists at Homestead-Miami Speedway will win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

Points note: In all but the final race, bonus points for laps led will still be awarded in the Challenger, Contender and Eliminator Rounds. However, at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, the four drivers will start the race tied and there will be no bonus points for laps led, etc. The highest finisher among that group will be the champion.

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