NASCAR VIEW: Enough with the Chase waivers, make the rules and stick to them

Posted On Thursday, 23 April 2015 20:00 Written by
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Normally I'm a defender of issues relating to NASCAR's Chase format.

As the old-fashioned crowd continue to scream, "Bring back the old points system, the Chase is garbage," ignoring the fact that championships were often sealed weeks in advance in boring fashion in past decades, I defend the Chase because it does provide a more exciting battle for the crown in the Cup series.

I love the "win and you're in" setup because it encourages drivers to battle harder during the regular season, and the four-man battle at Homestead is edge-of-the-seat exciting.

But I've finally found my area where I'm tired of NASCAR's tinkering, and that's with the Chase waivers.

Please stop, Brian France.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, Mr France has decided that if Kyle Busch comes back from his leg injury after missing probably a dozen races or more, is able to win a race and can somehow get into the top-30 in points (not likely, but let's speak hypothetically), NASCAR is open to allowing Busch into the Chase.

That takes the cake, and is at least equally ridiculous to the recent decision to allow Kurt Busch -- Kyle's brother -- a Chase waiver despite the fact he was suspended by NASCAR after a court for violating their code of conduct (in Kurt's situation, it was related to an alleged domestic assault incident, but he was reinstated after no criminal charges were filed).

Last year Tony Stewart got a Chase waiver after taking time off to recover from the emotional strain of the fatal accident in a New York sprint car race.

There have also been several health exemptions for drivers missing one or multiple races due to medical issues.

Seriously, stop.


Sometimes bad things happen and we get left out of something we think we should be a part of. It builds character and makes you stronger for the next fight, and not every bit of bad luck needs to be addressed with a waiver. 

Kyle Busch hit the wall in a bad spot and broke his leg. NASCAR feels responsible since it wasn't a soft wall and wants to make it up to him by allowing him to stay Chase-eligible -- they said so directly.

"Depends on when he comes back of course, but it'll be more likely than not that we're going to try to figure out how to accommodate him, which is the beauty of our playoff system," France said Thursday to the Associated Press. "What happened to him was on us. We'll balance a lot of things at that point when we have to make a decision, but we're inclined to want to figure that out for sure."

Bad move. 

A sport that constantly changes its playoff eligibility rules to accommodate people who had bad luck is just making itself look silly.

No it's not Kyle's fault he missed all the races he is missing (well maybe a little for being overaggressive on track in a lower-series race), but drivers are going to get hurt sometimes. 

Make the rules and stick to them. If the rules are that you have to run all 26 regular season races to qualify for the Chase, stop fudging them every time there's a circumstance that forces someone to miss a race (or a dozen races).

Life isn't fair all the time.

Drivers can't all be given a free pass to the Chase, or the meaning of the Chase becomes diminished. The Chase itself is still awesome for fans and the sport as a whole, and I will continue to defend it, but the process of qualifying for it is getting silly.

NASCAR should make the rules, stick to them and stop throwing favors to drivers who miss races for various reasons. Whether or not it's their fault they miss a race, they should not be given an exemption.

Matt Myftiu can be reached on Twitter @MattMyftiu. AutoTechReviews is on Twitter @AutoTechReview, and on Facebook at

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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