The official announcement by NASCAR regarding the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup’s new format put an end to weeks of speculation and sparked debates among NASCAR fans on the pros and cons of the upcoming changes, which are reportedly designed to put the emphasis on winning races, rather than accumulating points. It is anticipated that the new format will generate a lot more excitement among fans, which may result in grandstands packed to capacity with spectators, a scenario which should make sponsors happy and motivate them to keep teams running.
The new NASCAR Sprint Cup scoring format increases the number of Chase competitors from 12 to 16 and drivers must win at least one of the first 26 races of the season to earn one of 15 spots in the championship. The 16th position will go to the season’s points leader, irrespective of a win. Also, in order to qualify for the Chase, drivers must be in the Top 30 in points at the end of the 26 races and tried to qualify in these races.
A series of qualifier races after the 29th, 32nd and 35th races will eliminate drivers each time, until four drivers remain for the final race to be held at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Starting from a leveled playing field, the four drivers will compete for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship title.
While there are obviously pros and cons for both the old and new format of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, it’s generally agreed that the 2014 season is likely to see an uptick in competitiveness as drivers go all out for a win, knowing that collecting points may just not be good enough. Strategies for on the track and in the pits may have to be revised, and team-work will take on a whole new dimension – all of which should add up to a whole lot of action for 2014.
The action of drifting, when the rear slip angle of a car is greater that the front slip angle and a loss of traction occurs between tires and track, can occur in different types of auto racing. This may be unintentional, with drivers either spinning off the track or being able to rectify the over-steering that caused the drift, or intentionally, with drivers using the technique to gain an advantage. In recent years, drifting has developed into a recognized motorsport in its own right, with drivers intentionally over-steering to get their cars to slide sideways while still being in control. Drifting competitions are held in many countries around the world, where competitors are judged by a set of criteria which may include speed and angle, as well as adherence to the line through corners which is set for each competition and amount of smoke created. In some competitions audience response and driver showmanship are taken into account when selecting a winner.
Drifting as a sport is believed to have originated in Japan, with motorcycle and car racing champion Kunimitsu Takahashi being considered to be the “father of drifting” as, in the 1970s, he created many of the original drifting techniques still used today. Takahashi’s drift techniques were picked up by Keiichi Tsuchiya who took to practicing his moves on mountainous passes. He was given the nickname of “Drift King” for the part he played in establishing drifting as a motorsport, and for his use of drifting in standard racing events. The video (Pluspy) focusing on Tsuchiya’s drifting skills continues to inspire today’s drivers.
Sponsored by the Japanese drifting magazine Option, one of the first drifting events in the United States took place at the Willow Springs Raceway in California. The sport has gone from strength to strength since then with the premier series in the United States being Formula D. This exciting championship series consists of seven events that take place at race tracks across the country. Judges take into account execution and style and so the winner will not necessarily be the competitor who finishes the course in the quickest time.
Tracks in the US that currently host drifting events include the Long Beach GP street circuit; Road Atlanta in Braselton, GA; Palm Beach International Raceway; Wall Speedway, NJ; Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA; Las Vegas Motor Speedway; and the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, CA. Described as the merging of extreme sports with traditional racing, drift racing offers plenty of action and excitement – for both drivers and spectators.