Denny Hamlin shared some of his strong opinions with reporters in regard to the Chase changes NASCAR is considering. Read through what Hamlin has to say and let us know: Do you agree or disagree?
Here are Hamlin's full comments at Chicagoland Speedway today on the potential Chase tweaks:
Q: What are your thoughts on the potential changes to the Chase?
I hate the constant change. Nothing ever stays the same. Our sport was originally designed to crown the champion after 36 weeks and that is because this is a sport where if somebody else makes a mistake, it can cost you. No other sport, if another team makes a mistake, you're the one who benefits, you're the one who wins – you win because of it. This sport, a competitor can make a mistake and cost you.
That's why I think we originally chased this out into 36 weeks to make sure you brought it out into a long enough season to where the true champion was crowned every single year. The more you narrow that up and keep resetting points, keep adding guys, the more you're making this a sport by chance and luck is going to be a factor.
I don't see any fair way you can reset points and maybe have a two-week shootout or something. It makes the first of the season even more irrelevant than it already is. If they're looking for 15 million people to watch the final race, they're going to worry because they're only going to have a million watching the regular season that doesn't even matter.
I think we need to step back and think about it. We've had the right champion every single year, but the more they keep making it to where mediocre drivers can have a shot over and over, the more you are going to end up having the chance of a fluke winner of a champion and I don't think we need that in our sport."
Q: What do you think about possible eliminations?
That's the whole thing. I think Jimmie (Johnson) in 2006 had a rough start and he rallied back to win the championship. That was just over 10 weeks. That's a small number any way. But when you eliminate guys after two races or something, if you wreck the first one, you've got to damn near win the second one to make sure you're not eliminated.
Unless they put us on our own points system, one-through-15 points system or something like that where you gap the first guy and then go down from there, I don't see how an elimination thing will work. You have to perform every single week and our sport is not all about that. There's a certain part of this sport that is about luck and other sports it's head-to-head. When another guy makes a mistake, you win. You can't be the one to make a mistake and in our sport you just can't have chance be the one to decide our champion.
Q: Do you think they should expand the Chase to more drivers?
I think we already added more guys and I'm not sure why, to make it to where more guys had a chance. Truly, there's no reason a guy who's 12th in points or 15th in points should have a right to race for a championship where the first 26 races he ran horrible or mediocre. How is that fair that he gets a chance to win a championship just in the last 10?I'm not a fan of racing by chance and the more they tweak it, the more they make it to reset the points over and over, it's nothing but about luck.
Q: Do you think some of the Chase tracks should be changed?
Mix that up. I mean we've had the same tracks for the last ‘X' amount of years. Move those tracks around. You want to change it. Honestly, if they want to keep Jimmie (Johnson) from winning a championship -- those are his best race tracks, those Chase tracks. Mix that up if you want to do something. I don't know. It's just I feel like I'm a little bit more old school when it comes to crowning a champion and the way that you do it. Maybe they move some races around. I think there would be some good Chase tracks that are not in there.
Q: What do you think about some of the competition or on-track rules changes (overall)?
That's part of what all these rules changes are doing is making us more like a circus show than it is about true competition and having the best man win. So, that's what I don't want to see in this sport. I want to see the drivers get the respect that they deserve – the best drivers get the respect that they deserve.
Because, I mean, it gets so mixed-up nowadays – the whole field separated by two-tenths because one manufacturer has an advantage and also NASCAR pulls the reins and puts a restrictor plate on them. That's not what it's about. It's about who works the hardest. It's about the best talent.
Back in the day, no one had a problem when there were five cars on the lead lap because there was constant passing. The more you make these cars equal – the less passing you will have regardless. I think the fans are in love with the passing and overtaking more so than the racing nowadays it's just single file.