Homestead statement on new point system

Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to culminate NASCAR Nextel Cup "Chase For The Championship". Inaugural, 10-Race NASCAR shootout to conclude this fall in South Florida. MIAMI (January 20, 2004)- Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the ...

Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to culminate NASCAR Nextel Cup "Chase For The Championship".

Inaugural, 10-Race NASCAR shootout to conclude this fall in South Florida.

MIAMI (January 20, 2004)- Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the final event of the inaugural NASCAR Nextel Cup Series "Chase for the Championship" with this year's running of the Ford 400 on Sunday, November 21. The new championship structure, announced Tuesday, virtually guarantees a multi-car shootout for the championship on an annual basis at the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"The NASCAR Nextel Cup 'Chase for the Championship' represents one of the biggest announcements in the history of NASCAR and is hugely significant to Ford Championship Weekend, Homestead-Miami Speedway and South Florida," said Speedway President Curtis Gray. "With the track's new 20-degree banking and the location of South Florida in November, Homestead-Miami Speedway is the ideal place to conclude the NASCAR Nextel Cup season. The new format will create more excitement for race fans and will further grow Ford Championship Weekend as one of the premier events in all of sports."

The NASCAR Nextel Cup "Chase for the Championship" is a significant modification to the previous format used to determine the championship. Following the season's 26th race, every driver in the NASCAR Top 10 and any other drivers within 400 points of the leader will earn a berth in the "Chase for the Championship." Those drivers in the "Chase for the Championship" will have their total points adjusted with the first-place driver in the standings starting the final ten races with 5,050 points, the second-place driver with 5,045 points, the third-place driver with 5,040 points and so on through the championship contenders. All other competitors, not in contention for the championship title, will maintain their points total at that stage and continue to race for the final ten races.

"The Chase for the Championship will provide a better opportunity for more drivers to win the championship creating excitement and drama throughout the entire season," said NASCAR President Mike Helton.

At the end of the season, each driver who finishes in the NASCAR Top 10 will receive a points payout of at least $1 million, with the NASCAR Nextel Cup champion receiving more than $5 million. The 11th-place driver in the final standings will receive a payout bonus of $250,000.

In addition, NASCAR also announced a change to the amount of points rewarded at each race with the race winner receiving an additional five points.

The news of the NASCAR Nextel Cup "Chase for the Championship" finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway represents the continuation of a rapid evolution for the Speedway and the season-ending Ford Championship Weekend.

In 1999, the Speedway hosted its first NASCAR Nextel Cup race. Three years later, Homestead-Miami Speedway became the first track to ever host the season-finales for the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series all in one weekend with the inaugural Ford Championship Weekend in 2002.

In 2003, the Speedway underwent a major track reconfiguration project whereby the track's banking was increased to a maximum of 20 degrees using a state-of-the-art, variable banking system. The new track, the first to ever be designed by computers, drew rave reviews for its tremendous side-by-side racing during last year's Ford Championship Weekend capped off by a dramatic Ford 400 in front of a sold-out crowd.

"We look forward to continuing to grow motorsports here in South Florida," added Gray. "The arrival of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Chase for the Championship is another major step in that process."

The 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series schedule will begin with the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 15. The 26th race of the NASCAR Nextel Cup season will take place on September 11 at Richmond International Raceway. The following week, the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series "Chase for the Championship" begins with the first of the season's final ten races at New Hampshire Speedway, all culminating with the championship-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In addition to the NASCAR Nextel Cup "Chase for the Championship" finale, Homestead-Miami Speedway will continue to host the season-finales for the NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series during Ford Championship Weekend, November 18-21.

The "Chase for the Championship" points structure will not be applied to the NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series.

Tickets to Ford Championship Weekend, November 18-21, and 2004 Season Tickets, which include tickets to the Toyota Indy 300, IRL IndyCar Series season-opener set for February 27-29, are currently available to existing ticketholders. Tickets to the 2004 Ford Championship Weekend will go on sale to the general public at a later date to be announced. For more information, call (305) 230-RACE, 800-PIT-SHOP, or log on homesteadmiamispeedway.com

-hms-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mike Helton