Addition of the Wild Card Element Sure to Provide Even More Excitement at America's Premier Short Track
Richmond International Raceway Will Likely Play Integral Role in the Final Two Positions in the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
RICHMOND, VA (January 27, 2011) - NASCAR announced Wednesday that it has added a wild card element to setting the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field. While the 12-driver Chase field will remain intact, the final two spots will be determined by the number of wins during the first 26 races. That means that the "One Last Race to Make The Chase" on Saturday night, September 10 will be even more important than ever for drivers.
As the host of the final race before the Chase, Richmond International Raceway is likely to play an integral role in deciding the final two positions in the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
The top 10 in points following the "cutoff" race at Richmond International Raceway will continue to earn Chase berths. Different from years past, positions 11 and 12 will be "wild card" qualifiers and go to non-top-10-ranked drivers with the most wins, as long as they're ranked in the top 20 in points.
This means that drivers will have more incentive to battle it out at America's Premier Short Track. A visit to Gatorade Victory Lane "under the lights" could mean a berth in the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
"The addition of the wild card element to the Chase will definitely add to the excitement of the September 10th $B!F(BOne Last Race to Make The Chase' at Richmond International Raceway," said track president Doug Fritz. "The drama and anticipation will only increase. This will provide even more incentive for drivers to battle it out for the win, which will ultimately provide more exciting on-track action $B!F(Bunder the lights.'"
Additional changes go into effect at the start of the season and will play a large role in the April 28-30 Crown Royal Presents The Your Name Here 400 NASCAR Weekend at Richmond International Raceway. The new points system -- which applies to all NASCAR national series -- will award points in one-point increments. As an example, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, race winners will earn 43 points, plus three bonus points for the win. Winners also can earn an extra point for leading a lap and leading the most laps, bringing their total to a possible maximum of 48 points.
All other drivers in a finishing order will be separated by one-point increments. A second-place finisher will earn 42 points, a third-place driver 41 points, and so on. A last-place finisher -- 43rd place -- earns one point.
The qualifying order for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series will be based on fastest practice times. The slowest drivers will qualify first, with the fastest qualifying last. Historically qualifying order has been based on a random draw.
"The changes in qualifying will be a great addition to our April 30th Crown Royal Presents The Your Name Here 400 weekend, adding to the drama and excitement that fans have come to expect at Richmond International Raceway," continued Fritz. "Additionally, the new points system will make it easy to understand for both the casual and hardcore fans of NASCAR throughout the entire season.
I commend Brian France and Mike Helton for listening to the fans and making these changes based on what the fans have said they want to see. This is just another way that NASCAR is showing the fans that their opinions matter."
Richmond International Raceway's 2011 season begins with the NASCAR Tripleheader weekend April 28 -- 30. Tickets are on sale now for the Saturday night, April 30 Crown Royal Presents The Your Name Here 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and start at $45. Tickets are also on sale now for the Friday night, April 29 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, as well as the Thursday night, NASCAR K & N Pro Series race. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult in general admission seating on Thursday and Friday nights. Friday's tickets start at $30 and include NASCAR Nationwide Series practice and qualifying, as well as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice and Wawa Pole Qualifying for the Crown Royal Presents The Your Name Here 400. Tickets for Thursday's event are general admission and $10. Tickets for all three nights can be purchased now at www.rir.com, 866-455-RACE (7223) or at the Richmond International Raceway ticket office at the corner of Laburnum Avenue and Richmond-Henrico Turnpike.
Tickets for the NASCAR "cutoff" race, "One Last Race to Make the Chase" on Saturday, September 10 at Richmond International Raceway go on sale June 3, 2011 and can be purchased at www.rir.com or by calling the Richmond International Raceway ticket office at 866-455-RACE (7223).