NASCAR’s Playoff Format Isn’t Like Other Sports, It Is Embarrassingly Flawed As Kevin Harvick Misses Championship Race

NASCAR’s 2020 race wins leader Kevin Harvick will not be racing for a championship next week when the season concludes at Phoenix International Raceway.

The same points system that was created to reward winning has kept 2020’s winningest driver out of the Championship. Harvick boasts a 25% winning percentage this season with ZERO DNFs yet the 2014 champ will be just another participant at Phoenix.

NASCAR playoff format is inherently flawed. In an attempt to create entertainment the sport has abandoned all sporing merit under the guise of “all major sports have playoffs.” That’s objectively not true, even if it were, NASCAR’s Playoffs are unlike any others.

Stop Comparing NASCAR To Other Sports

NASCAR’s playoffs are massively different than the playoffs of other American sports. Yet, no one wants to acknowledge the differences between NASCAR and every other sporting league in America.

  • No other sport has the eliminated competitors still compete against the “playoff teams” each week.
  • No other sport gives automatic births to the next round for a win.
  • No other sport puts FOUR teams into the “Championship game.”
  • No other sport controls the competition like NASCAR.

NASCAR isn’t comparable to any other sport. The Dodgers didn’t have to play a series against the Giants in the middle of the World Series and have that result count against them. The Game 1 winner of the NBA divisional round doesn’t move onto the Conference Championship. There aren’t 4 teams playing in the Super Bowl. NASCAR’s Playoffs aren’t comparable.

“Perform or go home” is such a cop-out when discussing why Harvick being out is a travesty for the sport. “Well, the Patriots went 16-0 and didn’t win the title” WE AREN’T TALKING ABOUT FOOTBALL, SCOTT. The Patriots still played for a title. Harvick doesn’t get that opportunity. The guy who would have won the championship with three races to go if there wasn’t a playoff format has a nice “regular season” trophy to show for it.

This Is Embarassing

NASCAR’s entire playoff format is embarrassing. A sport that puts so much emphasis on winning failed.

Last year Matt Crafton made a mockery of the system by winning the title with zero wins and doing it on consistency. The system failed William Byron in 2016 when he won 7 truck races but was left out because of one bad race at Phoenix. In 2014 the system failed Jeff Gordon. It’s a flawed system.

This point system doesn’t reward the best team, it rewards the best team at that moment. What’s the point of the other 35 races? When a driver doesn’t record a DNF all year, wins 9 races, and still doesn’t get a shot at the title that’s insane.

Americans are so trained to think every sport has to have a playoff format and end with a final game. Why? Why can’t championships be rewarded like the Premier League? Whoever has the most points at the end of the year wins. You know, just like the original NASCAR points format. 36 races, winner take all.

“You want to see a guy win the title with three races to go in the season?” Yeah, why not? Don’t hate the team that was the best, hate the other teams for not being as good. Gordon did this multiple times, so did Earnhardt. Now the fans get mad at the idea of the Championship even being decided before the last race.

NASCAR is an entertainment product. The fans hate success, they’ve been groomed to crave manufactured drama. It’s disappointing, the best driver each season deserves to win the title. Harvick won’t get that this year, the same way others haven’t in this format. But hey, that’s what the fans want.

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