Keselowski Wins NASCAR Sprint Cup Opener

at 1:48 pm | By
Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

In the first of ten NASCAR races that are included in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag this Sunday (Sept. 14) at Chicagoland Speedway in Joilet, Ill.

These ‘playoffs’ consists of three stages (Challenger, Contender, Eliminator), each with three races, prior to the Championship for a total of ten. The Sprint Cup Series is also the end of the 2014 NASCAR season.

The series is set-up so that the drivers are competing for points. This is NASCAR’s easy-to-follow guide:

THE SEEDING
Each of the 16 drivers who qualifies for the Chase Grid starts with 2,000 points, plus three points for each win earned during the first 26 regular-season races. After the bonus points for wins are added, drivers are ranked in order of the reset points. See the updated standings.

THE ROUNDS

Challenger Round: The 16 drivers will battle at Chicagoland Speedway,New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway for the 12 spots available in the next round (Contender). A win at any of the three races equals advancement into the next round. The rest of the field of 12 will be determined by order of points scored in the three races. After this round, each advancing driver will be reset to 3,000 points.

Contender Round: The 12 drivers will battle at Kansas SpeedwayCharlotte Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway for the eight spots available in the next round (Eliminator). A win at any of the three races equals advancement into the next round. The rest of the field of eight will be determined by order of points scored in the three races. After this round, each advancing driver will be reset to 4,000 points.

Eliminator Round: The eight drivers will battle at Martinsville SpeedwayTexas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway for the four spots available in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. A win at any of the three races equals advancement into the next round. The rest of the field of four will be determined by order of points scored in the three races. After this round, each advancing driver will be reset to 5,000 points.

THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP CHAMPIONSHIP

The highest finisher among the four finalists at Homestead-Miami Speedway will win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. It’s that simple!

This points-based, ‘playoff’ system started in 2004 and serves two primary purposes. First, it keeps the drivers competitive throughout the entire year because the points come into play in three stages of the season; the first half, second half, and the Series. Second, is to keep the fans interested and TV ratings high for the series races overlap with the college football and NFL season.

The next race is Sunday, Sept. 21 / 02:00 PM ET at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH.

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