nascar chase grid 2014

NASCAR announced a new championship format today that will put greater emphasis on winning races all season long, expands the current Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field to 16 drivers, and implements a new round-by-round advancement format that ultimately will reward a battle-tested, worthy champion.

“We have arrived at a format that makes every race matter even more, diminishes points racing, puts a premium on winning races and concludes with a best-of-the-best, first-to-the-finish line showdown race – all of which is exactly what fans want,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. “We have looked at a number of concepts for the last three years through fan research, models and simulations, and also maintained extensive dialogue with our drivers, teams and partners. The new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be thrilling, easy to understand and help drive our sport’s competition to a whole new level.”
Changes announced by France to the championship format include:
–       A victory in the first 26 races all but guarantees a berth in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – a change that will put an unprecedented importance on winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race all season long
–       Expanding the Chase field from 12 to 16 drivers, with those drivers advancing to what now will be known as the NASCAR Chase Grid
–       The number of championship drivers in contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship will decrease after every three Chase races, from 16 to start in the Chase Grid; 12 after Chase race No. 3; eight after Chase race No. 6; and four after Chase race No. 9
–       The first three races of the Chase (27-29) will be known as the Challenger Round; races 30-32 will be known as the Contender Round; races 33-35 will be the Eliminator Round and race No. 36 will be the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship
–       A win by a championship-eligible driver in any Chase race automatically clinches the winning driver a spot in the next Chase round
–       Four drivers will enter the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship with a chance at the title, with the highest finisher among those four capturing the prestigious NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Eligibility for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
The top 15 drivers with the most wins over the first 26 races will earn a spot in the NASCAR Chase Grid – provided they have finished in the top 30 in points and attempted to qualify for every race (except in rare instances). The 16th Chase position will go to the points leader after race No. 26, if he/she does not have a victory. In the event that there are 16 or more different winners over 26 races, the only winless driver who can earn a Chase Grid spot would be the points leader after 26 races.
If there are fewer than 16 different winners in the first 26 races, the remaining Chase Grid positions will go to those winless drivers highest in points. If there are 16 or more winners in the first 26 races, the ties will first be broken by number of wins, followed by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points.
As was implemented in 2011, prior to the start of the Chase, all Chase Grid drivers will have their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 26 races.
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Structure
After the third Chase race, the Chase Grid will be left with 12 drivers. After the sixth Chase race, the field will drop to eight drivers, and following the ninth Chase race, only four drivers will remain in championship contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title.
The first round (races 27-29) will be called the Challenger Round. If a driver in the Chase Grid wins a Challenger Round race, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions 1-12 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 3,000.
The second round (races 30-32) will be called the Contender Round. Likewise, if a driver in the top 12 in points wins a race in the Contender Round, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions 1-8 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 4,000.
The third round (races 33-35) will be called the Eliminator Round. If a driver in the top eight in points wins a race in the Eliminator Round, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions 1-4 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 5,000.
Additionally, drivers who are eliminated in the Contender and Eliminator Rounds will have their points readjusted. Each eliminated driver will return to the Chase-start base of 2,000 (plus any regular season wins bonus points), with their accumulated points starting with race No. 27 added. This will allow all drivers not in contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title to continue to race for the best possible season-long standing, with final positions fifth-through-16th still up for grabs.
Four Drivers, First-to-the-Finish Championship Finale
The 36th and final race of the season will be the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Simply stated, the highest finisher in that race among the remaining four eligible drivers will win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title.
Bonus points for laps led will not apply in the season finale, so the official finishing position alone will decide the champion.
Note: All rules outlined above also apply to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner championship structure.
For more details on the new championship format, please visit for a Fact Sheet / FAQs or visit

January 30, 2014 NASCAR

2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 Hours Daytona

The Action Express team, with Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais as drivers, won the 52th annual Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at the Daytona International Speedway. The N°5 Action Express car was dominant through the race, fighting for the lead with the N°10 car of Wayne Taylor Racing driven by Wayne Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli. It was the strategy that put the N°5 machine in the first place for the last three hours of the race, and there was nothing the Taylors and Angelelli could do to catch them. The second Action Express car completed the podium. The race was highlighted by a lengthy red flag caused by a crash on the second hour of the race, that affected drivers Memo Gidley and Matteo Malucelli. Both escaped severe injuries after the big crash, but are still in Halifax Hospital at Daytona, going through checks and procedures. Gidley had two surgeries in both the left leg and arm.


  1. Action Express N°5 – Corvette DP (P)
  2. Wayne Taylor Racing N°10 – Corvette DP (P)
  3. Action Express N°9 – Corvette DP (P)
  4. Spirit of Daytona N°90 – Corvette DP (P)
  5. Muscle Milk Racing N°6 – Oreca Nissan (P)
  6. Porsche North America N°911 – Porsche 911 RSR (GTLM)
  7. Rahal Letterman Racing N°55 – BMW Z4 GTE (GTLM)
  8. OAK Racing N°42 – Morgan Nissan (P)
  9. Core Autosport N°54 – Oreca FLM09 Chevrolet (PC)
  10. 8Star Motorsport N°25 – Oreca FLM09 Chevrolet (PC)
eric palante

At 08:30 hours this morning, as the crew of the broom truck was plotting the position of bike rider 122  to pick him up, at kilometre 143 on the special of the 5th stage between Chilecito and San Miguel de Tucuman they found the body of the Belgian rider Eric Palante (entrant no. 122).


The circumstances of Eric’s death are the subject of an analysis by the Judge Dr. Massucco of Belen [Catamarca province].


No alert was received by the organisers, and Eric’s water had been replenished in the afternoon.


The rider’s family were told of the accident by the organisation in the morning. Fifty-year-old Eric Palante was taking part in his 11th Dakar and hoped to win the amateur trophy for motorbikes. He knew the race very well, and over the years his enthusiastic but serious approach had made him one of the pillars of the event.


Source : ASO


It is with great sadness that the organisers and the entire family of the Dakar offer their condolences to Eric’s family and friends.


January 10, 2014 Dakar Rally

Marc Coma Dakar 2014 2

Marc Coma, the three times winner of the event, put distance between himself and his rivals on the day’s stage, which was partially shortened due to the extreme temperatures threatening the safety of the bikers. His neighbour Nani Roma regained the lead of the car race, with more than half an hour’s lead over his closest rival, Nasser Al Attiyah. Gerard De Rooy protected his lead in the truck race and now boasts a lead of more than half an hour over Andrey Karginov, his closest pursuer.

After four days of racing, a good number of the favourites on the Dakar have already suffered for various reasons or even returned home in some cases. Marc Coma, however, chose the morning of the 5th stage to burst into action and strike a major blow against all his rivals, whether named Cyril Despres, already in difficulty the day before, or Joan Barreda, who ground to a halt on the route to Tucuman. After having overtaken “Chaleco” Lopez then Juan Pedrero, the winner of yesterday’s stage, the KTM leader re-asserted his status by putting an impressive distance between himself and his pursuers. On completion of the first part of the special stage, a 211-km long section, the comeback king, who had to miss out on the Dakar 2013 due to an injured shoulder, avoided the many traps into which fell Paulo Gonçalves (who dropped out after his bike caught fire) or Cyril Despres (overheated engine, navigation errors, etc.). Since cohesion is a sacred concept for the Catalans, it was natural that his closest pursuer was none other than his water carrier, Jordi Viladoms, 13 minutes behind. A gap was opened on Despres, who finished 45 minutes later; on Barreda and Pain, who lost out in similar proportions; and on Lopez, who trailed in more than 50 minutes after.

The situation seemed to take a turn for the worst at the start of the second section to be covered, due to a leak spotted on the petrol tank of his KTM. However, when on form, Coma enjoys luck as well as his talent. A quick-fix repair carried out with Viladoms already put a small smile back on his face before, several minutes later, the news was announced that the second section of the special stage had been cancelled, meaning the times at the end of the first section stood for the stage results. In total, the day seems to be an excellent one for Coma, because he now only has three rivals positioned within less than an hour in the general standings, namely Joan Barreda, “Chaleco” and Jordi Viladoms, respectively 41’10’’, 53’40’’ and 58’58’’ behind.

The quad category witnessed the same modification to the programme, but without seeing such a significant sea-change in the standings. Ignacio Casale retains the lead of the general standings, but his closest rival is now Sergio Lafuente, who added his third special stage victory to his roll of honour, overtaking Rafal Sonik to take the bottom step of the virtual podium.

In the car category, there was also very strong Catalan accent to the stage, with a first-class display from Nani Roma, assisted by a faultless performance by is co-pilot Michel Périn from Reims in France. Since the last Dakar, their crew has remained unbeaten, winning the Bajas in Hungary and Spain as well as the Desert Challenge (in Abu Dhabi) and the Desafio Ruta 40 (in Argentina). The duo continued in this sparkling form today, Roma taking care of pace and agility whilst Périn was inspirational in his navigational duties which were particularly beneficial today. On the finishing line, the first Spanish winner of the Dakar (in 2004 on a bike) beat Giniel De Villiers, the only driver to limit the damage with a finish 4’20’’ behind the Catalan. The FC Barcelona supporter, looking well set in his conquest for the title, had reason to be happy about the mishaps of the most decorated Real Madrid fan on the Dakar: Carlos Sainz had a nightmare on the day’s special. Having left Chilecito in the lead, he ground to a standstill after 163 km due to an electrical problem on his buggy. On the first section of the special stage, “El Matador” Sainz had already lost 1 hour and 15 seconds to Roma, enabling the Catalan to emulate his favourite club’s dominance of El Classico against Sainz’s team.

The confrontation was not restricted to an all-Spanish duel as four Minis found themselves in the top four places of the general standings in Tucuman. Drawing on his experience, Roma will firstly have to handle the verve of Nasser Al Attiyah, who trails him by 26′ but has not given up the ghost. “Orly” Terranova is only 4 minutes behind the Qatari and will be aiming at moving up the provisional podium. It is also certain that Stéphane Peterhansel, trailing Roma by 39′ for the moment, will not content himself with 4th place, especially under the threat of Giniel De Villiers, who lies in 5thplace, 41′ behind the general standings leader. Finally, the Americans can rejoice for the first time this year, with the third best time of the day for Robby Gordon, finishing 20 minutes behind Roma. Robby definitely has his eyes on a special stage victory…

In the truck category, the special stage was won by Dmitry Sotnikov, but the general standings are still dominated by Gerard De Rooy, who is now pursued by three members of the Kamaz team: Marcel Van Vliet lost his second place, dropping away to at least one hour from his countryman.

January 10, 2014 Dakar Rally

Carlos Sainz Dakar 2014 2

Quotes directly from the Red Bull SMG Team after a win in the fourth stage of the Dakar.

Carlos Sainz #303 Driver – Red Bull SMG Rally Team: “I’m happy with the good day that this turned out to be. The start of this Dakar has been really tough with a lot of things happening everyday. Today was complicated because we started behind a lot of cars and that meant we were in the dust. We had a puncture early on the stage and then towards the end we lost the power steering. Even though we were not completely free of problems I’m pleased with the Buggy and how things are going. We have put ourselves in a good position today and can look forward to plenty more racing to come.”

Timo Gottschalk #303 Co-driver – Red Bull SMG Rally Team: “It was a long day and to suffer a puncture after 40km was not ideal because we were being very careful across the rocks. Losing this time resulted in even more dust ahead of us and catching the distance to make each pass was difficult. Then on the second part of the stage it became more open and this was better for the Buggy. There were lots of riverbeds and bumpy sections where we could push and the overall result of the day turned out to be positive for us.”

Philippe Gache – Red Bull SMG Rally Team Manager: “The stage win today is a very pleasant surprise for us and the credit has to go to Carlos. I know what this Buggy is capable of and to be honest I never expect a win today. To win this stage needed a great drive from Carlos, he’s the best. We also have to thank Carlos’ team-mate Ronan who gave up one of his spare wheels so Buggy #303 could push after suffering a puncture.”

January 9, 2014 Dakar Rally

Carlos Sainz Dakar 2014

It has been a very tough Dakar Rally so far. Out we have riders like Ruben Faria, Frans Verhoeven (both in Motorbikes) and Marcos Patronelli (quad) and today, cars had the longest special stage so far with more than 5 hours in the route for the leaders. Bikes didn’t have it easy either with 357 very slow and technical kilometers that were completed in almost 6 hours by the leaders. Joan Pedrero, who had had a difficult third stage won the second part of the Marathon stage (4° stage) followed by Chaleco López who gained a few places and now is on third spot on the classification behind Joan Barreda, who had a challenging stage with several falls but was able to keep the lead in the standings and Marc Coma, always solid with the KTM in the second place. Cyril Despres had an horrible day after losing more than 40 minutes in the last kilometers of the stage, and now appears in sixth place, 42 minutes behind Barreda.

“I was riding very smooth and easy today, opening the track without risking anything. It was a long stage and at one point the roadbook seemed to be wrong. It took me quite some time to re-assure where to go, and I returned a few times and lost several minutes on my competitors. Nevertheless I could finish the marathon stage well and defend my lead again, keeping me on top of the standings since the first day. That is very satisfying. Tomorrow will be a very long stage with over 900 km, and lot of sand too.” said overall leader Barreda.

In cars, Carlos Sainz dominated the stage beating Stephane Peterhansel and Nasser Al-Attiyah to the line to claim the first spot in the overall classification. Nani Roma, previous leader, had some issues opening the track and fell to second in the classification, 2 minutes and 6 seconds behind Sainz. Remarkable job by Federico “Coyote” Villagra, a newcomer to the Dakar that led the stage in the middle stint and was able to finish fourth to jump to eight in the standings.

Finally, by winning the stage, Ignacio Casale is now the leader in quads. He has a difference of 9 minutes with Rafal Sonik.


January 8, 2014 Dakar Rally


In a tough day, with a very long link stage and a rocky, slow and technical terrain, it was the Great Wall Haval of Carlos Sousa the winner of the first stage of the Dakar Rally in its 2014 edition. Sousa is an experimented Dakar driver and has finished in the Top 10 with the Haval in the last two years, but his victory comes as a surprise as he beats the MINI, Ford and Toyota, which were favourites to win the Dakar. Most probably Sousa won’t be able to keep up with the pace of the leaders, but this victory is very important for Great Wall and chinese brands. Second place was for argentinian Orly Terranova and third was Nasser Al-Attiyah. In sixth place, 4 minutes adrift appears reigning champion Stephane Peterhansel.

Tomorrow’s stage has 433 kilometers of special stage between San Luis and San Rafael.


  1. Carlos Sousa (Great Wall, 306) 2:20:36
  2. Orly Terranova (MINI, 307) +0:00:11
  3. Nasser Al-Attiyah (MINI, 301) +0:00:47
  4. Nani Roma (MINI, 304) +0:01:15
  5. Carlos Sainz (SMG, 303) +0:04:03
  6. Krzysztof Holowzcyc (MINI, 309) +0:04:21
  7. Stephane Peterhansel (MINI, 300) +0:04:21
  8. Christian Lavielle (Great Wall, 315) +0:05:42


January 5, 2014 Dakar Rally


The opening stage of the Dakar 2014 couldn´t have gone any better for the HRC Rally Team and its top riders Joan Barreda and Paulo Goncalves. Barreda wins the 180 kilometre-long special test in the mountains of Cordoba, making it a legendary victory for Honda. It is the first win for a factory Honda in 25 years.

Joan Barreda: “I´m super happy to take the opening stage today. I´d like to give a big thanks to my team as a reward for the hard work in recent months. The stage wasn´t long, but it was a difficult one. We raced on hard-pack terrain with stones and blind corners. The course was twisty and you had to stay focused. I was doing fine, finding my rhythm soon and keeping it to the finish. I will enjoy this evening!”

Paulo Goncalves: “I´m pretty satisfied with the first day. I started 10th and was getting comfortable quickly, despite the layout being tricky and winding. I passed the riders in front of me soon. The circumstances for tomorrow are good, the bike is running well.”

Provisional Results Stage 1:
1. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) 2:25:31 hrs

2. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:00:37
3. Cyril Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +00:01:40
4. Alain Duclos (FRA, Sherco) +00:01:56
5. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) +00:02:25
6. Francisco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:03:24
7. Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP, Sherco) +00:03:47
8. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) +00:04:33
9. Michael Metge (FRA, Yamaha) +00:04:33
10. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Speedbrain) +00:04:48


Photo: Speedbrain – HRC

Source: Speedbrain

January 5, 2014 Dakar Rally

Ken Roczen Supercross

The US Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team launched their 2014 AMA Supercross season with flair on Saturday night in the Angel Stadium with a 1-2 in the opening round of the 450 class competition thanks to rookie Ken Roczen of Germany and American teammate Ryan Dungey.

A win in the 250 class West Coast Championship by Rockstar Energy KTM’s Jason Anderson rwound up a near perfect night for KTM.

But the spotlight was firmly on Roczen in his debut race in the senior class and the German rider did not disappoint. Fresh from off season training in Florida, Roczen was right up with reigning champ Ryan Villopoto when the gate dropped for the main event. Villopoto took the holeshot but Roczen was in a solid second. Roczen was still hanging onto Villopoto five laps into the race while Chad Reed was in third. Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey then moved from fifth to fourth to put himself into podium contention.

The race took a dramatic turn in lap nine when Villopoto crashed out and dropped back to sixth while Roczen steamed into a two-second lead. As the race progressed Stewart looked a strong challenger to Roczen after he had closed down into second place. Behind them Reed and Dungey were duking it out for third place.

Stewart leveled with Roczen in the whoops section then suddenly found himself on the ground leaving Roczen with the win, teammate Dungey in second and Reed picking up the final podium spot.

A stunned Roczen said: “I literally can’t believe it. It was such a good race. I was holding on so tight. I wasn’t even tired. I got a good start and I just stayed focused. I’ve been working very hard during the off-season and I am so glad the hard work has paid off. Congrats to my teammate, Ryan Dungey, it is great to share this moment on the podium with him.”

Second placed Dungey said it was cool to have the KTMs 1-2 in Anaheim, adding that his younger teammate was “definitely going to be a competitor this year.”

Source: KTM

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

January 5, 2014 Supercross

Chaleco Lopez Protocolar Dakar 2014

The Red Bull Desert Wings team took centre stage at the pre-race Podium presentation in downtown Rosario to mark the beginning of the 2014 Dakar Rally.

Once each competitor had satisfied the technical regulations of the race stewards during the scrutineering process they were waved through to take their place at the Podium presentation.

Things got off to a noisy start when the Argentinian crowd took their chance to welcome local favourite and reigning quad race champion Marcos Patronelli. It’s a family affair inside Marcos’ Yamaha Racing Argentina team with father Roberto and sister Clara beside him every step of the way as well as his army of fans.

Also onboard a piece of impressive Yamaha machinery is reigning bike champion Cyril Despres. Onlookers sounded their appreciation for the five-time Dakar champion as the Frenchman sets off to defend his title with support rider Michael Metge.

Cyril will not only have to come out on top against the Dakar’s inhospitable terrain but will also have to get the better of an ultra competitive cast of bikers looking to deny him his sixth title. The Red Bull KTM Factory Team have saddled up Marc Coma on an impressive all-new 450cc bike in an effort to get the three-time Dakar champion back to winning ways.

Marc is joined in the Red Bull KTM Factory Team by Chaleco Lopez, Ruben Faria and Jordi Viladoms as the Austrian manufacturer looks to continue a sequence of 12 straight wins in the Dakar bike race.

During the final day of Dakar preparation Honda’s HRC Rally Team found time to stage a press conference to announce their ambitions for the upcoming desert classic. With Helder Rodrigues and Sam Sunderland riding Honda’s CRF450 the potential exists within this team to upset the odds at the Dakar.

Kuba Przygonski remains as the last biker standing in the Orlen Team, the professional rally-raid squad from Poland. While Kuba battles with the bike his Orlen team-mates Marek Dabrowski and Jacek Czachor have graduated to the car race. This pair are joined in the four-wheel contest by Adam Maylsz, Poland’s favourite ski-jumper turned rally driver.

South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers is out to repeat his 2009 Dakar Rally victory as he returns with his Toyota Hilux Pickup for the third time. On both previous occasions Giniel has raced with Toyota at the Dakar he has landed on the final podium.

Another former winner making a return to the desert is Carlos Sainz, an icon in Argentina following his winning drives in this country with the Dakar and also the World Rally Championship. Sainz was given a hero’s reception as he mounted the podium in Rosario behind the wheel of his Red Bull SMG Buggy. Carlos and co-driver Timo Gottschalk are joined in the Red Bull SMG Rally Team by experienced campaigners Ronan Chabot and Gilles Pillot who will take the controls of the outfit’s other Buggy.

Bringing the Podium presentation to a close was the mighty machinery of Team Kamaz Master. The big blue Russian trucks have become a symbol of success at the Dakar since the turn of the new millennium and are heading back to the dunes following their 1-2-3 finish last year. Eduard Nikolaev is out to defend his trucker’s title and can count on the support of the four other Kamaz trucks entered into the race.

With 20 racers spread over all four categories of the Dakar Rally this latest edition of the world’s toughest rally-raid is set to be the most memorable yet for the Red Bull Desert Wings.

January 5, 2014 Dakar Rally

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