Brian France: New Chase has struck balance between winning and consistency (VIDEO)

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In a press conference this morning at Homestead-Miami Speedway, NASCAR Chairman Brian France declared that the new Chase for the Sprint Cup format has accomplished its goals and set the right balance between winning and consistency.

The latter note may strike some as odd considering that Ryan Newman, one of the four Championship drivers that will race for the Sprint Cup title in Sunday’s Ford Ecoboost 400, has yet to win a single event in 2014 – and could still wind up taking the big prize over Joey Logano (five wins), Kevin Harvick (four wins), and Denny Hamlin (one win).

However, while such a scenario may not be considered by some to be ideal in a system that has put so much emphasis on winning, France insists that he would be fine if it came to that.

“Any format that we’ve ever had always has the possibility that somebody might win the championship without winning an event,” he said. “Short of us – which we’re not gonna do – making it a hard prerequisite, that you have to win a race to qualify…That takes it out of balance, frankly.”

Later in the conference, France returned to the “balance” thing when asked if the fact that a winless driver could claim the title meant there was a flaw in the current system.

“We’re not gonna be able to have a system – we don’t want to have a system that ignores consistency,” he explained. “There’s 43 teams who all compete every weekend on the same track. It’s not a basketball tournament or something else – obviously, it’s auto racing. So we need to reflect the idea of consistency.

“The question is do we have the right balance. And I would say, unmistakably, we do. I think wanting to win events has taken on an undeniable importance. At the same time, there oughta be room for teams that do it every week and can be consistent.”

He closed by adding that no matter the path, being able to make the finale and beating the other championship teams to win the title “will be an achievement for anybody” – and that NASCAR would be “delighted” if Newman emerged victorious.

Going back to the Chase format itself, France said that while NASCAR reserved the right to make changes to it for 2015, he put the chances of tweaking it for 2015 at “very modest to zero” and again mentioned that b-word.

“It’s exceeded what I had hoped for and it’s done precisely what we wanted to do, which is recalibrate competition, or winning, rather, and still have a strong place for consistency and all the rest – but recalibrate that balance,” he said.

“It’s only Year One, but clearly we’re on our way.”

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.