Without Chase format, Jeff Gordon would have won championship, not Kevin Harvick

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Heading into last Sunday’s season-ending race, our MST colleague Tony DiZinno did an excellent job breaking down what the Sprint Cup points standings would look like pre-Homestead if the standings would be determined solely by points earned in the season.

In other words, if NASCAR had not added an elimination format, and if there had been no expansion of the Chase field from 12 to 16 drivers.

After Kevin Harvick won the championship under the new rules, several MST readers asked for an update as far as what the final standings would have looked like after Homestead based solely on points earned in all 36 races (26 regular season, 10 in the Chase).

Would winning Sunday’s race have put Harvick at the top of the “old” pre-Chase point standings?

No, but there was some movement (typically one position up or down in most instances) in what would have been the final standings that should be noted if the old format woulda, coulda – and for some of you old school fans – shoulda been in place.

Thanks to our good friends at Jayski.com, here’s how the 2014 driver standings would have ultimately played out without the revised Chase format – as well as which drivers moved up or down from the previous week heading into Homestead.

Unofficial Top 25 in 2014 Sprint Cup Driver Points Standings (not the Chase):
[After Homestead, race 36 of 36]

1) #24-Jeff Gordon, 1253
2) #22-Joey Logano, 1216, -37
3) #2-Brad Keselowski, 1179, -74 (Gained one position from previous week)
4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 1175, -78 (Lost one position)
5) #4-Kevin Harvick(champion), 1171, -82
6) #31-Ryan Newman, 1136, -117 (Gained one position)
7) #20-Matt Kenseth, 1131, -122 (Lost one position)
8) #42-Kyle Larson, 1080, -173 (Gained one position)
9) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 1067, -186 (Gained one position)
10) #99-Carl Edwards, 1059, -194 (Lost two positions)
11) #1-Jamie McMurray, 1014, -239 (Gained one position)
12) #16-Greg Biffle, 1000, -253 (Lost one position)
13) #11-Denny Hamlin, 987, -266 (Missed one race) (Gained one position)
14) #15-Clint Bowyer, 979, -274 (Gained one position)
15) #18-Kyle Busch, 969, -284 (Lost two positions)
16) #5-Kasey Kahne, 966, -287 (Gained one position)
17) #3-Austin Dillon, 958, -295 (Lost one position)
18) #27-Paul Menard, 944, -309
19) #55-Brian Vickers, 921, -332
20) #41-Kurt Busch, 911, -342
21) #9-Marcos Ambrose, 872, -381 (Gained one position)
22) #47-AJ Allmendinger, 868, -385 (Lost one position)
23) #78-Martin Truex Jr., 857, -396
24) #43-Aric Almirola, 820, -433 (Gained one position)
25) #14-Tony Stewart, 799, -454 (missed three races) (Lost one position)

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Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.