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


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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Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.