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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Top Fuel driver Austin Prock earns 2019 NHRA top rookie honors

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Having just completed a promising first year in NHRA Top Fuel competition, Austin Prock is on the road to even greater drag racing success in his career.

That’s why it’s not surprising that Prock was named the winner of the 2019 Auto Club Road to the Future Award during Monday night’s annual NHRA Awards dinner at the Ray Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.

The Road to the Future Award is NHRA’s version of Rookie of the Year, and Prock was among the brightest young stars on the circuit this past season, including winning his first national event at the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in suburban Seattle, the 16th race on the 24-race schedule.

What made that first win all the more sweeter is it came at the same event that his boss, legendary 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, captured his milestone 150th career win.

One month ago, Prock set a personal best run of 3.688 seconds at 334.40 mph over veteran driver Doug Kalitta in the first round of eliminations at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals three weeks ago in Ennis, Texas (suburban Dallas).

“I am proud of the season this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team put together,” Prock said in a media release. “My guys worked their asses off all season long to give me the opportunity to win the Auto Club Road the Future Award. I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I would have never been here without John Force and Robert Hight (president of John Force Racing). They gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream and I owe the world to them. I hope I made them proud.”

Prock became only the 10th rookie in the history of the NHRA pro ranks to both win a race in their first season and also go on to win the Road to the Future award. He also was the 13th rookie in the sport’s history to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six race playoffs.

Prock becomes the sixth John Force Racing driver to earn the Road to the Future Award, joining Tony Pedregon (1996), Hight (2005), Ashley Force-Hood (2007), Mike Neff (2008), Courtney Force (2012) and Brittany Force (2013).

Austin Prock is the son of veteran crew chief Jimmy Prock, who tuned Hight to his third career NHRA Funny Car championship this past Sunday.

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