The phenomenon of title contenders winning the final race.

Discussion in 'NASCAR chat' started by Formerjackman, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. Formerjackman

    Formerjackman Team Owner

    Every since the new playoff format debuted in 2013, I've been intrigued by the fact that all of the sudden all of the title races have been won by final four drivers, and nearly ALL of the final four drivers have been well inside of the top ten late in the race. That trend certainly runs counter to the history of NASCAR, at least since the Latford points system was adapted in 1975. From 1975 to 2012 (38 years) a driver with a mathematical chance to claim the title has only won the final race of the year nine times (1981, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1995, 2005, 2008, 2011) and ONLY in 2011 did the race winner actually win the title (Tony Stewart). I'm about as far from a conspiracy guy as you can get, but does ANYBODY want to figure the odds of the final four guys finishing 1-4 on Sunday? It just seems REALLY odd to me that since 2012, drivers that are championship contenders suddenly run VASTLY better in the final race than in the four decades past. In fact, before 2013, it was quite common for drivers that were not even in the top five in points to win the season finale, sometimes not even in the top ten. Greg Biffle did it TWICE from outside the top ten. Jerry Nadeau got his ONLY Cup win in the finale of 2000. Morgan Sheppard, Bill Elliott's first win, the list goes on and on. I know that the need to outperform the other three in this format makes it crucial to run better in the final race, but does THAT ALONE explain what we are seeing? If it were this easy to just turn it on, why not EVERY week?
    Truex_rox, Seedy, pjmolo and 7 others like this.
  2. FearThe4

    FearThe4 Team Owner

    I find it very fishy aswell and shock more people have not said anything about.
    Seedy, Speedbowl14 and Snappy D like this.
  3. hidesert cowboy

    hidesert cowboy Team Owner

    Yes it’s fishy it’s also been said the title contenders cars are cheated up too. I felt like they really should just have the 4 cars on the track everyone else is kinda in the way.. used to be the champion never won the race because they just wanted to get out of there in one piece
    Mopardh9, Pat, FearThe4 and 1 other person like this.
  4. aunty dive

    aunty dive Team Owner

    If Kyle Larson had his way, the result would have been different.

    Or. ... a vast NASCAR conspiracy is at work here.
    Charlie Spencer and Whizzer like this.
  5. Snappy D

    Snappy D 2017 Pick Em Champion 2018 Bold Predictor

    Great thread Jackman. I find it odd and fishy myself, I’ve always looked at this Homestead Miami Bowl since this format was instituted with a raised eyebrow. If it were this easy to do it in Miami then why not do it every week? They don’t test anymore with the exception of tire tests so how come every year these 4 cars are better than everyone else? Just more manufactured drama if you ask me. The swaths of empty seats yesterday at The Ford Homestead Miami Bowl might be inclined to agree as well. (I just wish Kyle would win here once in this format as a contender or spoiler, he runs so good until the eventual right side into the wall )
    FearThe4 likes this.
  6. aunty dive

    aunty dive Team Owner

    I can still feel the excitement.
    LJ7201 likes this.
  7. Snappy D

    Snappy D 2017 Pick Em Champion 2018 Bold Predictor

    Because they beat everyone else all year.
  8. Formerjackman

    Formerjackman Team Owner

    Or the other 34 guys out there. The point is, it didn't and hasn't in six years.
  9. Formerjackman

    Formerjackman Team Owner

    It's true that the points leader was just trying to protect his lead, but it doesn't quite explain why the guy second in points who HAD to go all out seldom won either.
  10. aunty dive

    aunty dive Team Owner

    Oh, well. The four of them collectively finished top five 78 times in 2018.

    Assuming, for the sake of your discussion, that NASCAR engineers this phenomenon ... one wonders how they would be able to do that.

    Charlie Spencer and Spotter22 like this.
  11. Revman

    Revman Hall of Fame

    Dunno man, I don't think like that. I am still reeling over obsessing over 2-3 tenths all year which NASCAR found for me after Texas.
    kyle18fan likes this.
  12. Formerjackman

    Formerjackman Team Owner

    What about the guys that beat everybody else in the 38 years before 2013?
  13. kyle18fan

    kyle18fan Proud member of Rowdy Nation Contributor

    Clint Bowyer won more then one race, Almirola won, Eric Jones won etc. etc.
  14. FearThe4

    FearThe4 Team Owner

    its not just the winner its all 4 of the drivers are always in the top 5 and are so much better than the field you can't tell me that this is legit cause its no fu*king way.
  15. Formerjackman

    Formerjackman Team Owner

    I have no clue, and even if you allowed them to cheat, what are the odds that four cheated up cars would run so close to each other for 400 miles? That's why I'm not making accusations, I am just perplexed by the sudden turn of events.
  16. kyle18fan

    kyle18fan Proud member of Rowdy Nation Contributor

    Harv could win at will :booya: Let others win because he is nice guy. Harv was quiet on race day they say ........ bird that pooped in own nest is always quiet bird
  17. Revman

    Revman Hall of Fame

    No question about the poop. No question. We lost, but we didn't live a lie. This is big. A whole season of deceit. Wow.
    kyle18fan likes this.
  18. Formerjackman

    Formerjackman Team Owner

    Just food for thought, the six times JJ won the title under the old format, he NEVER won the final race even though the outcome was always in doubt. The year he won under the new format he did it with a car that was barely in the top five most of the day. In Jeff Gordon's four title years, the ONLY year he even had a decent finish in the final race was 1998, when the title had been locked up two races before.
    Zerkfitting and Pat like this.
  19. StandOnIt

    StandOnIt Farm Truck

    I guess there is plenty of tin foil to go around for folks who think that way. This below is enough for me to say different. Long shots do win, statistically it will never be a norm, but it does happen frequently enough to be statistically significant.

    I read somewhere that the big three this year winning as many races that they had, the last time that happened it was back when Yarbourgh and I can't remember the other two drives did it back in the 80's. It doesn't happen often as one can tell. If I find it I will post it.
  20. Formerjackman

    Formerjackman Team Owner

    And this list has exactly WHAT to do with what we are talking about?
  21. Spotter22

    Spotter22 Team Owner

    All this post does is bring out the tin foil hat wearing crazies. The size and scope of a conspiracy like some suggest would be impossible and not to mention the death of the sport if someone leaked it. Get real.
  22. AdoubleU24

    AdoubleU24 Team Owner

    I'm kind of torn on this topic. It is kind of funny to me that some how some way the 4 finalists are always in the top 4 or 5 at the end of the race. Even the year Newman got in he was running 2nd at the end and I don't recall him running that good on the 1.5's that season before that race. I mean hell he had to pull the desperation move just to get to that race.

    Then you have Gordon who in 2015 really struggled most of the day and managed a 6th place finish but was never a threat to win. Kinda like Jimmie in 2016.

    It's very strange for sure. It's like maybe they are allowed a little more wiggle room and some do more with it than others, idk.
    Truex_rox, 2 Sweet and Pat like this.
  23. StandOnIt

    StandOnIt Farm Truck

    Found it, actually it wasn't in the 80's but before that in 1974 was the last time for the big three. A very rare occurrence, The big three won all but 3 races
    NASCAR Winston Cup standings for 1974


    And the same as today this happens:

    "Let me tell you about the good ol' days," Richard Petty recently said in response to midsummer complaining about the NASCAR haves having too much. "These days, every year we have at least 10 winners. Ten. Back in my day if we'd had 10 winners, that's when people would've been asking what was wrong. These three guys this year, they know who they have to beat. It's those other two guys. Back in the day, that's how it always was."
    The King points to the smartphone that is recording his comments.
    "Take that deal in your hand there and go look up the 1974 NASCAR season. You'll see what I'm talking about." :D:D:p

    Mike Crayne likes this.
  24. StandOnIt

    StandOnIt Farm Truck

    Auto racing more than any other sport I know of is has it's roots in the chaos theory. Not going to go into all that, but read about quarks if you are curious about chaos theory. Unexplained outcomes that go against the prevailing beliefs. Some people understand that happens in racing, to others they go to various lengths to try to understand it. The finishing order this year in the last race was inverted. If all of the statistics were set in stone, the 18, 4, 78, and 22 should have been statistically correct. So some brains explode.
    Charlie Spencer and aunty dive like this.
  25. sdj

    sdj Just a race fan

    I gotta chime in here.

    IMO, there is no collusion, special privilege, looking other way, going on in NASCAR, no f'ing way, in todays climate it would and is impossible to accomplish.

    I think those 4 rose to the occasion and kicked ass all year long. Did they get slapped a time or two for going over the edge of the rules, hell yeah, they aught to be fired if they do not try and get all you can to win.

    This ain't Sunday school folks, this is big boy big time high stakes high dollar racing and if ya do not have the britches to stand among them, well, so be it.

    I mean Matt Kenseth finished 6th Sunday at Homestead, he brought a back burner car to a 6th place finish for goodness sake.

    Kyle Larson was on a mission and gave it all he had and was succeeding until he failed, but, he was hanging it all out to win.

    I saw Sunday that the other 36 cars gave the top 4 leaders respect during the final race, they did not roll over, but they did not encumber the fastest cars, as it should be.
  26. ToyYoda

    ToyYoda Team Owner

    Not to mention, every one of the Homestead winners since 2014 had never won at Homestead previously.
    Charlie Spencer and Wrangler1 like this.
  27. aunty dive

    aunty dive Team Owner


    Thank you, sir.
  28. Interesting thread. As a, pretty much, lifelong hockey fan I own stock in Alcoa.

    Conspiracy theorists abound in that sport’s fandom.

    All I can offer is that once a “coincidence” happens too many times, or too many times something does or does not happen to a particular entity, it ceases to appear to be a random or organic event.
    Seedy likes this.
  29. If NASCAR was fixed Danica Patrick and Dale Jr would have won multiple championships.
    Greg likes this.
  30. Charlie Spencer

    Charlie Spencer Short tracks and road courses rule.

    One thing that skews the stats is that they only run here for the last race. I'd like to be able to compare this race with a non-Chase race from earlier in the season, to see how the finalists did here for a 'regular season' race.

    (Then again, maybe having only one race here is how NASCAR smoke-screens the chicanery :p )

    This does NOT mean I think this track should have a second race.
  31. TexasRaceLady

    TexasRaceLady Plank Owner Contributor

    It's no surprise to me that the top contenders are usually the top finishers.
    Harvick, Truex, and Busch were the cream of the crop all year. Logano did what he had to do to
    join them in this final race and beat them at their own game.
    No conspiracy needed.
  32. Snappy D

    Snappy D 2017 Pick Em Champion 2018 Bold Predictor

    I was referring to how some were saying the title was clinched early in the old Winston Cup days and it made the races meaningless, its because that champ beat everyone else that year.
  33. Privateer

    Privateer Crew Chief

    Thinking back to last year's race, unless I'm remembering a different year, the only guy outside the top 4 that tried to compete for the win was...Kyle Larson.

    Edit: Think I was remembering 2016 where he finished 2nd. But in 2017 he finished 3rd at Homestead. So that's 3 years in a row where he was the best-performing non-championship hunting car.

    After Larson this year the best guy was Denny Hamlin, who was forced to be Kyle Busch's support boy even though he had a better car all weekend. There's probably something to the fact of for the multi-car operations, they want to swing everything toward their one guy that has a chance for the title, which is understandable while also very F1-ish.
    LJ7201 likes this.
  34. 2 Sweet

    2 Sweet Legend

    I think there are a number of factors.

    Is NASCAR as strict on the "Final 4" teams as they would normally be during the inspection process? I doubt it. They clearly want all of these teams to run up front in the Homestead Cup (all four teams battling for the win is their wet dream) but I'm not sure they are given any significant unfair advantages.

    Other drivers know there's a title on the line, so I think most of them are content to ride a safe race and stay out of trouble. Nobody wants to be the guy who does something that affects the championship.

    Most of all, I think the "Final 4" teams this year were simply the best four all year, and they brought everything they had. There's much less parity in the sport now from the front of the field to the back. You'll consistently see the same drivers running around the same positions as they normally do. You probably won't see a guy like Austin Dillon or Erik Jones or Paul Menard hit on a setup and compete for a win. Everyone knew Larson would be a factor because he's so good at this track, but nobody else had much of a shot to win yesterday.
  35. Formerjackman

    Formerjackman Team Owner

    Just to be clear here, I'm NOT claiming a conspiracy, I'm just trying to figure it out. Why are the championship contenders running SO MUCH better in the final race in the last five years than the 38 years before then?

    2018: 1,2,3,4.
    2017: 1,2,4,7
    2016: 1,4,6, crashed while leading.
    2105: 1,2,6,12.
    2014: 1,2,7,16.

    That's FOUR times in five years that two of the final four ran one-two in the finale. That only happened a few times in the 38 years preceding it. If that doesn't make you sit up and go "Hey, what's different now, then I don't know what to say.
  36. Privateer

    Privateer Crew Chief

    Slippery slope if they're light on inspection. I get NASCAR wouldn't want to try and sanction a car that won the race and therefore the title, but keeping to the norms everyone else has stops teams from designing cheater cars and then one of the loser cars calls the sanctioning body out on it. If anything they would want to be draconian pre-race inspection to ensure they don't have to disqualify the championship winner.

    I don't think there's any magical conspiracy, while also at the same time acknowledging a lot of drivers not in the hunt are out there riding around instead of racing with the aim to win, except for Larson, which makes people like Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski little different than Landon Cassill. Larson was honestly the most entertaining thing in that race for 300 miles. Remove him and all we would've been doing the whole race is comparing the 4 drivers' pit crews to one another.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
    Mike Crayne and 2 Sweet like this.
  37. ToyYoda

    ToyYoda Team Owner

    This was the most noticeable in 2014. That’s the year Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin slipped through the cracks of the playoff format and made it to the Championship Four. Both those drivers had mediocre seasons that year, but were both running like 1998 Jeff Gordon at Homestead.
    jws926 and 2 Sweet like this.
  38. Formerjackman

    Formerjackman Team Owner

    The five years previous:
    2009: 4,5,6,12.
    2010: 1,2,3,14
    2011: 1,2,4,8
    2012: 2,15,21,36.
    2013: 2,7,9,10.
  39. Spotter22

    Spotter22 Team Owner

    Gimmie a break, you are saying it without trying to look like you are saying it.I'll answer it for you though, because they have to RACE to be the Champion, not point thier way in. Heres another coincedence, they were the best cars all damn year. Go figure
    Charlie Spencer likes this.
  40. 2 Sweet

    2 Sweet Legend

    Parity, or lack thereof.

    The same guys run up front, the same guys run in the middle, and the same guys run at the rear. There are rarely any surprises in the running order like there always used to be.

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