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NASCAR announces major changes to Sprint Cup championship

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NASCAR Chairman Brian France Thursday announced a restructuring of the points system in its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series that will result in four drivers battling for the title during the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 16.

France made the announcement of the changes, which will put an emphasis on winning, at the conclusion of the four-day NASCAR Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway.

There will be no points advantage for any of the drivers coming into the Miami race and the race will be a winner-take-all affair -- the driver that finishes best among the four contenders will claim the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

The field will now expand to 16 drivers (formerly 12) that compete in the 10-race Chase. The new format now features eliminations after the third, sixth and ninth races in the 10-race Chase. Drivers that win a Chase race will automatically advance to the next segment.

NASCAR spoke with drivers and teams before announcing the changes. Most NASCAR Sprint Cup teams made appearances at the Charlotte Convention Center during the NASCAR Media Tour this week and one of the most popular questions was about the changes. The final announcement was not made until after the driver appearances so drivers were unsure what the final format would be but seemed to agree that the fan experience was the most important aspect to consider.

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