In Milestone Year, NASCAR President Mike Helton Says Chase Has Delivered

NASCAR President Mike Helton (Getty Images)
NASCAR President Mike Helton (Getty Images)
NASCAR President Mike Helton (Getty Images)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — From NASCAR President Mike Helton’s perspective, the first decade of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has passed just about as quickly as a record-setting qualifying run.

Two days away from the 10th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship to be decided under the 10-race Chase format, Helton fielded questions from reporters Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“I don’t know what’s happened the last 10 years that moved us along so fast, but [we’re] celebrating the 10th Chase, and I would tell you that from NASCAR’s perspective the Chase has delivered on what we had hoped it would do,” Helton said. “I think we could sustain an argument that it’s one of the most challenging championships in all of sports.”

Should Jimmie Johnson’s 28-point lead hold up in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400, Johnson will have won six of the 10 Chase championships. And he will have done so in three distinct types of race cars, the latest of which is the Gen-6 introduced this year.

“On the Cup side, obviously the most visible element in 2013 was the Gen?6 race car,” Helton said, “And we’re very pleased with its roll?out early in ’13, but we’re also very pleased with the results on the race track, as it’s evolved throughout the season, and of course Homestead Sunday being the final event of its inaugural year.

“The in?race passing elevated. We [have] had 16 different winners. Many were winners that you would expect to win like the 48 (Jimmie Johnson), the 20 (Matt Kenseth) and the 29 (Kevin Harvick), but I think we also had some moments that we were all pretty proud of with the (34, David Ragan) in Talladega and the 55 (Brian Vickers) winning in New Hampshire. So we’re very pleased with the roll-out of the Gen?6.”

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.