The revised format of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has set up a four-driver battle to determine the 2014 champion in Sunday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in South Florida. Upon completion of 400 miles, either Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano or Ryan Newman will be the new champion, based on how they finish in the 43-car field.
ESPN will televise the race starting with a special two-hour NASCAR Countdown at 1 p.m. ET, with the race’s green flag at 3:15 p.m. The revised Chase format started with 16 eligible drivers at the end of NASCAR’s “regular season,” with three eliminations over the course of nine races narrowing the championship contenders to four.
“It’s been exciting for us to bring the races in the new format of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to our viewers, and we’re especially looking forward to history being made in Sunday’s championship race as the entire season comes down to the wire in one race,” said ESPN President John Skipper.
The race will be the final event in ESPN’s eight-year contract to televise live NASCAR racing, but the sport will not be disappearing from ESPN.
“While we won’t be televising NASCAR races after this season, the only thing ending in our relationship with NASCAR is the live racing,” said Skipper. “NASCAR is a very important part of our history and coverage of the sport will continue to live on all ESPN platforms going into the future.”
The race in Miami will be ESPN’s 398th NASCAR Sprint Cup race, with 262 airing in the 1981-2000 era and the rest under the current contract that started in 2007.
Allen Bestwick will call the race with analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch. Nicole Briscoe will host the pre-race show with analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. SportsCenter continues its week-long coverage all weekend.