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NASCAR’s playoff system enters its 20th season in 2024. Originally dubbed “The Chase for the Cup,” the system has evolved over the last two decades. Like fans of the Cup Series, not all drivers agree with the current format, while others love it.

Several of NASCAR’s most prominent drivers gave their takes on the playoffs during Media Day ahead of Sunday’s Daytona 500.

Denny Hamlin, who is still chasing his first Cup, says he would alter the current championship format. Hamlin said he would like the championship to be decided over several races. The current system includes a single championship-deciding race at Phoenix.

“No one is going to run off and win the championship between three guys after two races,” Hamlin said. “You’re still going to have that element, but it’s probably a little bit more of a fair way to do it.”

Hamlin said he does “like the playoffs.” However, he appreciates the original scenario in which 10 drivers battled it out over the course of 10 weeks.

“Every race had such big importance,” he said. “Now, there’s a win and you’re in.”

Denny Hamlin celebrates 2024 NASCAR Clash victory
Denny Hamlin | Meg Oliphant via Getty Images

Chase Elliott, the 2020 Cup Series champion, echoed some of Hamlin’s comments, particularly on the change from the 10-week, 10-driver format.

“One bad race didn’t take someone out of ruining a really good year,” Elliott said. “That’s the only bad thing I see with the way we have it. I’d just hate for somebody to win 10 races and not win the championship. To me, that would be a little bit of black eye for the integrity of our sport.”

Tyler Reddick, driver of the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota, said he captured an Xfinity Series title after struggling all season and clinching a title at the end. In his other title-winning year, he was the dominant car all along.

“Both ways are very fulfilling,” Reddick said. “You still have to go out there and get the job done at the end of the day…You have to show up in those clutch moments and deliver.”

Two-time Cup champion Joey Logano is all-in on the playoff format.

“Some fans who have watched our sport for a very long time don’t like our playoff system,” Logano told The Athletic. “And I disagree with that. Our playoff system is spectacular.”

Logano likened a driver hitting a hot streak late in the regular season and clinching a championship to other major sports.

“Can you get hot the last five races and go from a guy who barely made the playoffs to winning the championship? Absolutely,” he said. “Can happen in the NFL, too. Can happen in the NBA, it can happen in the NHL. What’s wrong with us having that?”

Logano added he doesn’t want the points leader to take it easy and only concentrate on not making mistakes in the final three races of the season. He wants them gunning for the win.

“I don’t want to see somebody just try not to screw up and lay up the last three races to win the championship,” he said. “Screw that.”

The NASCAR points race began in earnest Thursday night with the Daytona Duel races. Top-10 finishers in the event earned regular season points. Reddick and Christopher Bell won their respective Duel races.