Chase for­mat might change again

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

let tem­per run amok be­fore, but seems calmer now. tion, the No. 21-seeded Zvonareva beat for­mer No. 1s Kim Cli­jsters and Je­lena Jankovic en route to the fi­nal. She also teamed with Elena Ves­nina to beat the top-ranked Wil­liams sis­ters in the quar­ter­fi­nals of dou­bles.

“With ex­pe­ri­ence and ma­tu­rity, I learn a lot about my­self, and I know where I have to pump my­self up and where I have to calm my­self down,” the 25-year-old Zvonareva said Fri­day. “But emo­tions, I think they’re good. They should be there. It’s sport. It shows that you care, that you’re try­ing your best out there.”

She was once a teenage prodigy, reach­ing the French Open quar­ter­fi­nals in 2003 at age 18. That was her best Grand Slam show­ing un­til last year, when she made the semi­fi­nals in Aus­tralia.

Zvonareva has been known to sob on court even when she’s win­ning, and she has man­gled more than a few rack­ets in anger.

“She was so emo­tional and would get down on her­self,” three-time Grand Slam cham­pion Lind­say Daven­port said. “Now she seems like one of the most com­posed play­ers on the WTA Tour.”

NASCAR is con­sid­er­ing tweak­ing the Chase for the Sprint Cup cham­pi­onship, with chair­man Brian France want­ing to cre­ate more drama to the ti­tle-de­cid­ing for­mat.

Also un­der con­sid­er­a­tion are changes to the sec­ond-tier Na­tion­wide Se­ries that could af­fect the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Cup driv­ers, and sched­ul­ing re­quests made by track op­er­a­tors In­ter­na­tional Speedway Corp. and Speedway Mo­tor­sports Inc. for the 2011 sea­son.

SMI sub­mit­ted a sched­ul­ing request for 2011, per­haps fi­nally open­ing the door for the com­pany to bring a long­cov­eted Sprint Cup race to Ken­tucky Speedway.

The Chase, in­tro­duced in 2004, had 10 driv­ers com­pet­ing over the fi­nal 10 races of the sea­son. The inaugural year was a suc­cess, as five driv­ers went into the sea­son fi­nale in math­e­mat­i­cal con­tention to win the ti­tle that ul­ti­mately went to Kurt Busch, who beat Jim­mie John­son by eight points in the fi­nal stand­ings.

Two years later, John­son be­gan his run of four con­sec­u­tive ti­tles, even as NASCAR widened the field to 12 driv­ers and cre­ated a seed­ing sys­tem based on bonus points earned through “reg­u­lar-sea­son” vic­to­ries.

France would not talk specifics, but in gen­eral terms, his ideas sounded as if NASCAR is con­sid­er­ing both eliminations and tweak­ing the sys­tem to en­sure that sev­eral driv­ers are in ti­tle con­tention dur­ing the sea­son fi­nale. In the past sev­eral years, John­son has had to only pre­serve a de­cent fin­ish to wrap up the ti­tle with lit­tle to no com­pe­ti­tion.

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