Now that NASCAR's playoff format, aka the Chase for the Championship, is an established part of the Cup business model, it's worth examining its impact on the sport.
As this article points out, sponsors instantly understood the impact of the Chase on their business model - if your driver isn't in the Chase, your media exposure drops to nothing for the last 10 races of the season. Of course, the reverse is true for the lucky teams in the top 10 going into the playoffs.

We'd expect sponsorship contracts to change to include a "Chase contingency" clause. (Maybe they have already, but nobody's saying?) Certainly, the sponsors will put enormous pressure on teams and drivers to make the Chase, and failure to do so could be the cause of a lot more turnover - in drivers, crew chiefs, and sponsors.

It occurs to me that stick and ball playoff-oriented sports tend to have mostly series and event sponsorship, rather than team sponsorship. Perhaps this is NASCAR's long-term plan? Only the France family knows.

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