NBC Sports analysts give thoughts on 2014 Chase, what we'll see in 2015 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Related: Burton, Letarte explain Jeff Gordon's major decision By now, it's safe to say that last season's revamped Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and the drama surrounding its race action immediately left us speechless, but eventually kept us talking. With NBC Sports' NASCAR tenure set to resume this season after nine years away from the sport, its all-star crew of Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett , Steve Letarte and Kyle Petty gave their thoughts last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom on the new format -- what they enjoyed and what we're bound to see in 2015. According to these NASCAR heavyweights, it sounds like we're going to see even more intense action than last year, as hard as that is to imagine. Jeff Burton, 21-time Sprint Cup Series winner "I've always believed that I was giving 100 percent. That no matter where I was in points, no matter what was going on, that I brought everything that I could bring. This points structure made you bring more. And it made the teams find a way to be better. And I think in our sport, that's what this is all about. It's about being better. You're good in April? Hey, that's great. But if you're not good enough in August and September, it ain't good enough. "The idea that you have to improve throughout the whole year -- that if you win a race, you're in -- but points still matter. I think all of that is really cool. I would hate it if points didn't matter. I know that everybody wanted the guy that won the most races and the right races to be the champion, but points should still matter. It's always been a big part of this sport and it still currently is today. So the fact that points matter, the fact that winning covers up all other mistakes and the fact that you have to be right at the right time; that's what a crunch moment is all about. "As a fan of all kinds of sports, the reason I like the Super Bowl is because if you don’t win, you lose. You go home. … And that's the mentality that has been brought to in racing today. You have to win. Or you have to compete at an exceptionally high level or you're not going to win a championship; you're not going to get done what you need to get done. I like the fact that it's made it harder for the teams, it's made it more intense for the teams. The more intense and the more stressful it is for the competitors, the more fun it is to watch. And this points structure has been without a doubt all those things." Dale Jarrett , NASCAR Hall of Famer "Jeff put it better than I think I've ever heard it put it before. Everything that he's saying there, he was spot-on with that. I think if you look back over the years, no matter how long we've been around this, whenever you have made things more difficult for the drivers, it's more entertaining for the fans and I think that's exactly what this did. "Last year at (Media Tour), we heard a lot of drivers … say 'Look, I race as hard as I can every week, I can't do anymore to try to win than what I do.' I understand that. I know the mentality. We've been there. We've done that. But, I think it proved out that if there is something different, just as Jeff was pointing out, you have to dig down and find another way to make yourself a part of that. "Kyle Busch said something (last week) about his issue at Talladega and what happened to him. That was very unfortunate, because he had done everything right to get himself moved on. He said, 'You know, if I'd got the job done a week before, and won that race, Talladega wouldn't have mattered.' So they've got a different mentality. "There's no perfect system out there, because everybody is not going to agree with it, but my gosh, we came pretty close. That was as exciting a 10-race schedule as I've ever seen in this sport." Steve Letarte, 15-time Sprint Cup Series-winning crew chief "I think that's going to be one of the biggest stories, is how are teams going to adapt? I was only able to take part in one (season) of this new Chase format and I know we learned a lot. It was a great season with a little bit of a letdown in the second round, but there were a lot of teams that have that same feeling. It's going to be an interesting take on 'How can I approach these 10 races differently? Is there a different way that maybe my team should've moved through? What crew chiefs are going to have a different approach? What drivers are going to put different weights on different race tracks?' "You have to be at Homestead. I think that's what's unique about this playoff style. No matter how good of a year you've had, if you slip up, you can overcome with a win, but that's the only way you're going to overcome. And these short, three-race segments you really have to win or have a great three races to move forward. I think we saw some big hitters, some championship favorites last year get knocked out as the playoffs went on and I think that's a big difference from in the years past where you maybe always had a chance. This year, your chances, your book can be closed. Your year can be over. And then we go to Homestead and I don't think we could've asked for a better race at Homestead last year. I don't think that's going to be a rarity. "I think when it's all on the line, the four teams that have a chance are probably always going to find that next level to step up and put on a great race." Kyle Petty, eight-time Sprint Cup Series winner "Being at the race track and being down there with it. … Dale's been in a championship chase, I was with my father (Richard Petty) in the late 70s and you get down and it's two guys working for a championship and the intensity in those two teams was always overwhelming. When The King and Darrell (Waltrip) went at it, man, it was crazy that year. I didn't know what was going to happen that year and I was just a kid. But the intensity went to a different place and Darrell and The King went to a different place, as far as what they did on the race track and how they performed on the race track. Great drivers and great teams always find a way to step up. "What we saw in the Chase was a lot of teams find that ability to step up. Step up in that first round; step up in that second round. The intensity just got greater and greater and greater. To be a part of that and to be able to try to convey to the race fans at home exactly what Dale Jr. was feeling or Steve Letarte felt sitting on that pit box last year or what Dale Jarrett felt in the car when he was racing for the championship going into that last race and the butterflies and how he felt. I think that's what this Chase brings and that's what we can bring." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Blake Shelton gives a touching speech as he introduces and offically inducts Dale Jarrett into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Alan Cavanna talks with Dale Jarrett about the people in life who helped him achieve racing immortality.
NASCAR Hall of Famers think new format has been great, added excitement RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Dale Jarrett and Rusty Wallace each won championships at NASCAR's highest level under a season-long cumulative points system, years before the advent of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. This year's format is a drastic change from the system of their heyday, with eliminations, rewards for winning and consistency all part of the equation. Even though the current complexion of the Chase represents a dramatic shift, both retired drivers said they'd have welcomed a shot at the title under this year's revised rules. "I would've loved to have been a part of it," Jarrett said. "I think all your champions will tell you the reason they're champions is because of how they thrive and handle pressure-packed situations, and I think we're seeing exactly that. I get ramped up doing the telecasts so I can't imagine what it would've been like driving." The two NASCAR Hall of Famers swapped stories and offered their thoughts about the state of the sport in a rollicking half-hour news conference Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway , site of the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN). Both former drivers will share in calling the championship finale in their roles as TV analysts. Wallace and Jarrett each won one title in NASCAR's premier series a decade apart, with Wallace reigning in 1989 and Jarrett's crowning moment coming in 1999. For selfish reasons, Wallace said he would have preferred if the idea had been hatched for the new-look Chase during his racing career. "For me, they told me if we'd had this format while I was driving, I'd have won three championships with the amount of wins I've had," Wallace said. "So yeah, I like this a lot. I think it's an exciting series with what they're doing now." Wallace said several fellow members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame would have adapted well to the new format, reeling off the names of Bill Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Sr. as drivers who relied on a healthy mix of winning plus consistency. Jarrett added the name of NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Terry Labonte to the list, but went back even further to marvel at what Hall of Famers Fireball Roberts or Junior Johnson could have accomplished under Chase rules. "I think that it would've fit all different eras if we had this type of format in those times," Jarrett said. Both agreed that the new format has increased the intensity of the racing this season, some of which has spilled over to post-race confrontations. Jarrett said that some of those same issues cropped up during his driving days, but that the spotlight's glare wasn't as wide as today's, with social media and traditional media expanding the number of eyes focused on the sport. Wallace pointed to Ryan Newman brushing aside rookie Kyle Larson last weekend as an instance of the hard-edged racing that the new Chase format has created. While some of the extracurriculars go over the line and result in punishment, Wallace said there's still a balance in what qualifies as acceptable and what isn't. "It has changed a little bit, but I think the drivers being able to get out there and have a lot of contact and not being penalized for it is a good thing nowadays," Wallace said. "The fighting, the beating each other up -- I'm not a big fan of that. I do like controversy and I do like excitement, and I think that was OK to tolerate. Everybody's going to have a different approach." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Dale Jarrett talks about what it means to be in the Hall of Fame and what a surprise it was to be voted in.
Dale Jarrett reflects on his family and how they helped him reach the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The 1999 NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett has won three Daytona 500's, two Brickyard 400's including races across 16 different track to make the 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame nomination list.
Greg Wallace and Jason Jarrett reflect on a childhood in racing
A stats-based look ahead to the 11th race of the Sprint Cup season MORE: See the Chase Grid entering Kansas DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 4, 2015) – Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas going into the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 on May 9 (7:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1). KANSAS-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Greg Biffle (No. 16 Cheez-It/SpongeBob SquarePants Ford) · Two wins, seven top fives, nine top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 10.9 · Average Running Position of 10.0, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 102.8, fourth-best · 207 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most · 900 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 167.679 mph, sixth-fastest · 2,868 Laps in the Top 15 (77.8%), third-most · 526 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), fourth-most Dale Earnhardt Jr . (No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet) · Two top fives, eight top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 16.6 · Driver Rating of 91.3, 10th-best · 133 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most · 887 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 167.349 mph, 11th-fastest · 2,103 Laps in the Top 15 (61.5%), 10th-most · 442 Quality Passes, eighth-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 STANLEY Toyota) · Six top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 10.1 · Average Running Position of 12.2, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 96.8, seventh-best · 132 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most · 956 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 167.562 mph, seventh-fastest · 2,552 Laps in the Top 15 (69.2%), sixth-most · 538 Quality Passes, third-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 American Red Cross Chevrolet) · Three wins, 10 top fives, 12 top 10s · Average finish of 10.3 · Average Running Position of 9.9, third-best · Driver Rating of 100.5, fifth-best · 157 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most · 866 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 167.910 mph, third-fastest · Series-high 3,064 Laps in the Top 15 (83.1%) · 571 Quality Passes, second-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet) · One win, three top fives, eight top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 11.5 · Average Running Position of 11.3, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 100.4, sixth-best · 226 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · Series-high 1,000 Green Flag Passes · Average Green Flag Speed of 167.769 mph, fourth-fastest · 2,667 Laps in the Top 15 (72.4%), fifth-most · 487 Quality Passes, fifth-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) · Two wins, six top fives, 14 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 9.5 · Average Running Position of 9.4, second-best · Series-best Driver Rating of 112.1 · Series-high 478 Fastest Laps Run · 969 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 167.998 mph, second-fastest · 3,045 Laps in the Top 15 (82.6%), second-most · Series-high 619 Quality Passes Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet) · Four top fives, seven top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 13.8 · Average Running Position of 13.2, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 92.7, ninth-best · 155 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most · 989 Green Flag Passes, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 167.483 mph, eighth-fastest · 2,434 Laps in the Top 15 (66.0%), seventh-most · 473 Quality Passes, sixth-most Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · Two wins, six top fives, 10 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 14.2 · Average Running Position of 10.7, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 105.6, second-best · 240 Fastest Laps Run, second-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 167.723 mph, fifth-fastest · 2,775 Laps in the Top 15 (75.3%), fourth-most · 453 Quality Passes, seventh-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Avaya Ford) · One win, two top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 13.1 · Average Running Position of 14.3, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 88.1, 12th-best Kyle Larson (No. 42 Target Chevrolet) · One top five, one top 10 · Average finish of 7.0 · Series-best Average Running Position of 9.3 · Driver Rating of 103.9, third-best · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 168.679 mph Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet) · Two wins, six top fives, nine top 10s · Average finish of 13.1 · Average Running Position of 11.6, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 95.3, eighth-best · 142 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 167.416 mph, 10th-fastest · 2,213 Laps in the Top 15 (64.7%), eighth-most · 439 Quality Passes, 11th-most Martin Truex Jr . (No. 78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet) · Four top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 18.2 · Average Running Position of 14.1, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 90.4, 11th-best · 134 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 167.442 mph, ninth-fastest · 2,060 Laps in the Top 15 (60.3%), 11th-most The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at Kansas Speedway Rank Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 18 3 1 3 8 1 11.5 100.4 2 Martin Truex Jr . 13 0 0 4 4 1 18.2 90.4 3 Jimmie Johnson 17 3 2 6 14 1 9.5 112.1 4 Joey Logano 11 0 1 3 3 1 19.8 79.7 5 Dale Earnhardt Jr . 17 1 0 2 8 2 16.6 91.3 6 Brad Keselowski 10 0 1 2 4 0 13.1 88.1 7 Jamie McMurray 16 0 0 0 3 2 20.3 73.4 8 Matt Kenseth 18 2 2 6 10 2 14.2 105.6 9 Kasey Kahne 15 3 0 4 7 1 13.8 92.7 10 Denny Hamlin 13 0 1 3 4 0 14.5 87.9 11 Paul Menard 12 0 0 1 5 0 15.6 80.3 12 Aric Almirola 6 0 0 0 3 1 18.2 84.4 13 Jeff Gordon 18 0 3 10 12 2 10.3 100.5 14 Ryan Newman 18 0 1 3 5 3 18.0 71.9 15 Kurt Busch 18 1 0 1 4 2 19.0 83.7 16 Danica Patrick 5 0 0 0 1 2 24.6 59.0 * – Based on last 14 races at Kansas Speedway . Kansas Speedway Data Season Race #: 11 of 36 (05-10-15) Track Size : 1.5-miles Banking/Turn 1 & 2 : 17 to 20 degrees Banking/Turn 3 & 4 : 17 to 20 degrees Banking/Frontstretch : 10 degrees Banking/Backstretch : 5 degrees Frontstretch Length : 2,685 feet Backstretch Length : 2,207 feet Race Length : 267 laps / 400 miles Top 10 Driver Ratings at Kansas Jimmie Johnson ........................ 112.1 Matt Kenseth ............................. 105.6 Kyle Larson ............................... 103.9 Greg Biffle ................................ 102.8 Jeff Gordon .............................. 100.5 Kevin Harvick ............................ 100.4 Carl Edwards .............................. 96.8 Tony Stewart ............................... 95.3 Kasey Kahne .............................. 92.7 Dale Earnhardt Jr . ....................... 91.3 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (14 total) among active drivers at Kansas Speedway . Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Kevin Harvick , Chevrolet 194.252 mph, 27.799 secs. 05-08-14 2014 race winner : Jeff Gordon , Chevrolet 128.149 mph, (03:07:31), 05-10-14 Track qualifying record: Kevin Harvick , Chevrolet 197.773 mph, 27.304 secs. 10-3-14 Track race record: Denny Hamlin , Toyota 144.122 mph, (02:59:51), 04-22-12 Kansas Speedway : History · Groundbreaking was held on May 25, 1999. · The official opening of Kansas Speedway was in 2001, with the first events being an ARCA race and a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race on the same day – June 2. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was on Sept. 30, 2001 – won by Jeff Gordon . · During the 2012 season, between the April and October events the 1.5-mile track underwent a repave adding variable banking in the corners. Notebook · There have been 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway , one NSCS event from 2001 - 2010 and two races per year since 2011. · 117 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas; 89 in more than one. · Five drivers have started all 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway – Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman . · Jason Leffler won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Kansas Speedway in 2001 with a speed of 176.499 mph. · 11 drivers have Coors Light poles at Kansas, led by Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne with three each. · Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are the only two drivers to win consecutive Coors Light poles at Kansas Speedway (Johnson – 2007, 2008 and Harvick – fall 2013, spring 2014 and fall 2014). · Youngest Kansas pole winner: Jason Leffler (09/30/2001 – 26 years, 0 months, 14 days). · Oldest Kansas pole winner: Mark Martin (10/04/2009 – 50 years, 8 months, 25 days). · 12 different drivers have won at Kansas Speedway , led by Jeff Gordon with three. · Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Kansas with five: Jeff Gordon (three) and Jimmie Johnson (two). · Four manufacturers have won at Kansas Speedway in the NSCS; led by Chevrolet with nine victories, Ford with four, Toyota and Dodge each have two. · Four of the 18 (22.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway have been won from the Coors Light pole; Joe Nemechek (2004), Jimmie Johnson (2008), Matt Kenseth (spring 2013) and Kevin Harvick (fall 2013). · Five of the 18 (27.7%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway have been won from the front row: four from the pole and one from second-place. · 11 of the 18 (61.1%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Kansas Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Two of the 18 (11.1%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Kansas Speedway was 25th, by Brad Keselowski in the spring of 2011. · Youngest Kansas winner: Joey Logano (10/05/2014 – 24 years, 4 months, 11 days). · Oldest Kansas winner: Mark Martin (10/09/2005 – 46 years, 9 months, 0 days). · Martin Truex Jr ., Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman are tied for the series most runner-up finishes at Kansas Speedway with two each. · Jeff Gordon leads the series in top-five finishes at Kansas Speedway with 10; followed by Greg Biffle with seven. · Jimmie Johnson leads the series in top-10 finishes at Kansas Speedway with 14; followed by Jeff Gordon (12) and Carl Edwards (11). · Joey Logano leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Kansas Speedway with an 10.818. · Kyle Larson (7.000) leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Kansas Speedway – Jimmie Johnson (9.529) is the only other driver with an average finish inside the top 10. · There has been one NSCS race resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Kansas Speedway : fall of 2011 (267/272). · Only one of the 18 races at Kansas Speedway has been shortened due to weather conditions: fall of 2007. · Qualifying has never been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kansas Speedway . · Denny Hamlin has participated in the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway without posting a DNF (13). · 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Austin Dillon (10/09/2011), Ryan Blaney (5/10/2014) and Denny Hamlin (10/09/2005) made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career starts at Kansas Speedway . · Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth are the only two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers that have posted consecutive wins at Kansas Speedway : Gordon (2001 and 2002 – the first two NSCS events at Kansas) and Kenseth (fall of 2012, spring of 2013). · Nine of the 10 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Kansas Speedway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Jeff Gordon won at Kansas in his first appearance. · Kevin Harvick competed at Kansas Speedway 15 times before winning last fall; the longest span of any the 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Kansas. · Kevin Harvick (15) and Matt Kenseth (13) have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Kansas Speedway . · Kurt Busch leads the series with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Kansas Speedway without visiting Victory Lane at 18. · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kansas Speedway was the (10/10/2004) race won by Joe Nemechek with a MOV of 0.081 second. · Jimmie Johnson leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Kansas Speedway with 586 laps led in 17 starts. · Danica Patrick is the only female driver that has competed at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Danica Patrick 29 16 10/5/2014 Danica Patrick 9 7 5/10/2014 Danica Patrick 29 43 10/6/2013 Danica Patrick 25 25 4/21/2013 Danica Patrick 40 32 10/21/2012 NASCAR in Kansas · There have been 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Kansas. Track Name City NSCS Kansas Speedway Kansas City 18 · 17 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Kansas. · Two drivers from Kansas have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series; both have won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driver NSCS NNS NCWTS Clint Bowyer 8 8 3 Jim Roper 1 0 0 MILESTONES - KANSAS DRIVER HAS NEEDS MILESTONE Kyle Larson 49 1 50th NSCS Start - Larson is tied with Boris Said and Justin Allgaier for 272nd on the all-time NSCS starts list with 49 starts. Justin Allgaier 49 1 50th NSCS Start - Allgaier is tied with Boris Said and Kyle Larson for 272nd on the all-time NSCS starts list with 49 starts. Tony Stewart 48 2 50th NSCS Win - Stewart is 12th on the all-time NSCS wins list. Matt Kenseth 32 1 33rd NSCS Win - Kenseth is tied with Dale Jarrett for 22nd on the all-time NSCS wins li
Ned and Dale Jarrett remember Dale's first NASCAR Cup Series win for the Wood Brothers in the 1991 Champion Spark Plug 400 at Michigan International Speedway.