NASCAR’s made-for-television “chase for the cup” this season seems more suited for the hype of wrestling than racing but the contrived 10-race shootout produced an exciting finale Sunday in Homestead as Kurt Busch overcame a lost tire and a botched pit stop to win the Nextel Cup by eight points over Jimmie Johnson in the tightest finish ever in the points.

NASCAR’s change in the points system was a gamble that seems to have paid off with a down-to-the-wire finish and higher TV ratings.

But is it real racing? That’s a question that dogged NASCAR long before they came up with the “chase.” The sanctioning body has long tinkered with rules, insisted on common templates that make cars alike and tinkered with the formula to keep the facing close.

Whether you like the contrived chase or not, it worked.

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