DAYTONA BEACH - Jimmie Johnson wants more information before he endorses or objects to another round of changes to NASCAR's version of a postseason.
NASCAR chairman Brian France said during his midseason news conference Friday at Daytona that the sanctioning body is looking "pretty carefully" at ways to ratchet up the drama in the Chase.
He gave no specifics, and Johnson, the four-time defending Sprint Cup champion, said he has only heard ideas so far.
"From my conversations with them, they are very serious about making some changes," Johnson said. "I don't know what that looks like because we've talked about minor changes all the way to some very extreme options."
France said NASCAR is happy with the basic structure of a points reset for qualifying drivers with 10 races to go - implemented in 2004 - but "wants to make sure it's giving us the biggest impact moments it was designed to do."
Ideas that have been floated include expanding the field of 12 drivers and eliminating one or two drivers after each race and making the season finale a winner-take-all event even if the point totals don't support that.
Johnson is skeptical.
"I know their No. 1 goal is to make it entertaining and exciting," he said. "The thing I keep questioning them on is making sure it follows the history of our sport and a champion is crowned in a way that respects the past and past champions.
"Some of the ideas I've heard are absolutely crazy - it's more of a crapshoot than anything. That side of it, if it comes down to it, I wouldn't agree with, but it's not my series and I don't get to make those decisions."
Only a couple of years ago, France acknowledged NASCAR made too many changes in a short time frame for core fans to digest. Those included title sponsorship, the Car of Tomorrow and the Chase format.
He announced a "back to basics" initiative during his 2008 preseason address and said, "we're going to minimize change the best we can."
Most of the changes NASCAR has made since 2008 - including less regulation, the return of spoilers and standardized starting times - have, in fact, moved NASCAR back toward its roots.
A radical change to the Chase would reverse the trend.
"I don't mind some type of elimination process," Johnson said, "but I think when you come down to crowning the champion, it can't be about one race, and that option has been thrown around as well. I just think that's unfair.
"It takes away from the history of our sport, and we're already down to 10 races to crown a champion. To have things reset after nine and winner take all, I just don't think it reflects and respects what our sport is about."
Johnson has won four championships under the current format, which has undergone a few relatively minor tweaks since Kurt Busch won the first Chase. So it's only natural that he would favor keeping the current format.
Yet, Johnson said his objection to radical change is more about the integrity of the championship.
"What's funny is that when I brought up my points (to NASCAR), they all busted into laughter, saying, 'We expected this out of you,'" Johnson said. "I was, 'OK, no, no, that's fine. I'll race anyway.'
"I had a hard time with the Chase anyway, because I felt like it took away from what (Dale) Earnhardt did and what (Richard) Petty did (winning seven championships each), but I know the times are changing, and we need to stay current with it."
France defended NASCAR's decision to re-evaluate the Chase, noting that other professional sports leagues made adjustments to their postseasons.
"You saw the NCAA Tournament took a hard look at how many teams to add into their tournament and had a big idea. Then they ended up adding a few teams (three). There are a lot of things we'll look at."