The NASCAR playoffs is a championship playoff system used in NASCAR's three national series. The system was founded as 'The Chase for the Championship' on January 21, 2004, and was used exclusively in the NASCAR Cup Series from 2004 to 2015. Since 2016, NASCAR has also used the playoff system in the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series.
The NASCAR Cup Series version of the playoff system is often called the Chase for the Cup, and includes sixteen drivers that compete for the championship in the final ten races of the Cup Series. The first nine races are divided into three rounds, with four participants being eliminated after each round. The Xfinity Series Chase format is competed over seven races with twelve drivers. The Truck Series Chase also is seven races long, but only includes ten drivers.
On January 23, 2017, NASCAR announced that they would not be using the word "Chase,” instead using the word "Playoffs." In 2018 NASCAR began awarding a regular season championship for the driver with the most points heading into the playoffs in all three series and grandfathered 2017 as the first time the regular season championship was awarded into the record books.