NASCAR already had one of the most unique points systems in all of racing, thanks to the Chase. But now, it’s completely revamped that format, further distinguishing it from other motorsport series.
The sanctioning body held a press conference Monday to announce a new stage-based race format that will be used in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Under the new system, there is also a new playoff bonus structure.
“These are enhancements that the NASCAR fan has long sought, and the entire industry has worked hard to develop a better racing format for our fans,” Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said in a statement. “This format puts a premium on every victory and every in-race position over the course of the season. Each point can eventually result in winning or losing a championship.”
Rather than putting an increased emphasis on winning, as past rule changes have done, the enhanced format will lead to more aggressive driving. It seems like the system also will result in fewer commercial breaks during green flag periods.
Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect from NASCAR’s new championship structure:
Each race will consist of three stages, which will vary in length depending on the total race distance and track size. A white flag will be shown when there’s one lap remaining in each stage, and Stage 1 and Stage 2 will conclude with a”checkered stage flag.”
Stage 1 and Stage 2 will be followed by a caution period, during which drivers will pit, followed by a green flag to mark the start of the subsequent stage. Stages can end under caution, and a race will be considered official after Stage 2.
Points will be awarded to the drivers running inside the top 10 at the end of Stage 1, and again after Stage 2. The driver in first place will receive 10 points and one playoff bonus point, whoever’s in second place will get 9 points and the points will continue to be distributed in descending order.
In addition to five playoff bonus points, race winners will now be awarded 40 points. The second-place finisher will receive 35 points, third will receive 34 points and so on.
Playoff bonus points
Because bonus points are now on offer throughout the race for winning a stage, they no longer will be given for leading a lap, or leading the most laps in a race. Also, drivers can now carry over playoff bonus points from one round to the next through the Round of 8. Bonus points will not carry over to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Thumbnail photo via NASCAR