NASCAR Announces Competition Enhancements for 2017 and Beyond

By David Morgan, NASCAR Contributor

Ahead of the start of the 2017 season, NASCAR announced competition and format changes that will be implemented across the three national series for the upcoming season and beyond.

The new stage-based race format will roll out next month at Daytona in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and completely revamps the traditional race format that we have seen in years past.

Each race will now be broken down into three stages, with drivers and crew chiefs aware of the lap that the stage will end at each track and race. Prior to the end of the first two stages, pit road will be closed five laps prior and once the first two stages are complete, pit road will then open and drivers will be allowed to pit at that point. The final stage, will play out as races always have, with the first driver to the finish being the race winner.

The winner of the first two stages will earn 10 bonus points, with second receiving nine points, and so on and so forth throughout the top-10.

The winner of the first two stages of each race will also receive one playoff point, and the race winner will receive five playoff points. Each playoff point will be added to his or her reset total following race No. 26, if that competitor makes the playoffs.

The race winner following the final stage will now receive 40 points, second-place will receive 35, third-place 34, fourth-place 33, and on down the line throughout the remainder of the field.

Any bonus points accrued throughout the season will also continue to count throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs, with the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway staying the same as before and the final four drivers will race straight-up for the championship.

NASCAR also announced a playoff bonus structure that will see the regular season points leader honored as the regular season champion, earning 15 playoff points that will be added to the driver’s playoff reset of 2,000. In addition, the top-10 drivers in points leading into the playoffs will receive playoff points, with second place receiving 10 playoff points, third place will earn 8 points, fourth place will receive 7 points, and on down the line.

“Simply put, this will make our great racing even better,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. “I’m proud of the unprecedented collaboration from our industry stakeholders, each of whom had a common goal – strengthening the sport for our fans. This is an enhancement fully rooted in teamwork, and the result will be an even better product every single week.”

“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,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “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.”

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.

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