NASCAR Implements Stage-Based Race Format, Playoff-Point Incentives

(NASCAR Wire Service)

Staff Report ~ NASCAR Wire Service

NASCAR, in collaboration with its industry stakeholders, announced today competition format enhancements that will be implemented in all three of its national series – the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

The new race format is designed to emphasize aggressive racing and strategy, with the goal of delivering more dramatic moments over the course of a race and season.

“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.”

Under the new format, races will consist of three stages, with championship implications in each stage. The top-10 finishers in each stage will be awarded additional championship points. The winner of the first two stages of each race will receive one playoff point, and the race winner will receive five playoff points. Each playoff point will be added to a driver’s reset total following the 26th race, if that competitor makes the playoffs.

All playoff points will carry through to the end of the third round of the postseason (Round of 8), with the Championship 4 racing straight-up at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the title.

Championship points following the first two stages of each race will be awarded on a descending scale, with the stage winner receiving 10 points, second earning nine points, and so on. The race winner following the final stage will receive 40 points, second-place will earn 35, third-place 34, fourth-place 33, and so on.

NASCAR also unveiled a playoff bonus structure that honors the regular season points leader as the regular season champion and awards 15 playoff points to the driver’s playoff reset of 2,000.

In addition, the top-10 drivers in regular-season points also will receive playoff points with second place earning 10 points, third place getting eight points, fourth place obtaining seven points, and so on.

“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.”


  1. Can the France dictatorship come to an end? Notice how the release states “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.” So when it sucks, it is the fans fault. I don’t remember asking them to continue ruin racing over the last 10-15 years.

  2. Do you hear that sound? It’s the sound of NASCAR TV ratings rolling down, down and down even further.

    Just when you think they can’t even make the sport even less interesting and confusing. Let’s put bonus points over bonus points over a new confusing point system. And let’s make the races into stages. Because yes, I would love to watch a 6 hour race every single week with the same five guys leading the race.

    NASCAR is single handily killing their own Sport. Us old fans from the 90’s have left. And now they are struggling to keep the die-hard and the millennial’s. That won’t last long.

    But don’t worry. I hear in 2018 they will change the point system up one more. You get points for doing a pit stop and making a caution to make the race longer.

  3. Fast Eddie says

    The new points system sounds very confusing. I think the points for stages should be sufficient. However, using Loudon as an example, I’d much rather go watch three 100-lap races than one 300-lap race with a big “mid-race lull” when the field is strung out on a “long green flag run.” Let’s call it what it is; drivers are pacing themselves trying to save their equipment for the end. Now that there a three chances at earning points, I think there will be much less “pacing” and a lot more “racing”. I might actually go to Loudon on Sunday for the first time in years.

  4. Bill Realist says

    I read it 4-5 times and think I understand it now. Was the point of this to fit more commercials in? Lower ratings = less ad revenue. Solution, sell more ads for less money. That will work!

  5. The Brian France Regime: Finding new ways to give fans a reason to say “ah, screw it” since 2003.

  6. Long story short. Debris cautions will now be planned and award points to the leader!

  7. Sharpie Fan says

    Watch for this to be the first new rule to get tweaked when Junior wrecks:
    “NASCAR won’t allow teams to replace body panels during a race, and teams will have additional limitations on crash repair that likely will mean most drivers who have to go to the garage won’t return for the remainder of the race.”

  8. Basically each race will have 3 checkers & even more wrecks with the green flag starts for each segment. A demolition derby is more like it.

  9. i think nascar wants be motorize football why not give points for taking other cars out may be that will get a fan base back because what they are doing to the racing now will destroy whats left of the loyle fan the new format sucks

  10. Yup, this is pretty dumb. NASCAR needs to understand their popularity will never be like the early 2000s again. Young people don’t even watch TV anymore. Just ask the NFL about that. Quit messing with it. Most people I know who watch cup don’t care about points and playoffs. Just put four stickers on and go racing. I was fine with the original system. NASCAR is chasing their tail on this.

  11. Very well said’ paulrose total agree give us heats and a hundred lap feature ……

  12. Almost as if NASCAR has finally read my mind. I have been saying they should be awarding bonus points every 100 miles ever since they went to the one point per position system. Something needed to be done to perk up the ho-hum first 400 miles.

  13. darealgoodfella says

    Well, I suggested this a couple years ago, and you can find it somewhere in these forums. It will force, or encourage, races within the big race. If a couple cars are close, they will race like it’s “go time”, now three times a race. Should help do away with the silly trigger-finger yellows and other phony yellows to bunch up the field.

    I like it, of course, and I’m curious to see how it plays out. Perhaps some of the purse should be awarded per these intermediate stages too. Like 20% for the first stage, 30% for the second stage, and 50% for the win.

  14. Muddbus461 says

    I saw Brian France at Lowes today here in Volusia,he had a bag of nails with him…….

  15. darealgoodfella says

    Would you prefer these stage gates or “competition” and “debris” cautions?

  16. Great! MORE point system changes in a sport hard enough to learn. Just try to explain the wave around rule to a casual viewer. I like happen to like the endurance (car & driver) required for long races. I also think that “pacing” is a desirable attribute for a race car driver and is learned from experience. Mark Martin knew how to preserve his equipment. There are “short run” & “long run” strategies and, depending on late race cautions, difficult to predict which will prevail.
    As a fan if you want short segment races with action condensed down to 25-50 laps I recommend weekly short track racing.
    Anyway, regardless of the format the #48 team will adapt quickest and still be the favorite to win championship.

  17. All these changes for the betterment of the sport are driving the older most loyal fans away as the way they loved and consumed the sport becomes more unrecognizable with each change. The way it will be spun by the spin doctors is that it is to attract new fans, but my bet is it drives away more older fans than it attracts new ones. That’s why ratings will continue to tank and more seats will go unsold in my humble opinion. The same people who win will continue to win; the races on the 1.5 mile tracks will still be boring for 350 of 400 laps and there will just be more cautions to allow more commercials to air. Yep..That’s just what I asked Brian for. And my math may be off, but other than Daytona most races won’t even have a 40 car field this year and if they do it will just be more back marker teams who you will only see on TV every 25 laps or so when the leader blows by them again.

  18. Fast Eddie says

    Brian, you will still see those strategies play out during the races. A 500 mile race means three 167 mile stages. Even on the shorter races, there will still be unknown cautions and pit stop strategies coming into play; they will still need tires and fuel during those stages. They can’t go 100 miles on 1 tank of gas and 4 tires. Maybe we’ll see less “fuel mileage runs” as well. More racing and less pacing! If you want endurance, check out the Rolex 24, Sebring, or LeMans.

  19. Here is a novel idea. First lets make the cars look like actual cars. Not a one size fits all. Second, lets have a race and on the last lap a winner is clearly defined. Third, you get points for where you ACTUALLY finish. At the end of the season, the driver with the most points wins the championship. Oh wait, thats the formula they used in the 70’s and 80’s. I guess the problem was there were too MANY people going and watching the races.

    Another way for NASCAR to ruin this great sport. UGH

  20. darealgoodfella says

    The problem isn’t the points system. The problem is that there is no intense racing. There is less and less parity. This results in the field getting spread out and no chance for racing. This is why there are so many trigger-finger caution flags, to bunch the field up again and make it look like racing for a lap or two.

    NASCAR has to get rid of the aero packages, downforce, splitters, big spoilers, etc. and get back to racing horsepower, with cars that have to be driven. Get rid of the aero stuff and the cars will be squirmy, and need to be driven like real cars.

  21. Hey Dareal, I agree completely! Have you noticed how many racers get excited talking about racing when they take aero OUT of the cars? And why? BECAUSE IT PUTS THE RACING MORE INTO THE DRIVER’S CONTROL!!! The cars are so equal in horsepower, the only way to win is with technology requiring megabucks. SO… we have the few megabuck teams that do most of the winning, and then everybody else.

  22. The fall Talladega race will be a wreckfest because inevitably someone facing playoff elimination will be in a win each segment or go home situation and drive like there is nothing to lose. Drivers are already outspoken about the increased danger at plate tracks. Now there are 3 chances for “the big one” racing for the checkers.

  23. Well said Dareal, FE & KL. NASCAR needs to fix the racing not the point system. Otherwise they might as well keep tearing down grandstands like they have been doing the last few years.

  24. Andy Boright says

    What I can’t believe is that some of you think the buffoons that came up with this stupid idea are smart enough to keep a short track modified tour healthy and strong.

    There is a solution, but nobody currently working in the NASCAR office will figure it out.

  25. NASCAR talks about POINTS, what about the racing, will it still be NO PASSING, single file crap racing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Wesley chavous says

    I wish NASCAR will get rid of the stage race I want to see racing back like it was

  27. I think cars should look more like the ones we buy at dealerships. Yes, upgrades would be made for safety, etc. but the basic car would be a Camero, Challenger, etc.- not a tube built thing with skin draped over it. Let motors be as big as they want. Let the track determine how fast a car can go and not able to run with foot to floor and wanting more. Cars should run faster than tracks will allow or you’ll wreck. I’d like to see cars that have enough power to pass at will. More road racing tracks implemented would also be great instead of always turning left. The late 60’s and early 70’s style racing where cars looked like the ones at the dealerships was awesome!

  28. Scotty…

    “I think cars should look more like the ones we buy at dealerships. Yes, upgrades would be made for safety, etc. but the basic car would be a Camero, Challenger, etc.- not a tube built thing with skin draped over it.” “More road racing tracks implemented would also be great instead of always turning left. ”

    Join me while I watch the GT classes in IMSA, Pirelli World Challenge, and the TA2 class in TransAm. Come on in, the water’s great!

  29. it looks as if they are trying to model racing after basketball. next thing they will model it after golf just like Connie Kalitta said they were trying to do with drag racing but never succeeded in doing.

  30. As a NASCAR fan going back to the early 70s, and as the son of NASCAR engine builder from the 50s, it is painful to watch greed destroying this sport. That’s all it is. I have renewed my Daytona 500 tix for the last time. After nearly 45 years going to Daytona, Feb 2018 will be my final trip. You folks can have it. Millionaire crybaby drivers, mindless rules, 40 car IROC fields (my dad predicted this in the early 80s), transforming racing into motorized football (how dumb is that), a CEO who doesn’t even like racing, DULL tv announcers (keep Mike Joy, fire eevrybody else), etc, etc, etc. I made the switch to NHRA in the late 80s, but innovation in the pro categories is a bad word (not in the sportsman classes, thank goodness). It does seem the best racing you can find is at your local short tracks.

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing