In a collaborative effort that spanned the entire industry, NASCAR on Monday night unveiled sweeping changes to its three national series and how drivers in each are rewarded for their performance throughout each event and the season.
As Motorsport.com reported on Sunday, each race in all three series – Monster Energy Cup, Xfinity and Trucks – will be divided into three stages, or segments.
During the breaks – which are expected to last about 10 minutes – there will be collaborative effort between NASCAR and the TV networks to avoid missing as much on-track action as possible (including pit stops).
New points system
At the end of each stage, drivers who finish in the Top 10 will be awarded points on a scale from 10 points to one point which will be included in their total from the race.
At the end of each race, the winner will receive 40 points, while second through 35th position will be awarded on a 35 to two-point scale, with all positions 36th and lower to be awarded one point.
Each stage winner will also receive one playoff point and the overall race winner will receive five playoff points – all of which will be carried into the 10-race NASCAR playoff at the end of the season.
Championship no longer known as 'The Chase'
Playoff points can be accumulated throughout the season and the playoffs until the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, when the four finalists will simply race for the win and the highest finisher of the four will be the series championship.
NASCAR will no longer refer to its 10-race playoff as the “Chase,” a term that was developed with its new playoff unveiled in 2004.
“Simply put, this will make our great racing even better,” NASCAR Chairman Brian France said in a statement. “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.”
Other format changes
NASCAR also announced the regular-season points leader will be honored as the regular season champion, and will earn 15 playoff points that will be added to the driver’s playoff reset.
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 so on. All playoff points will carry through to the end of the Round of 8.
The top ten finishers of each Daytona duel race will also earn points that count towards the total for that event.
“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.”
Richard Petty reacts
"Since NASCAR started, there has always been change. The world changes and you have to change with it. This new format just adapts to the current and next generation of fans. It's something to help create more excitement during the races. You have to put on a good race, a good show where people want to watch at home and enjoy coming to the track. Having two additional winning moments is a good step in that direction to keep the drivers competitive and fans excited throughout the race and season.
"As an owner, I'm fine with it. I have the same rules as everyone else. That's fair. We just have to figure out how to be the best under this format."