NASCAR Cup race formats to undergo significant changes for 2017

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NASCAR Cup race formats to undergo significant changes for 2017
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Jan 22, 2017, 5:09 PM

NASCAR on Monday night is set to unveil a series of changes to the format of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races that will vastly alter the process in which drivers are awarded points throughout races and the season, Motorsport.com has learned.

Start: Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet leads
Start: Carl Edwards, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota leads
Drivers go four-wide to salute the fans before the start
Race action
Race action
Race action

The crux of the changes will focus on dividing each race of the entire season into segments – typically three, multiple sources confirmed.

In general, the system will work as follows:

  • Teams will know before the season begins how each race will be divided, which will be based on race and track length.

  • At the end of each segment during the races, bonus points will be awarded for those drivers running in the Top 10.

  • During the segment breaks, there will be coordination between NASCAR and the TV networks to ensure as little on-track action (including pit stops) will be missed as possible.

  • At the end of the race, the normal points will be awarded to the finishing order of the race as they have been.

  • A driver’s total for the event will include the normal race finish points plus any top-10 running bonus points collected in the segments.

  • The 10-race Chase for the championship will be conducted in most part as it has, but there is expected to be an opportunity for drivers to earn bonus points during the Chase.

This list is not all-encompassing and some details are still being finalized over the weekend, sources said.

Monday night’s announcement is not expected to address any possible changes to how races will be officiated – a topic which will be addressed at another time before the season begins next month.

Cup driver Brad Keselowski said the Cup series drivers' council played an important role in NASCAR's race format changes.

"I would say it's been fairly involved but I think you're going to see a very collaborative effort tomorrow," Keselowski said Sunday at an NMPA function at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Concord, N.C.

Asked if the drivers are behind the changes as a group, he said, "I think so. I can't speak for every driver but there certainly was a very high amount of collaboration."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Author Jim Utter
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