Stage lengths, weather policy among NASCAR changes in 2020
Outside of the Cup Series schedule, there aren’t a lot of big changes this season in NASCAR competition but the sanctioning body did outline a few smaller ones on Tuesday.
The biggest change fans will notice is the alteration of stage lengths for 16 races in the Cup series, with the most common difference being a shortening of the third stage.
The overall lengths of races did not change (except for the new doubleheader at Pocono Raceway this season).
The Daytona 500 will now have stages of 65, 65 and 70 laps. The final stage of last year’s race was 90 laps.
“All this does is make it so in the final stage there is more than a couple of lap option for the whole field to pit and it gives a little bit more leeway at the end on fuel should we go into overtime,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition.
Among the changes to intermediate tracks, Atlanta will move to a format of 105/105/115 laps. Last year’s final stage at Atlanta was 155 laps. The final stages at the Cup races at Texas will be 124 laps, compared to 164 last year.
Stage lengths have yet to be set this season for the races at Watkins Glen, Sonoma and the Charlotte Roval.
Among the other changes NASCAR outlined Tuesday at its R&D Center in Concord, N.C.:
- A race will be considered official if it has reached the end of Stage 2, or if more than half of the scheduled distance of the event has been completed, whichever comes first.
- NASCAR remains on schedule to unveil the 2021 Cup Series schedule around April.
- NASCAR plans to take more cars back to its R&D Center following races this season to ensure teams are adhering to its new parts and development rules. The goal remains not to issue penalties from R&D Center reviews.
- NASCAR has decided to utilize the 14-turn version of the road course for the July Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is the version currently used by the IndyCar Series.
- NASCAR says it will start two-car tests of 2021 car in March. However, there likely won’t be any tests with more than two cars until the second half of 2020 season.
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