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The Art of Racing 3-3
Format a smashing success
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After all was said and done, NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell said the sanctioning body was pleased with its new segment format.
I’m not sure the team owners felt the same way. Yes it was Daytona and damaged cars are to be expected, but over 90 percent of the Truck Series, XFINITY Series, and Monster Energy Cup series cars suffered lots of damage. With the new format of stage racing, there were basically three races within each race and drivers raced aggressively during each stage. This was exactly what NASCAR was hoping for.
Kurt Busch survived the demolition derby and won his first NASCAR Cup Daytona 500. With most of the race favorites out of the race because of crashes, Busch raced past Kyle Larson on the last lap when Larson ran out of fuel. That would be the only lap Busch would lead the entire race. 
The first 100 laps were relatively clean until Kyle Busch cut a tire sending Erik Jones, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and himself to the garage and out of the race. On lap 127, Jimmy Johnson got spun into the path of more than a dozen cars creating the second red flag.
Twenty-five cars finished the race but only a handful finished unscathed. When Busch’s car goes into the Daytona Museum, as all 500 winning cars do, it will be full of dents and held together with tape. This win was a great way for Tony Stewart to start his retirement. He never won a Daytona 500 race as a driver but now has a victory as a team owner. Busch received 5 playoff points for the win.
Stage winners in the Cup series were Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. Each driver received 1 playoff point for their efforts while the top 10 in each stage received championship points based on their order of finish.  Championship points are used for the standings to determine who qualifies for the playoffs. You have to be in the top 30 to be eligible for the playoffs.
Many new rules are in place for the 2017 season. Some of them were enforced during the weekend causing speculation some are extremely unfair. In the XFINITY race, Austin Dillon had one set of Goodyear tires taken away when his team rubbed an illegal substance on his quarter panel. During the Duals, Kyle Larson was parked for having too many men over the wall for repairs.
If a damaged car is in the pits, crews have only 5 minutes for repairs and get the car up to minimum speed. If they fail, the car is eliminated from the race. If a damaged car goes to the garage for repairs, that car is eliminated from the race. NASCAR wants aggressive driving, which can result in damaged cars, so it should be more lenient in the number of crewmen over the wall. Of course you have the safety of crewmen in the pits, so the argument goes both ways.