With more than two weeks to go before the Daytona 500, there are some BIG changes in NASCAR that have been implemented for all the premium series. The truck series is still called the Camping World Truck Series, the XFINITY Series maintains its name, and the Cup series is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
The major change for all the series is the scoring system. All points-paying events will be divided into three segments, or stages. The number of laps for each segment will vary based on the racetrack and length of the race. The number of laps for the first two stages will be the same and the third stage will consist of the remaining laps of the race. Teams will be informed prior to the start of the season the number of laps in each stage for each race.
Bonus points will be awarded for the first 10 drivers in each of the first two stages and an additional point for the winner of the stage. The leader of the stage will receive 10 points with each following position decreasing by one, with the 10th place finisher receiving 1 point. The points for the 3rd stage (the end of the race), will be scored as in the past with all 40 drivers receiving points.
The Chase will now be called the Playoffs. Fans understand the term “Playoffs” better than the “Chase” as all major sports have playoffs at the end of a season. The format for the NASCAR Playoffs will be the same as in the past few years.
Sixteen teams will advance to the playoffs with a win during the regular season. If there are not 16 different winners during the regular season, the playoff field will be filled by the points standing of the top 30 teams. However, stage wins and race wins will provide additional points for drivers in the playoffs. A stage win will be worth one playoff point while a race win will be worth five playoff points. These bonus points will carry through the first three rounds and continue to build throughout the playoffs.
Trying to keep track of points could be somewhat maddening, but if you follow racing on TV or radio, the announcers will no doubt keep us well informed. Most fans do not appreciate change. In fact, most race fans would rather see NASCAR go back to the early days of racing, but NASCAR executives hope these “enhancements” will improve the racing format for the fans.
Most major sports have implemented changes hoping to improve the fans excitement. Basketball has added the 3-point shot. Baseball has added the designated hitter, and football has added the two-point conversion, so NASCAR hopes its changes will also improve the game.
Since these scoring changes will be implemented in all three of NASCAR’s premium series, we will see how it works as the trucks and INFANITY series will race prior to the Daytona 500.