As NASCAR prepares for a new season, they have announced even more changes for the competition.
Over the past few years NASCAR has strived for more parody between the different car manufacturers. The result has been less on track competition between the drivers.
In an effort to increase the on track competition and encourage more aggressive racing, NASCAR began to focus more on awarding drivers who won the races.
Once again NASCAR is changing the points system and race formats to encourage even more competition between the drivers. The new changes will take place across the board in all three racing series.
Speaking on the new racing format NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France said, “simply put, this will make our great racing even better. 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.”
In an effort to increase race strategy, last year NASCAR introduced the 20 minute caution clock for the Camping World Truck Series. And in the Xfinity Series the heat races and main race format has been introduced. NASCAR has taken elements from both of these ideas to create a new format that will have championship implications.
Beginning with the 2017 racing season all races will be divided into three stages with bonus points being awarded to the leader and top 10 drivers at the end of stages one and two. Stage three will determine the winner of the race. The extra points for leading a single lap and leading the most laps has been eliminated.
The leader after each stage will earn bonus points with the winner earning five bonus playoff points. All bonus points will be added to the 2,000 reset points a driver receivers for entering “The Chase” which will continue.
Also new this season is the crowning of a “regular season” champion after the firs 26 races – the regular season – with a playoff bonus of 15 points.
Bonus playoff points earned in races will be awarded and carry over into “The Chase” rounds up until the final round where no bonus points will carry over. Drivers will also earn bonus points for position within the race that can help get them into “The Chase”.
The length of each stage will vary depending on the length of each race – 25 to 30 percent each for stage one and stage two with the remainder of the race of 40 to 50 percent for the final stage.
Each stage end will be signified with a caution flag. As drivers become more aggressive on the track racing for position, there is also more chances for caution flags to come out due to wrecks. And as many drivers and commentators have pointed out caution flags breed caution flags.
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