• Races will now consist of three stages, with championship implications in each stage.
• The top-10 finishers of the first two stages will be awarded additional championship points.
• The winner of the first two stages of each race will receive one playoff point, and the race winner will receive five playoff points. Each playoff point will be added to his or her reset total following race No. 26, if that competitor makes the playoffs.
• All playoff points will carry through to the end of the third round of the playoffs (Round of 8), with the Championship 4 racing straight-up at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the title.
• Championship points following the first two stages will be awarded on a descending scale, with the stage winner receiving 10 points, second receiving 9 points, and so on.
• The race winner following the final stage will now receive 40 points, second-place will receive 35, third-place 34, fourth-place 33, and so on.
(All content in this article courtesy of MRN Radio, source: http://www.mrn.com/Race-Series/NASCAR-Sprint-Cup/News/Articles/2017/01/NASCAR-Announces-New-Race-Format.aspx)
NASCAR announced enhancements to the race format and points system for the 2017 season during a press conference Monday evening, January 23rd, at the Charlotte Convention Center.
After listening to the fans, industry key stakeholders - teams, drivers and tracks - met to help plan out the new format that is intended to help create more compelling racing early in each race and add additional incentives for competitors during the events.
“Simply put, this will make our great racing even better,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. “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.”
Starting with the season-opening races at Daytona International Speedway, each race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series - will be divided into three stages with no changes to the advertised distance. Each of the first two stages (approximately 25-30 percent of the race distance) will end at the designated lap count regardless of race flag conditions. The four drivers racing for the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in each respective series will not score stage points.
Once stage 1 or 2 ends, which will use an alternate checkered flag, the race will go into caution to allow for a commercial break. Pit road will also be closed at least five laps prior to the stage coming to a completion. For each stage, the top 10 drivers will receive championship points (10 for the winner, 9 for second place, etc.). The winner will also receive one-point for seedings for the playoffs. The driver who takes the checkered flag in the final stage will be the race winner and will also get five points for the playoffs and will receive a total of 40 championship points for the win. Second-place will receive 35, third-place 34, fourth-place 33, and so on. The green-white checkered rule still applies to the final stage.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski were the drivers that participated in the press conference.
"I think the stages, and I think more chances to win, more chances to perform and more spotlights, so I look at races as soon as the plate tracks, especially Talladega, and you might have seen cars that have lagged back in the past," Keselowski said. "You're not going to do that anymore. The single-file, high-line ride out, those days are gone, and I think that's great. We're going to go out there and we're going to race to a new level that we haven't seen before, and I'm really pumped about being a part of that in the future of this sport.
"To me, you look at NASCAR and you look at the way our races were formatted back in the 40s and 50s, it was formatted around endurance, long races, trying to make sure you were there until the end, but today's technology, the teams are just so smart, and if we created motorsports from scratch today, this is exactly how we would have done it, so it's is something I'm very proud of."
The stage points structure will officially start in the Can-Am Duel at Daytona with each race being treated as a stage. However, no bonus points will be issued for playoff seedings and each race winner will not earn a playoff berth.
“Today’s announcement will take NASCAR competition to new levels beginning with Speedweeks,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said. “Race fans will see more can’t-miss moments on the track as every lap of every race is going to impact championships for all three national series. The enhanced format also heightens the importance of the Can-Am Duel At Daytona as the 150-mile qualifying races will now determine both starting positions for ‘The Great American Race’ but also award points that will impact the championship. Today’s news is the product of the industry working together as well as listening to the fans.”
One topic that has been brought up numerous times in the past is awarding the points leader at the conclusion of the regular season. This year that will come to fruition as the driver highest in points following race 26 at Richmond International Raceway will get a 15-point seeding bonus to the 2,000-point base reset. The top-10 drivers in regular-season points also will receive playoff points with second place earning 10 points, third place getting eight points, fourth place obtaining seven points, and so on. All playoff points will carry through to the end of the third round of the playoffs (Round of 8).
"I love the fact that the bonus points or the playoff points will carry through the playoffs all the way to the last round," Earnhardt Jr. said. " So everything you do throughout the season is really going to help you throughout the playoffs. That's a great change."
If weather becomes a factor in the race, the completion of Stage 2 is the marker for it to become official if the race is called.
"Let's take Pocono for this year - so if we got to the conclusion of Stage 2, that would be our rain halfway point where we declare it a full race," said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "If it rained at the conclusion of Stage 2, we would pay out Stage 2 points and then also award all of the race points. If we started the final stage, wherever rain came, then we would pay out the points based on that."
This season, lap leader points will no longer be issued and race wins will have a greater weight than bonus points for playoff seeding.
The caution clock will be eliminated from the Truck Series.
The Chase, which was the name for the NASCAR post-season in previous seasons will now be simply be known as the playoffs.
"I think that for all the folks that have been asking us to get rid of the Chase for years, this is a great day for them," Earnhardt Jr. said.
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Saturday, 3/25 Auto Club Speedway of So. Cal., X-Finity Series 300 3:30pm MRN
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series:
Sunday, 3/26, Auto Club Speedway of So. Cal., Auto Club 400, 2:30pm, MRN
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NASCAR News (courtesy of John Singlar, MRN Radio)
NEXT STOP … AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY … for Sunday’s Auto Club 400, fifth round of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the final stop in the sport’s three-week swing through the western United States. There have been four different winners through the first four Cup races of the year: Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Junior and Ryan Newman. In fact, there have been ten different drivers who have now won the first ten races of the season across NASCAR’s three national series. Ryan Reed, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Justin Allgaier have been victorious in the X-finity Series with Kaz Grala and Christopher Bell winning in the Camping World Truck Series … Hendrick Motorsports leads all teams with ten Cup Series victories at A-C-S, three more than its nearest challenger (Roush Fenway Racing) … A sunrise service will kick off race day in Fontana on Sunday morning that will include a performance by “Harper Still” featuring two-time Grammy nominee and Christian singer Jamie Grace, with her sister Morgan Harper Nichols. The service will begin at 7:15 a.m. (local time) on the main stage in the track’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Fan Zone. It’s free and open to all Auto Club 400 ticket holders.
THE NASCAR X-FINITY SERIES … also competes on the Fontana, California, oval with Saturday’s Service King 300. Seven drivers have signed up to run both the Cup and X-finity Series races on the two-mile Southern California oval: Kyle Busch, Ty Dillon, Erik Jones, Corey LaJoie, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and Paul Menard … NASCAR announced Thursday that it will incorporate a different rules package for the July 22nd X-finity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It includes use of a restrictor plate, a larger spoiler and front splitter, and creation of ducts to allow air to flow out of the front wheel wells. The intent is to promote more passing and tighter competition on the two-point-five-mile oval. The package is the result of a test session at the track last fall along with in-house simulation and design. The last two X-finity Series races at Indy have only produced ten lead changes combined.
THE CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES … has been idle since March 5th and returns to competition on Saturday, April 1st, with the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway. It’ll be the first short-track race on the 2017 schedule after opening the season at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch won last year’s spring event on the Virginia half-mile.
► With a seventh-place finish last weekend at Phoenix Raceway, Daniel Suarez of Joe Gibbs Racing took over first place in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He holds a one-point edge over Erik Jones, who placed eighth in the Camping World 500. Ty Dillon, Corey LaJoie and Gray Gaulding complete this week’s top five.
► In the X-finity Series, William Byron of Junior Motorsports has built a ten-point lead over Daniel Hemric with his fourth-place finish in Phoenix. Cole Custer, Matt Tifft and Spencer Gallagher occupy positions three through five.
► Kaz Grala of G-M-S Racing followed his season-opening victory in Daytona with a fifteenth-place finish March 4th at Atlanta Motor Speedway that enabled him to extend his lead to eight points in the Camping World Truck Series rookie standings. Chase Briscoe and Grant Enfinger are tied for second place with Cody Coughlin and Noah Gragson rounding out the top five.
TRACK INFORMATION: Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, is a two-mile oval with fourteen degrees of banking in the turns, eleven degrees on the frontstretch and three degrees along the backstretch. The length of the frontstretch is thirty-one hundred feet, the backstretch twenty-five hundred feet.
7th RUNNING OF THE AUTO CLUB 400 CUP SERIES RACE
AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY … Sunday, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Last Year’s Race: Jimmie Johnson charged past Kevin Harvick coming out of an overtime restart and pulled away from the field, becoming the first repeat winner of the 2016 season. Johnson’s margin of victory was three-quarters of a second over Harvick, giving Chevrolet a sweep of the top two spots. Denny Hamlin came home third with Joey Logano and Ricky Stenhouse Junior completing the top five. Johnson started nineteenth and led just twenty-five laps, including the final two trips around the two-mile Southern California oval. Sunday’s race was extended five laps beyond its scheduled distance due to a late caution brought about when Kyle Busch shredded a right-front tire. That was the last thing Harvick wanted to see. He had led nearly three-quarters of the laps run to that point and seemed well on his way to a second straight victory on NASCAR’s three-race swing through the western United States, having won the previous weekend at Phoenix Raceway. Instead, Harvick settled for second place behind Johnson – who notched his seventy-seventh Cup Series win and sixth at A-C-S.
Track Position in Fontana: Fourteen of the twenty-seven Cup Series races run have been won from a starting position of ninth or better. Seven winners have come from twentieth or worse … Winning From the Pole at Fontana: Just one of twenty-seven Cup Series races has been won from the pole position: by Johnson in August 2008 … Track Record, Qualifying: Hamlin (Toyota) … 188.511 miles per hour … 38.194 seconds … March 2016 … Track Record, Race Speed: Tony Stewart (Chevrolet) … 160.166 mph … 1 hour, 36 minutes, 39 seconds (shortened seventy-one laps by rain) … March 2012.
Length of Stages in Sunday’s Race: 60-60-80 Laps … Practice Schedule: Friday from 1:30 to 2:55 p.m. (ET) … Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. and 2:30 to 3:20 p.m. (ET) … Qualifying: TODAY at 7 p.m. (ET) … Austin Dillon won the pole last year but finished twenty-fourth in the race.
21st RUNNING OF THE SERVICE KING 300 X-FINITY SERIES RACE
AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY … Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (ET)
Last Year’s Race: Kyle Busch did not win his fourth straight X-finity Series race of the season. But another Cup Series driver – Austin Dillon – did find his way to Victory Lane. Busch had dominated the first month of the 2016 X-finity Series and seemed well on his way to another win but cut a left-front tire after taking the white flag in the lead. With Busch slowing, teammate Daniel Suarez took the lead. But he ran out of fuel, which put Busch back in front ahead of a fast-closing Dillon. As they approached the checkered flag, Busch eased up the track in front of Dillon, who barely squeezed past after slight contact and grabbed the win. It was the fifth victory for Cup regulars in as many X-finity Series races to start the season. Busch, who led 133 of the 150 laps, held on for second place with Darrell Wallace Junior, Suarez and Elliott Sadler completing the top five … Tony Stewart holds the track qualifying record with a lap of 185.941 miles per hour that was set in 2005 … The race record belongs to Hank Parker Junior, who was victorious in April 2001 at a winning pace of 155.957 miles per hour … Chevrolet has won the last three X-finity Series race run at Auto Club Speedway: Dillon with last year’s win, Kevin Harvick in 2015 and Kyle Larson in 2014 … Length of Stages in Saturday’s Race: 35-35-80 Laps … Friday’s Practice Schedule: From 3 to 3:55 p.m. and 5 to 5:55 p.m. (ET) … Qualifying: Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (ET) … Suarez won the pole last year and finished fourth in the race.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Sunday, 4/2, Martinsville Speedway, STP 500, 12 noon, MRN
Saturday, 4/9, Texas Motor Speedway, O'Reilly Auto Parts 500, 12:30pm, PRN
Sunday, 4/23, Bristol Motor Speedway, Food City 500, 1pm, PRN
Sunday, 4/30, Richmond Int'l Raceway, Toyota Owners 400, 6:00 PM, MRN
Sunday, 5/7, Talladega Superspeedway, Geico 500, 12 noon, MRN
Saturday, 5/13, Kansas Speedway, Go Bowling 400, 6:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 5/20, Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR All-Star Race, 8pm, MRN
Sunday, 5/28, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Coca-Cola 600, 5pm, PRN
Sunday, 6/4, Dover Int'l Speedway, AAA 400 Drive for Autism, 12 noon, MRN
Sunday, 6/11, Pocono Raceway, Pocono 400, 2pm, MRN
Sunday, 6/18, Michigan Int'l Speedway, FireKeepers Casino 400, 12 noon, MRN
Sunday, 6/25, Sonoma Raceway, Toyota/Save Mart 350, 2pm, PRN
Saturday, 7/1, Daytona Int'l Speedway, Coke Zero 400, 6:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 7/8, Kentucky Speedway, Quaker State 400, 6:30pm, PRN
Sunday, 7/19, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, New Hampshire 301, 2pm, PRN
Sunday, 7/23, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Brickyard 400, 2:30pm, PRN/IMS
Sunday, 7/30, Pocono Raceway, Pennsyvania 400, 12 noon, MRN
Sunday, 8/6, Watkins Glen Int'l, Watkins Glen 355, 12 noon, MRN
Sunday, 8/13, Michigan Int'l Speedway, Pure Michigan 400, 12 noon, MRN
Saturday, 8/19, Bristol Motor Speedway, Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, 6:30pm, PRN
Sunday, 9/3, Darlington Raceway, Bojangles' Southern 500, 5:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 9/9, Richmond Int'l Raceway, Federated Auto Parts 400, 6:30pm, MRN
Sunday, 9/17, Chicagoland Speedway, Chicagoland 400, 1pm, MRN
Sunday, 9/24, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, New Hampshire 300, 1pm, PRN
Sunday, 10/1, Dover Int'l Speedway, Dover 400, 1pm, MRN
Saturday, 10/7, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bank of America 500, 6pm, PRN
Sunday, 10/15, Talladega Superspeedway, Alabama 500, 1pm, MRN
Sunday, 10/22, Kansas Speedway, Hollywood Casino 400, 1pm, MRN
Sunday, 10/29, Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville 500, 12:30pm, MRN
Sunday, 11/5, Texas Motor Speedway, AAA Texas 500, 1pm, PRN
Sunday, 11/12, Phoenix Int'l Raceway, Can-Am 500, 2pm, MRN
Sunday, 11/19, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Ford EcoBoost 400, 2pm, MRN
NASCAR X-Finity Series
Saturday, 4/8, Texas Motor Speedway, TBD, 1pm, PRN
Saturday, 4/22, Bristol Motor Speedway, Drive to Stop Diabetes 300, 12 noon, PRN
Saturday, 4/29, Richmond Int'l Raceway, ToyotaCare 250, 12:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 5/6, Talladega Superspeedway, Sparks Energy 300, 2:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 5/27, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Heisense 300, 12:30pm, PRN
Saturday, 6/3, Dover Int'l Speedway, Dover 300, 2pm, MRN
Saturday, 6/10, Pocono Raceway, Pocono Green 250, 1pm, MRN
Saturday, 6/17, Michigan Int'l Speedway, Michigan 250, 1:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 6/24, Iowa Speedway, American Ethanol E15 250, 8pm, MRN
Saturday, 7/15, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, AutoLotto 200, 3:30pm, PRN
Saturday, 7/22, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Lilly Diabetes 250, 3pm, PRN/IMS
Saturday, 7/29, Iowa Speedway, U.S. Cellular 250 presented by New Holland, 7:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 8/5, Watkins Glen Int'l, Zippo 200 at the Glen, 1:45pm, MRN
Saturday, 8/12, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Mid-Ohio 200, 2:15pm, MRN
Sunday, 8/27, Road America, Road America 180, 2:15pm, MRN
Saturday, 9/2, Darlington Raceway, VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200, 7:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 9/16, Chicagoland Speedway, Chicagoland 300, 3pm, MRN
Saturday, 9/23, Kentucky Speedway, Visit MyrtleBeach.com 300, 7:30pm, PRN
Saturday, 9/30, Dover Int'l Speedway, Drive Sober 200, 3pm, MRN
Saturday, 10/21, Kansas Speedway, Kansas Lottery 300, 12:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 11/4, Texas Motor Speedway, O'Reilly Auto Parts 300, 8pm, PRN
Saturday, 11/11, Phoenix Int'l Raceway, Ticket Galaxy 200, 3:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 11/18, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Ford EcoBoost 300, 4pm, MRN
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Saturday, 4/1, Martinsville Speedway, Alpha Energy Solutions 250, 2:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 6/17, Gateway Motorsports Park, Gateway 200, 8:15pm, MRN
Saturday, 7/29, Pocono Raceway, Pocono Mountains 150, 12:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 8/12, Michigan Int'l Speedway, Michigan 200, 12 noon, MRN
Sunday, 9/3, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Chevrolet Silverado 250, 1pm, MRN
Saturday, 9/23, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, UNOH 175, 12:30 PM, MRN
Saturday, 9/30, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas 350, 9:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 10/14, Talladega Superspeedway, Fred's 250, 3pm, MRN
Saturday, 10/28, Martinsville Speedway, Alpha Energy Solutions 200, 1pm, MRN
Indy Car Series
Saturday, 4/29, Phoenix Int'l Raceway, TBD, 8:30pm, IMS
Sunday, 5/28, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis 500, 11am, IMS
Saturday 6/10, Texas Motor Speedway, TBA, 8pm, IMS
Sunday 7/9, Iowa Speedway, TBA, 5pm, IMS