• 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, 3/4, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Rinnai 250, 1:30pm, PRN
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series:
Sunday, 3/5, Atlanta Motor Speedway Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 1:30pm PRN
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NASCAR News (courtesy of John Singlar, MRN Radio)
NEXT UP: ATLANTA
With Speedweeks 2017 in the rear-view mirror, NASCAR now moves on to Atlanta Motor Speedway … where Jimmie Johnson will seek his third straight victory on the mile-and-a-half Hampton, Georgia, oval in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Monster Energy Cup Series race. No driver has ever won three in a row there since the track first hosted NASCAR in 1960. Rick Hendrick leads all team owners with fourteen wins at A-M-S. The Wood Brothers are second with twelve victories but haven’t won there since 1993 … Chevrolet and Toyota have combined to win the last seven Cup Series races at Atlanta. Ford hasn’t gone to Victory Lane there since 2008 … Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch is bidding to become the first Cup Series driver to open a season with back-to-back victories since Matt Kenseth in 2009.
ANOTHER FULL WEEKEND
Just as it was this past weekend at Daytona International Speedway, the garages will be full in Georgia with the NASCAR x-finity and Camping World Truck Series also running there this coming weekend. In the x-finity Series, Kyle Busch will be seeking his second straight Atlanta victory in Saturday’s Rinnai 250 after snapping Kevin Harvick’s three-race winning streak there last season. Harvick leads all drivers with four victories and hopes to add to that total Saturday. He’s entered in a Tony Stewart-owner Ford … Jack Roush is Number-1 among team owners with seven x-finity Series victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway … The Truck Series has run fifteen races at A-M-S, and Chevrolet and Toyota have combined to win fourteen of them. There have been seven different winners over the last seven races: Harvick, Busch, Ryan Newman, Ron Hornaday, Ty Dillon, Matt Crafton and John Hunter Nemechek, the defending winner of Saturday’s Active Pest Control 200.
► Kaz Grala of G-M-S Racing posted the best finish among rookies in NASCAR’s three top national series that competed this past weekend at Daytona International Speedway, winning Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 Camping World Truck Series opener.
► There were four different stage winners under NASCAR’s new race format across its three national series this past weekend and none of them finished in the top ten overall in their respective events. Johnny Sauter won two stages in the Truck Series opener but finished fifteenth in the race. Likewise, Elliott Sadler won the first two segments of Saturday’s x-finity Series race but was twenty-fourth in the final running order. Stage winners Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick in Sunday’s Cup Series race placed thirty-eighth and twenty-second, respectively, in the Daytona 500.
ON THIS DATE
February 28th, 1960: Richard Petty claimed the first of his record two hundred Cup Series wins with a victory in a two hundred-lap, one hundred-mile race at Charlotte Fairgrounds Speedway, a half-mile dirt track in North Carolina. “The King” retired in 1992 and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in May 2010.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Sunday, 3/12, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kobalt Tools 400, 2:30pm, PRN
Sunday, 3/19, Phoenix Int'l Raceway, Camping World 500, 2:30pm, MRN
Sunday, 3/26, Auto Club Speedway of So. Cal., Auto Club 400, 2pm, MRN
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, 12 noon, 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, Hellman's 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, 3/11, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Boyd Gaming 300, 3:30pm, PRN
Saturday, 3/18, Phoenix Int'l Raceway, DC Solar 200, 3:15pm, MRN
Saturday, 3/25 Auto Club Speedway of So. Cal. Auto Club 300 4:30pm MRN
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, 3pm, 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, 3/4, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Active Pest Control 300, TBD, 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