NASCAR overhauls race and playoff format

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- NASCAR is dramatically changing its format for the upcoming season, cutting every race into stages that reward points in hopes of make every lap matter.

The overhaul announced Monday assigns three stages to every race. The top 10 drivers at the end of Stage 1 and Stage 2 will be awarded points on a 10-through-1 scale.

The third portion of the race will be for the overall victory, and although traditional point scoring will be applied for that stage, the win will be worth 40 points. The rest of the field will be scored on a 35 to 2 scale, and positions 36th to 40 will only receive 1 point.

All points accumulated through the 26-race regular season can be used in the 10-race playoff, which will no longer be called "The Chase."

The new format begins with the Feb. 26 season-opening Daytona 500.

According to Motorsport.com, the system will work as follows:

  • Teams will know before the season begins how each race will be divided, which will be based on race and track length.
  • At the end of each segment during the races, bonus points will be awarded for those drivers running in the Top 10.
  • During the segment breaks, there will be coordination between NASCAR and the TV networks to ensure as little on-track action (including pit stops) will be missed as possible.
  • At the end of the race, the normal points will be awarded to the finishing order of the race as they have been.
  • A driver’s total for the event will include the normal race finish points plus any top-10 running bonus points collected in the segments.
  • The 10-race Chase for the championship will be conducted in most part as it has, but there is expected to be an opportunity for drivers to earn bonus points during the Chase.
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