NASCAR Announces Changes for 2017
NASCAR dropped the green flag on the 35th annual NASCAR Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday night with a blockbuster announcement, regarding the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR XFINITY Series, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
In an effort to increase a sense of urgency and emphasizing aggressive racing and strategy, the race format will deliver more dramatic moments over the course of an entire race and season, with playoff point incentives on the line throughout.
"I applaud NASCAR for making changes that will bring more exciting racing and will improve the overall on-track experience for our fans," said David McGrath, executive vice president and general manager at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "We are always looking to improve the fan experience and raise the bar in motorsports entertainment, and this is another step in that right direction. It is an exciting time to be a NASCAR fan and I can't wait for the race season to kick off next month, bringing us a few months closer to our July and September race weekends."
A look at some of the highlighted changes:
• 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 nine 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.
NASCAR also announced a playoff bonus structure that will see the regular season points leader honored as the regular season champion, earning 15 playoff points that will be added to the driver's playoff reset of 2,000. In addition, the top-10 drivers in points leading into the playoffs will receive playoff points, with second place receiving 10 playoff points, third place will earn eight points, fourth place will receive seven points, and so on. All playoff points will carry through to the end of the Round of 8.