An FAQ To NASCAR’s New Rules
For their debut year the sponsor of NASCAR's premier series, Monster Energy is debuting along with a...monstrous...new points system.
The new format has left many fans shaking their heads and reaching for calculators. Below, we present a bit of an FAQ so you know exactly how this whole thing works come green flag at Daytona on Sunday...
What's the deal with the points?
New main series sponsor, new points system. It feels like NASCAR's point system has changed more often than the NFL's definition of a catch, and a new format goes into effect starting with Sunday's Daytona 500.
Simply put, if you win the race, you earn yourself 40 points at that moment. 2nd place gets 35 points, 3rd place earns 33, with each subsequent declining spot earning one point less, though position 36th-40th all earn a single point each.
How do the new stages play a factor?
New to NASCAR this season are the introduction of race stages. Races will now be split into three portions, split into differently numbered portions. Typically, one stage will be longer than the others. For example, for today's Daytona 500, the first two stages will consist of 60 laps each, before a final 80 lap stretch will conclude the race. Winners of each stage will be rewarded with 10 points each, down to nine for the runner-up, again decreasing by a point each to 10th place, who will earn a single point. Should a driver not only win the race, but also win each of the first two stages, he or she will receive 60 points, the maximum number of points attainable under the new system.
What are "playoff points"?
Playoff points will be stored into a hypothetical "bank", to be cashed in when NASCAR's playoffs (formerly known as the "Chase for the Sprint Cup") begin in the fall. For each win, a driver earns five playoff points, with the number of playoffs points determining the seeding for the opening round. The regular season champion, the driver leading after the first 26 races of the season, will also receive a friendly bonus in the form of 15 playoff points, offering a somewhat sizable advantage as the "top seed". 16 drivers will reach the newly minted playoffs, with winners of races earning a de facto lock with their victories, as long as they are in the Top 30 in points, reflecting the old Chase system. Should more than 16 drivers win, the tiebreaker will be overall points. Likewise, if there are less than 16 winners, the winless drivers with the most points will be invited.
Though The Chase Is No More, Will The Playoffs Follow The Elimination Format?
Yes. Four drivers will be eliminated after three race intervals, until four remain for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Much like the old Chase format, the top finisher among the four contenders will earn the Cup Series title.
Do drivers still earn anything for leading a lap/leading the most laps?
No. Previously, drivers earned a bonus point for leading at least one lap, and an extra bonus point for leading the most laps. This reward has been done away with.
Is this format used at all levels, or just the Cup Series?
The three major levels of NASCAR...the Monster Energy Cup Series, the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series...will adopt this format.
According to the standings, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin lead. How can this be when not one lap of the 500 has been run yet?
For the first time since 1971, the Can-Am Duel races, traditionally held on the Thursday before the 500, offered points toward the championship. These 150 mile races, which usually served only the purpose of officially setting up the field for Sunday's main event, offered 10 points to the winner of each event, 9 points to the 2nd place finisher, subsequently decreasing by one, ensuring that all Top 10 finishers would receive at least one point prior to main race. As winners of the Duels on Thursday night, Elliott and Hamlin are the current leaders of the Cup Series standings.
For further questions/answers, tweet @GeoffMags5490 and keep the conversation
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