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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series


NASCAR implements stage-based race format, playoff-point incentives

RELATED: Fast facts on enhancements | Official press release


NASCAR, in collaboration with its industry stakeholders, announced Monday competition format enhancements that will be implemented in all three of its national series -- the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.


The new race format is designed to emphasize aggressive racing and strategy, with the goal of delivering more dramatic moments over the course of a race and season. Monday's announcement came with NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France and NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell sharing the stage with drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin, along with additional team and track representatives. All industry stakeholders collaborated on the format.


"Simply put, this will make our great racing even better," said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman & 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."


Under the new format, races will consist of three stages, with championship implications in each stage. The top-10 finishers in each stage 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 a driver's reset total following the 26th race, if that competitor makes the playoffs.


The structure also ensures that competition will be dialed up throughout the duration of the 26-race regular season, as points for both stage winners and race winners will transfer into the postseason -- and an official regular-season champion will be crownded, and rewarded with 15 playoff points to the driver's playoff reset of 2,000. The stage format also gives fans a pair of natural breaks in the action.


All playoff points will carry through to the end of the third round of the postseason (Round of 8), with the Championship 4 racing straight-up at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the title.


Championship points following the first two stages of each race will be awarded on a descending scale, with the stage winner receiving 10 points, second earning nine points, and so on. The race winner following the final stage will receive 40 points, second-place will earn 35, third-place 34, fourth-place 33, and so on.


In addition, 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.


"These are enhancements that the NASCAR fan has long sought, and the entire industry has worked hard to develop a better racing format for our fans," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "This format puts a premium on every victory and every in-race position over the course of the season. Each point can eventually result in winning or losing a championship."

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