NASCAR unveils new points system
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Beian France addresses the media regarding a new points system Jan. 23, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)
By AMANDA VINCENT
The yearly NASCAR Media Tour kicked off in Charlotte with a press conference by NASCAR on Monday evening, during which the sanctioning body, along with several NASCAR “stakeholders,” rolled out a new points system, primarily aimed at forcing teams/drivers to race harder throughout the course of races, as opposed to laying back, or taking it easy, until the closing laps of events.
“Simply put, this will make our great racing even better,” NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said. “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.”
The new system, which will be implemented in all three national series — Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Xfinity, and Camping World Truck — with the start of the 2017 season in February at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, will break races into three segments and award points after each segment.
In the Camping World Truck Series, with the implementation of the segmented race format, the caution clock has been eliminated after one season of use.
After the first two segements of predetermined lengths, championship points will be awarded to the top-10 in the running order, with the leader receiving 10, second gets nine, and so on, and so forth. Also, leading the race at the end of one of the first two segments will earn a driver a playoff point.
The final segment of races, though, will be scored much like races were previously, with points awarded for race finishes, such as 40 points for a win. Second, though, instead of previously garnering 39 points, will garner 35, and third will be worth 34 points. The final-five finishers, meanwhile, will receive a point apiece. Bonus points for laps-led and wins no longer will be awarded. Race winners, though, will receive five playoff points.
“These are enhancements that the NASCAR fan has long sought, and the entire industry worked hard to develop a better racing format for our fans,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said. “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.”
Also, the new system will reward a regular season champion, with 15 playoff points going to the driver atop the points standings at the end of the regular season.
Championship points refer to the current points standings, while playoff points will be applied to the standings of the drivers that make the playoffs, formerly known as the Chase. The playoff drivers will be determined in the same way, with winners getting in and the field being filled-out based on the championship points standings at the end of the regular season.
Playoff points throughout the regular season will be applied to start the playoffs and playoff drivers will carry those points from one round to the next, as long as they remain in the playoffs, until the final, one-race round at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
In the finale at Homestead, the highest-finishing driver among the four remaining playoff drivers will be the series champion, just as before.
NASCAR also announced Monday that points will be awarded in each of the Duel races that set the starting grid for the Daytona 500. Wins in those races will not count as race wins, though.