Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Reveals Changes to Race Formats in 2017

NASCAR announced Monday (Jan. 23) in a press conference significant changes to the method in which points will be earned during Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series races in 2017.

All points paying events will divided into segments or stages. The number of stages will vary based on the venue and length of the event. However, teams will know prior to the start of the season how each race will be segmented. Bonus points will be awarded to the top 10 drivers in the running order at the conclusion of the first and second stages. The leader will get 10 points and each following position will decrease by one, with 10th place getting one bonus point.

Additionally, the caution flag will be displayed at the end of each stage. NASCAR will work with television networks in an attempt to coordinate commercial breaks to occur primarily during segment breaks. This will serve to allow viewers to see as much on track activity as possible, including pit stops.

As for the final stage, little will change at the end of the race. Points will still be awarded for finishing positions just as they were in 2016. The winner will get 40 points on down to one point for the 40th-place finisher. A driver’s point total for each race will consist of the points earned for their position at the end of the event, plus any bonus points earned during previous segments.

Points for leading a lap or leading the most laps have been eliminated.

There will be no changes to how drivers qualify for the 16 openings in the chase. A win still earns a berth for a driver in the top 30 in points after Richmond in September.

However, stage wins and race wins will provide additional points for drivers in the playoffs. The top 10 will be issued playoff points prior to the Chase beginning after Richmond International Raceway in September. A stage win will be worth one playoff point. Race wins will be worth five playoff points. These bonuses will carry through the first three rounds and continue to build through the playoffs.

“This truly was a collaboration, a lot of give and take.” said NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell. “Ultimately, everyone on this stage wanted to do what was right for the fans. This format puts a premium on every victory and every in-race position over the course of the season. Each point can result in winning or losing a championship.”

About the author


Frank Velat has been an avid follower of NASCAR and other motorsports for over 20 years. He brings a blend of passionate fan and objective author to his work. Frank offers unique perspectives that everyone can relate to, remembering the sport's past all the while embracing its future. Follow along with @FrankVelat on Twitter.

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Biff Baynehouse

The ultimate in farcical hyper-complex absurdities, second only to the “chase” format! Brian France is heaven sent …for IMSA, Indycar, F1 & Aussie Supercar racing! And thank God for them, bc Nascar is a NO SALE!


Maybe if they did something like this without eliminating down to 4 for a 1 race “championship” Eliminate the chase and award point in this fashion all year. Most total point wins. They are killing it for me. Skip NASCAR and do locals. Tons of good stuff out there, and much cheaper to attend……

Bill B

I wanted to hate the new system but I gotta say, on the surface, it seems pretty good. It definitely lowers the crapshoot factor as to who makes the final four. If a driver wins 8 races during the regular season, they pretty much get one mulligan race in each of the first 3 rounds. To me, that is very similar to the teams with the best records in the NFL getting a bye in the first week of the playoffs. It will greatly increase the probability that the final four will be those that performed the best over the entire season. So, on the surface it seems like a much fairer way to award the championship. However, I know there will be unintended consequences that no one can envision now, so I will have to wait two seasons before I give it “the jackass seal of approval”.

Will it make the races better or more interesting, probably not but it does get rid of any desire to test after a team gets their first win. They need will need to accumulate as many playoff points as they can.

I will be interested to hear what other fans have to say. I am sure there are some flaws but, at this moment, it seems like an improvement overall to me.

PattyKay Lilley

Bill, my initial impression was the same as yours, as posted on our Forum a short while ago. I can see good and bad. The good might even outweigh the bad, but then there are always those “unintended consequences.” My exact words…
Like you, I will be waiting and watching to see the proof in the pudding, and that story won’t be told at Daytona. Right now, there is so much bitterness afoot, in both young and old fans, I’m not sure this sanctioning body can recover. How long and often can one shoot himself in the foot before losing the ability to walk?
Right now, I’m praying we’re not at that point because of my respect for the past two generations of the France family.


I agree Bill. Kill the Lucky Dog and eliminate the Final Four at Homestead and I’m good with the changes.


This accomplishes two things:
1) Make it almost impossible to attract any new fans because no one will have any clue how to figure this out.
2) Drive off even more of the hardcore fans who held out hope that just once there would be fewer not more gimmicks.

Other than that, job well done Brian and all the suck-up drivers that supposedly contributed to this train wreck.

Biff Baynehouse

Lmao! For WHAT fans? …who? …where? Soccer fans? MLB fans? Martha Stewart & Rachael Ray fans? Motorsports fans do NOT want & did NOT ask for this! Wth? Mind boggling idiocy!


I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at Brian’s “brilliant” solution.

“Ultimately, everyone on this stage wanted to do what was right for the fans.” They haven’t!


just exactly when were the fans surveyed in this? i don’t recall seeing a survey for me to complete. guess i’m not the right demographic. i remember too clearly how it use to be in the “old days”.

Bill B

LOL… I have to agree with you all on that…. it’s not something I asked for. I haven’t heard any other fans clamoring for a more convoluted chase system either. So yeah, that’s just another example of NASCAR insulting their fans.

Personally, I want them to go back to the full season points system, but I still say this is an improvement over what we were/are stuck with. IMO it increases the odds that a drivers that had the best overall seasons will, at least, get a shot at Homestead.


Well They had to shake it up somehow with Monster coming in and the last few years declining attendance and the final 4 joke. I still love this sport but there is no chance in the next 15 years it will return to what it was in the early to mid 2000s. They made too many radical changes and now it’s a snowball effect that they can’t control. Shoulda kept a full season championship, even the 10 race Chase.

Funky D

My youngest son informed me that I once said that the chase was the worst thing that NA$CAR could invent. I don’t know if I said that or just said that it was the worst SO FAR. Either way, they have come up with something even worse!

Do we REALLY want each race to be a replay of the All-Star Winston Busch Clash Unlimited Bud Shootout? I can’t think of a single fan that asked for this. But that is a hallmark of Brian “Brain Fart” France. He doesn’t LISTEN to the fans, he doesn’t listen to dissenting opinion, and he has fooled himself into thinking we love everything he’s done to gimmick up and mess up the sport! He doesn’t know a thing about racing, yet thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room.

Attendance and Tv ratings are down and this will only drive them down further. In a weird sort of way, I’m kinda glad I made the trip to Homestead to bid Smoke adieu. As it turned out, it was Cousin Carl’s last race, and the last “real” NA$CAR race that may ever be run. This year, I can take the money I would have spent on this sport and spend a LOT of time at our local track watching late models.

I don’t believe I am going to waste another dollar on NA$CAR while Brain Fart ruins…err…runs it.

I admire Miss Patty Kay’s optimism, but I can’t see any hope at this point.


The way I see it, I’ll just stick to the short tracks in the area anymore. This just reeks of being so gimmicky. I’ll probably watch the crapshow(s) from Daytona in a few weeks just to see what for crap actually unfolds. After that, I may not give a……………….yes, crap, if a NASCAR race is on during the weekend or not.

a m

33yr fan, this just killed it for me. will not watch this gimmic sideshow catchphrase fest.
hopefully the focus group that came up with this idea can find a way to save Nascar after they go bankrupt.
atlanta fall 92, best race ever. been downhill since 2001 and FOX.


Good Gawwdddd! The man and his greed does not get it, never will. What an ahole. I hold no hope, I am not a fan of gimmicks…never was never will be. Make no mistake, this is yet another distraction and in their minds as a band aid with magical cures. The dumbing down and shiny object distractions continue!


He gets that he can’t go back and say that I screwed up


“points will be awarded to the top 10 drivers in the running order at the conclusion of the first and second stages” Looks like we’ll have THREE LAST LAP RACES in every race. with all the drivers bumping and grinding to get into the top 10 three times per race. I see many many yellow flags and Pis_ed Off drivers coming.


So while most sports are trying to speed up play in their games, NASCAR is actually slowing things down. Races already take 3-4 hours each weekend to watch. This will probably add another 30-45 minutes (if not an hour!) to each race. With the short attention span, fans will only be running AWAY from NASCAR.

Wonder if this change will be the final nail in the coffin for NASCAR? Big Bill would be rolling over in his grave to see what his beloved sport has become because of Brian.


Can you imagine the math wizards in the booth trying to figure out the points during a “race”?


it’s going to baffle dw! and heck his brother can’t count that high.


heh. good point.
anyone still left watching has the new system AND the waltrips to look forward to.

Bill B

But it creates jobs. Every team will need an actuary and a strategist to figure out how to best milk the system.

Richard Adams

I can see why some drivers would like this format. 10/15 laps to go to a necessary fuel stop and the tires are going away faster. “Wow this intermission may have saved me a date with the wall and maybe a concussion or worse.” If it accomplishes that, then ok. Racing has it’s inherent danger which is part of what fans like. I am old school, original Daytona season ticket holder, but gave it up when all the gimmicky stuff started. I generally agree with the majority of the comments here and time will tell. As far a tv is concerned, i would watch or tape every race in the past. The winged wonder going sideways, along with the Waltrip brothers stopped that. It has only gotten worse.


My initial thoughts when this stuff was leaked was “hell no”, but the more I digested it the more sense it makes. It really isn’t that complicated. Instead of bonus points for laps led, bonus points get dished out for being the in the top ten at the end of each segment. The most radical part of it are the preset cautions, but hopefully that leads to less green-flag commercials. I really like that “playoff bonus points” stay with a driver through the playoffs and can bailout a good team that has a bad race. That also reduces the Talladega disaster scenario potential. The days of teams winning early then going to “test mode” are over. They won’t be able to just give up potential bonus points available throughout the season. Also, there will be no Ryan Newman 2014 scenarios, and a winless driver winning the championship is now all but impossible.


“but hopefully that leads to less green-flag commercials”

Good luck with that!!!!

Ron Schwalbe

One HUGE point everyone is ignoring ! NONE of these Race points, playoff points, bonus points, or total WINS- etc – will have ANY bearing whatsoever on who actually wins the so-called – SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP, other than being one of the four –who will STILL have to play the musical chairs farce !!!
ALL those “valuable points–and WINS etc., -are taken away — leaders in those categories STILL get punished.
It’s a goofy, free for all farce with NO one “eliminated – they ALL are still on the track – affecting all the playoff races – – and it is STILL possible … under their new “Calculous system” – to have a driver win EVERY SINGLE segment— Every single race- collect MAXIMUM points etc thruoput the entire season –and STILL NOT—-NOT…. be the Season Champion if he finishes second ( or worse) in the final “Exhibition race” at Homestead — of COURSE it wouldn’t happen but – it –IZ …still POSSIBLE under this mess. NOTHING changed !
What;s the point in all this if it’s all taken AWAY again at the end ???!
Each RACE in itself, could now be more interesting ( as long as I keep a calculator handy) – but – the SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP –is STILL – Totally irrelevant re; total points earned–total wins etc etc NONE of it matters – still just a musical chairs crapshoot –for the C_H_A_M_P_I_O_N_S_H_I_P ! Season wins and season points mean NOTHING expect for the “seeding” –ALL of a drivers season long ACCOMPLISHMENTS –are taken away !

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