After its 2017 debut, NASCAR is continuing to try to come up with the magic formula for the new stages format. NASCAR introduced the stage format to create more excitement during the actual race, rather than just saving it for the final lap. The top 10 drivers at each stage are awarded points.
“Our primary goal every season is providing the best race for our fans, and to that end, we will remain consistent in terms of stage lengths for the majority of our national series events,” Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, said in a press release. “Last year’s debut of the race format was a strong one, and we look forward to building on that foundation in 2018, starting with Speedweeks at Daytona.”
The majority of races have two stages prior to the end of the race. NASCAR rewards the top 10 drivers at each stage, so it is possible for a driver to earn as much as 20 points without winning the race. The top driver at each stage also earns a playoff point. According to Jalopnik.com, the Cup series has 26 regular season races leading to 10 playoff races. For perspective, the winning driver earns 40 points each race along with five playoff points. A win puts the driver automatically in the playoffs.
In addition to the tweaks in the stages format, NASCAR has added additional regulations on engines. According to Jalopnik, teams have to use 13 engines for at least two races, leaving 10 races or less for teams to use single-use engines. The hope is this helps level the playing field for race teams on smaller budgets.
Here’s a look at the NASCAR stages along with the points associated for the top 10 drivers at each stage.
NASCAR Stage Points & Positions 2018
The top 10 drivers at each stage are awarded points as the table below shows.
NASCAR Cup Series Stages & Laps 2018
|RACE||STAGE 1||STAGE 2||FINAL STAGE|
|Charlotte||100||200, 300 (Stage 3)||400|
|Las Vegas 2||80||160||267|
NASCAR Overtime Explained
Some of NASCAR’s overtime rules are a bit of semantics as it tries to associate with fans who are familiar with extra-time rules in American team sports. The goal is to prevent races from ending under caution, and laps are added if it is necessary to have a race finish under green.
Here’s how Jalopnik.com explains the NASCAR overtime rules and format.
Basically, if a caution comes out before the white flag flies for the first time in a race to signal the last lap, NASCAR will add laps to the race distance in an effort to clean up the caution and end it under green. That’s when overtime starts.
Overtime means once a race goes past its scheduled distance, drivers restart. Once the leader reaches the overtime line, any caution ends the race. NASCAR changed overtime for the better in 2017, moving the overtime line from the backstretch to the start-finish line.