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FAQ for NASCAR's 2017 race format enhancements
RELATED: Full coverage of announcement " Official NASCAR press release Editor's note: Stage 1 for the Daytona 500 will end on Lap 60, Stage 2 will end on Lap 120 and Stage 3/race conclusion is slated to end on Lap 200. NASCAR's race enhancements announced Monday detailed how and why races will be run in stages in 2017. Below are answers to some of the potential questions. How many stages are in a race? Three -- Stage 1, Stage 2 and the Final Stage. Stage 1 and Stage 2 will reward drivers who are leading, or in the top 10, at the conclusion of each stage. The Final Stage will determine the race winner. What is Stage 1? The green flag begins the race, and therefore Stage 1. Its length is approximately 25-30 percent of the event's total length -- it is different for each race, dependent on track size and race length -- with the ending marked via a stage checkered flag (the stage can end under caution, if necessary). Who benefits most? Drivers who are running first through 10th at the conclusion of Stage 1 will receive stage bonus points, starting with 10 points for first place, nine points for second place, down to one point for 10th place. Additionally, the driver who finishes Stage 1 first will receive one playoff point to carry into the postseason, should that driver qualify. Those can add up quickly over the course of a season. What about Stage 2? At the conclusion of Stage 1, there is a caution period for drivers to come down pit road (innovative strategies will be crucial under these enhancements.) Stage 2 will then begin with a drop of the green flag for the restart. Its length is approximately 25-30 percent of the event's total length -- it is different for each race, dependent on track size and race length -- with the ending marked via a stage checkered flag (the stage can end under caution, if necessary). What about Stage 2 bonus points? Same as Stage 1: Drivers who are running first through 10th at the conclusion of Stage 2 will receive stage bonus points, starting with 10 points for first place, nine points for second place, down to one point for 10th place. Additionally, the driver who finishes Stage 2 first will receive one playoff point to carry into the postseason. What about the final stage? Following another caution period, which gives fans another natural break in the action, the final stage begins with another green flag drop and restart. Drivers then race for the event win ... and the five bonus points that come with it. How are points distributed? The final stage produces the race results, so the end of the final stage is the end of the race. Whoever crosses the start/finish line first at the checkered flag is the race winner. Race points are then awarded to the entire field based on finishing order. The winner receives 40 points. Second place receives 35 points, third place receives 34 points, fourth place receives 33 points ... down to one point for drivers who finish 36th-40th. The maximum points a driver can earn in a race is 60 (40 for the race win plus 20 points for winning both stages). There no longer will be a bonus point for leading a lap, or a bonus point for leading the most laps. And the winner? The race winner receives five bonus points toward the postseason (this is up from three last year under the new enhancements), plus postseason eligibility. If a driver leads at the end of both Stage 1 and Stage 2, and then wins the race, then he or she would receive seven bonus points to carry into the postseason. For which series were these enhancements designed? The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series , the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will all use this enhanced format. By rewarding hard racing through the duration of the season, will there be an official regular-season champion? Yes, there formally will be a regular-season champion. That driver will earn 15 additional playoff points to carry into the postseason. Any more bonus points for points standings at the end of the regular season? Yes. In addition to the regular-season champion, drivers who finish in the top 10 of the regular season all receive some measure of playoff points to take into the postseason. Here's the breakdown: First place in regular season points earns a driver 15 playoff bonus points in addition to the points earned with race or stage wins; second place earns 10 playoff points; third place, 8; fourth place, 7; fifth place, 6; sixth place, 5; seventh place, 4; eighth place, 3; ninth place, 2; 10th place, 1. In this enhanced format, when is a race official? At the conclusion of Stage 2. How does the postseason work? Once the postseason begins, points will be reset to 2,000 for the opening round, with each driver's accrued bonus points tacked onto that total. Four drivers still will be eliminated in each round of the postseason, setting up a final four in Miami for all three national series. What is the tweak for playoff points? Playoff points earned for race wins or for leading at the end of Stage 1 or Stage 2 now will carry over round-by-round if a driver continues advancing. It's not just for the first round any more. Additionally, drivers can build off and add to those bonus points. So if a driver has 70 playoff points heading into the postseason, and then wins the playoff opener (five-point bonus), he or she would advance to the next round and carry 75 additional points -- or more, depending on his or her results over the next two races in the round. Does winning a race in the postseason still automatically qualify that driver for the next round, regardless of points? Yes. Winning trumps all. Will bonus points still carry over to Miami? No. Miami is the exception. All four drivers competing for the championship will start with the same amount of points. There will be no bonus points for this race for those final four drivers. First to the line wins the title.
How NASCAR driver points are awarded per race
Under the charter system that was established in 2016, NASCAR's premier series events have 40 cars in the field. Each finishing spot in the field earns a driver points, from a maximum of 40 points to the driver who finishes first, down to one point for the driver who finishes 40th. These points accrue over a season and determine the driver standings, as well as the owner standings. New for 2017 is the addition of three stages to every points-paying race. Drivers can earn race points through their performances in Stage 1 and Stage 2. Drivers who are running first through 10th at the conclusion of Stage 1 and/or Stage 2 will receive points, starting with 10 points for first place, nine points for second place, down to one point for 10th place. Points earned in those two stages are then added to what drivers earn after the Final Stage, which sets the full race results. Points are accumulated over each of the 36 races. There is a reset for the 16 drivers in the playoffs after the regular-season finale at Richmond, the series' 26th race of the season. There are additional points resets in the postseason after the completion of each three-race postseason round. Additionally, a driver can earn bonus playoff points for the following: -- Five playoff points to the race-winning driver -- One playoff bonus point to the driver who wins Stage 1 and/or Stage 2 in every event Those points are added on to a driver's total once the postseason starts. The accumulated playoff points will carry over at the start of the Round of 16, Round of 12 and Round of 8. Other key items to know: • The driver who starts the race receives the points; a relief driver does not earn points. • Bonus points are not awarded in the final race of the season to the Championship 4 drivers. Below is a look at how a driver earns points based on finishing position at the end of the Final Stage.
NASCAR checks in to Hotels for Hope
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR announced today a multi-year partnership with Hotels for Hope designating the company as the "Official Hotel Booking Partner of NASCAR ®." Hotels for Hope, a hotel inventory brokerage with a philanthropic business model, services large scale consumer events across the country and will now include NASCAR race weekends. As part of the partnership, a landing page on NASCAR .com ( www. nascar .com/hotels ) launches today, allowing the industry and fans to book hotels for upcoming race weekends through its "Raceday Hotels by Hotels for Hope™" platform. For each actualized room night booked through Hotels for Hope, one dollar will be donated to The NASCAR Foundation. "There's really nothing like attending a NASCAR race and partnering with Hotels for Hope will provide our fans with a convenient and streamlined process to book travel," said Chad Seigler, NASCAR vice president of business development. "Hotels for Hope drives awareness and funds for notable charitable organizations and we are proud that The NASCAR Foundation will be represented among them." Hotels for Hope's database of over 600,000 hotel partners are utilized across a wide variety of events including music festivals, food and wine festivals, business conferences, trade shows, and more. With custom branded solutions and room block management, Hotels for Hope's technology will fulfill the hotel accommodations for any type of event. "Hotels for Hope's industry leading technology uses hotel reservations as a vehicle to raise awareness and support nonprofit partners, including The NASCAR Foundation," said Neil Goldman, Hotels for Hope CEO and founder. "Servicing NASCAR .com and the fans allows us to reach a larger audience, and to drive more bookings with meaning through this sport." Similar to The NASCAR Foundation, Hotels for Hope's mission is to improve the lives of children worldwide. All the nonprofits on its preferred list work to help children live happier and healthier lives. The NASCAR Foundation is committed to making children's health and medical needs a top priority. "The NASCAR Foundation is rooted in improving the life and health of children," said Nichole Kreiger, The NASCAR Foundation acting executive director. "We are thrilled to be working with an Official Partner that has the same commitment, and look forward to making an impact together." Through the Speediatrics Children's Fund, the Foundation supports needs for hospitals, clinics, and other organizations providing children's medical care. Since its inception, more than one million children in need have been aided. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season will continue with the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
NASCAR announces race package for XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Indianapolis Teams competing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this year will do so with a race package that incorporates three major modifications aimed at one goal -- improved competition at the legendary 2.5-mile speedway. Designed specifically for the 100-lap race scheduled for July 22, the modifications consist of a taller rear spoiler and splitter package; aero ducts on the lower front bumper area; and a 7/8th-inch restrictor plate currently used for superspeedway events at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. The static ride height of the cars will remain at 4 inches, which is unchanged from the current 2017 rules package. The Indy package was crafted after much in-house simulation and development and then field-tested on Oct. 12 at IMS for verification. XFINITY Series teams from Richard Childress Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and Kaulig Racing participated in the test. "We (develop) the analytical package and come to some conclusions," Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR Senior Vice President, Innovation and Racing Development, told NASCAR .com. "But then we also need to go on the track and verify this. So this approach has been a two-step approach, analytical creation of the package and then on-track verification. "We race at 29 tracks (across all three national series) and they're all very special," Stefanyshyn added. "Indianapolis has a long history; it's a wonderful track. Our objective is to give our fans the best possible show we can. We are very proud of being able to participate at Indy; we want to put our best foot forward. We believe we have come up with a package that gives us the best opportunity to do that." MORE: IMS announces updated race weekend schedule Stefanyshyn said officials had teams run various packages during the test. While the use of the restrictor plates enabled the cars to run closer together, the ability to pull out and pass remained difficult. "We saw the cars were closer together, but we weren't able to create some passing until we introduced the aero ducts," he said. "That's the main purpose of the ducts, to give the trailing car more of an advantage … we always hear about clean air and how the leader has clean air. Our objective here is to try to give the trail car more benefit." Without the aero ducts, cars running down long straightaways such as those at IMS hit a wall of air, which creates "a significant horsepower deficit" when they get within approximately one car-length of the lead car, Stefanyshyn said. The aero ducts direct air in through the existing brake ducts and out through the wheelhouse on each side. The high speed air flowing out creates a larger hole or "envelope" for the trailing car. Use of the aero ducts should increase the amount of horsepower differential for the trailing car by approximately 25 percent. "We're giving the driver more momentum from four-five car lengths back, gaining coming into within half a car length; when he gets right into that bubble, he's still got to cross through it, but he's carrying momentum and he can break through it," Stefanyshyn said. Stefanyshyn said incorporation of the package isn't "a slam dunk," but studies and testing have thus far validated the changes. "Our belief is that we will create a situation where they can pass on the straightaways," he said. "That's been done analytically, it's been done with three cars. The question is when we turn 40 cars loose on the track can that still manifest itself and that's still what we’re hoping will happen." Speeds likely won't vary greatly with the new package, and the use of restrictor plates isn't expected to generate the big packs of traffic on the track similar to what typically is seen at Daytona and Talladega. Stefanyshyn said it's more likely that there will be several groups of five or six cars each, "and in each of those groupings we're hoping to see passing on the straightaways." The XFINITY Series has competed at IMS since 2012, and the lack of passing on the big, flat track has been a concern for NASCAR and speedway officials. Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) led more than half the laps in winning the last two XFINITY Series races at Indy and he led 92 of 100 when he won the race in 2013. Dale Earnhardt Jr. addressed the racing package this week during his weekly Dale Jr. Download podcast. Earnhardt Jr. competes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports. He is also co-owner of JR Motorsports, which fields four full-time teams in the XFINITY Series. "I'm curious to see (the changes)," he said. "I think NASCAR sees this as an idea on how fix racing in general at Indianapolis." According to NASCAR officials, there currently are no plans in place to utilize the package at any other venue or in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary See all of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victories.
Dash 4 Cash 101: What you need to know
The NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash has an updated format for 2017 with the implementation of stages in each race of the series' 33-event circuit. Stage 1 and Stage 2 will determine which four drivers are eligible in the main race for the Dash 4 Cash prize, and a $100,000 check for each event. MORE: Fast facts: How the stages work Here is a quick rundown of how the format works. THE RACES Phoenix Raceway (March 18) Bristol Motor Speedway (April 22) Richmond International Raceway (April 29) Dover International Speedway (June 3)
What it's like to be a NASCAR interior specialist
In the third instalment of the Mobil 1 "Our Normal Drives" video series on NASCAR .com, the Official Motor Oil of NASCAR gives fans a look at a "normal" day for two Stewart-Haas Racing interior specialists. Check out how Kyle Anderson and Justin Peiffer work behind the scenes with drivers. Watch today's video, which is part of NASCAR Inside Track presented by Mobil 1 , then come back throughout the season for more in-depth looks at NASCAR from Mobil 1.
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