There’s a lot of talk happening around the major changes going on with Formula 1’s new ownership, but F1 isn’t the only major motorsport series experiencing a big shake up right now.
With the 2017 Daytona 500 about a month away, NASCAR just announced some big changes to its racing format for the upcoming season. All three of NASCAR’s national series, including the top-level Monster Energy Cup (formerly Sprint Cup), will see a new way of distributing points to championship contenders.
Each race on the schedule will now be divided into three stages separated by scheduled caution flags, and at the end of each stage championship points will be rewarded to all of the top 10 finishers, regardless of their final finishing position. The top finishing driver for each stage will also receive bonus points to be used in the playoffs (formerly the ‘chase’) should they advance that far. After the first two stages, races will end how they did before with championship points divided among the whole field with extra points and a ticket to the playoffs for the race winner.
The idea is of course to make the racing more competitive and avoid situations where the only real excitement comes during the final few laps of the race. While it will take some time for everyone to become familiar with the new system, initial feedback has been pretty positive.
This isn’t NASCAR’s first attempt at shaking up its competition format. The introduction of the playoffs back in 2004 was already a big departure from a traditional motorsport championship, and NASCAR is hoping this new style of racing will reignite interest and boost TV ratings. I enjoy watching NASCAR races when I can, and I’m very interested to see what happens at Daytona next month.
Who knows – we may soon see F1 developing similar changes in hopes of making its racing more exciting.