NASCAR’s premier series is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and the new format changes to each race include:
• At the end of the race, the winner will get 40 points, and second through 35th will be awarded points on a 35-to-2 scale. Those finishing 36th to 40th will be awarded one point. There will be no bonus points for leading a lap or leading the most laps.
• NASCAR will award points to the top-10 drivers (on a 10-to-1 scale) at the end of each of the first two stages. The number of laps for each of the first two stages will be the same (and won’t change if the caution comes out), and the end of the second stage will be approximately at the halfway point of the race. If it rains, a race would be official after the second stage.
• Drivers will now carry bonus points — called “playoff points” — throughout the entire playoffs (instead of just the first round) when the points get reset. Drivers will earn five playoff points for every race win and one playoff point for every stage win. The top-10 drivers in the standings in the regular season also earn additional playoff points on a 15-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale. Drivers will continue to accumulate points throughout the playoffs and carry all the points earned during the year into each of the first three playoff rounds.
• Qualifying for the playoffs remains the same — the regular-season champion and 15 drivers based on wins (with ties broken by points) will get into the playoffs, as long as they are in the top 30 in the standings.
• The playoffs will remain divided into three three-race rounds, with four drivers eliminated after each round to set up four finalists for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Drivers automatically qualify into the next round with a win in that playoff round, and the remaining spots will be filled via the point standings. At Homestead, the top-finishing driver (among the four finalists) at the end of the race wins the title.
• The race purse will be paid at the final stage.
• The 150-mile qualifying races at Daytona will be worth points to the top-10 drivers on a 10-to-1 scale (just like a race stage), but the winners do not get bonus points for the playoffs.
• NASCAR won’t allow teams to replace body panels during a race, and teams will have additional limitations on crash repair that likely will mean most drivers who have to go to the garage won’t return for that race.
• The NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will also incorporate these changes into their race events.