By David G. Firestone
Last week, NASCAR announced that effective in 2017, races would have a new format. Instead of just running a 400 or 500 mile race, the new format states that:
• Races will now consist of three stages, with championship implications in each stage.
• The top-10 finishers of the first two stages will be awarded additional championship points.
• The winner of the first two stages of each race will receive one playoff point, and the race winner will receive five playoff points. Each playoff point will be added to his or her reset total following race No. 26, if that competitor makes the playoffs.
• All playoff points will carry through to the end of the third round of the playoffs (Round of 8), with the Championship 4 racing straight-up at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the title.
• Championship points following the first two stages will be awarded on a descending scale, with the stage winner receiving 10 points, second receiving 9 points, and so on.
• The race winner following the final stage will now receive 40 points, second-place will receive 35, third-place 34, fourth-place 33, and so on.
This is designed to make the races more exciting, and instead of just one race, there are three races in one event. Obviously, old school fans aren’t too happy about this, but let’s be honest, the old way wasn’t working. Race attendance and television ratings are down across the board. What that tells me, and tells most people, is that the on-track product is stale. As I said with the Days of Our Lives Vs. Megyn Kelly column, if the old format was working, NASCAR would go out of their way to defend it. NASCAR is a multi-national, multi-billion dollar corporation. They don’t have to lose money to make you happy.
I’m going to reserve my judgment on the changes themselves until midway through the racing season. I want to see the changes on track, and how the racing is, and then make my decision. This could be a boost that NASCAR needs.
Also this week, I’m going to Tucson for my annual visit. I leave on Friday, and I will return after a week. For that week, I will have a Friday Feature, and a Throwback Thursday, but My Thoughts On, the Tracker, and Paint Scheme Grades will skip a week. I may have a project for The Driver Suit Blog again, but I’m not 100% sure. I hope this works. I’ll see you when I get home.