The 2017 NASCAR season brought about a whole new points system. Although at first it was harshly received by the racing community, now most fans can agree that this new system has given us more intense racing.
Points are gathered throughout the 26 races of the regular season. Right before the first Playoff race, which is at Chicagoland Speedway, the points are reset for the 16 drivers competing for the Championship. If a driver fails to advance through the rounds, what ever they finished in for their final round will determine their overall place for the season.
There are two types of points given during the race; Championship and Playoff points. With each race drivers are given points depending on where they place in the first two stages and depending on where they place at the end of the race.
Drivers wont see these points until the postseason. If/when a driver makes it to the Playoffs, these points will carry over to each race and through each round of the playoffs.
After the Championship Four is decided all points are cleared, including Playoff points. Points don’t matter in the final race at Homestead-Miami because whichever of the Championship Four crosses the finish line first, wins the championship, regardless of whether or not they win the actual race.
STAGE WINNER: One Playoff point is awarded to the winner of each stage
RACE WINNER : Five Playoff points are awarded to the winner of the race
Taking a step away from the different types of points, lets talk about the Playoff Grid. Introduced before the 2014 season, the Playoff Grid (formerly known as the Chase Grid) was created to make the competition for the championship more fierce. There are four rounds of racing in the playoffs. If a Playoff driver wins a race during the postseason, they will automatically advance to the next round. The remaining spots will be determined based on points. Points are reset at the end of each round, except for Playoff points which will carry over. Below are the four Playoff rounds and which races are in each round.
When a driver wins a race in the regular season, they are automatically given a spot in the Playoffs. If there are not 16 winners in a season, the remaining spots will be filled based on points. For example, last season, 2016 Rookie of the Year, Chase Elliott, didn’t win a race, but still managed to snag a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup (NASCAR changed the name of the postseason when they changed the race format, it is now known as the Playoffs). Although Chase didn’t make it past the Round of 12, he did pretty well on points alone. It will be interesting to see who makes the Playoffs this year based on points.
ROUND OF 16
- New Hampshire
ROUND OF 12
ROUND OF 8
These are the second type of points and change throughout the regular race season. These could determine if a driver will make the Playoffs or not, especially if they don’t win a race during the season. Drivers can move around in points standings if they finish well in a stage and race or if themselves or another driver is penalized and loses points. For example, if drivers are found with three or more unsecured lug nuts after the race (a level 1 infraction), a driver can lose 35 Championship points.
This year drivers are awarded Championship points at three times during the race. The two are at the end of Stage 1 and 2. Drivers who finish in the Top 10 at the end of the Stages are awarded points. Below, see the order that the points are given.
STAGE 1 & STAGE 2
The second time during a race that drivers are awarded Championship points is at the end of the race (also known as the Final Stage). Once the race leader crosses the finish line, these points are given to drivers in the order they finish. Below, find format as to how points are awarded at the end of the race.