Are more changes in store for NASCAR’s race format and unique points system?
In an effort to heighten drama, NASCAR vice president Steve O’Donnell said Tuesday the sport could add additional race segments and tinker with its points system for the 2018 season.
One idea is to add bonus points for “major races” including the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600, the Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. Another idea is to add an additional fourth or fifth stage to a race much like Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600, the only four-segment race to date.
“I think it’s certainly something that plays into the strategy,” O’Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We think it worked well all night in terms of having different strategies. You got to make certain choices about when you’re going to come in, when you’re going to stay out, who’s going to gamble. I know we talked fuel mileage, but to me, it’s part of the entire race, right, and the strategy. Who has a win and who doesn’t, who can afford to maybe take a chance and that all played out on Sunday night.
“You saw Martin (Truex Jr.) and Kyle (Busch) battle it out for what they thought was for the win. And then Austin (Dillon) was able to hold on there when Jimmie ran out (of fuel). So a lot of different things played out over that last stage. So, I was proud of the industry for putting that fourth stage in play for this race. It’s something we’ll look at for 2018, but it really worked well for the Coke 600.”
Stage racing has been widely accepted by industry stakeholders, including drivers and fans, so don’t be surprised if Bristol’s night race is eventually turned into five 100-lap stages in the future.
Here’s the full clip of O’Donnell’s interview.