CONCORD, N.C. – The 2017 NASCAR Cup Season is nearly here, and with it comes a brand new, stage-based race format.
The format kicks off with the Daytona 500, and now we know exactly how long those stages will be.
The first two stages of “The Great American Race” will consist of 60 laps apiece. The third and final stage will span 80 laps.
In the event of inclement weather, the race would become “official” at the conclusion of the second stage.
At the end of each of the first two stages, additional points will be awarded to the drivers running inside the top 10, with 10 points going to the first-place driver, nine to second place and so on. A playoff bonus point will be awarded to the winners of the first two stages.
"The stages are going to bring a lot of excitement for the drivers and the fans," Dale Earnhardt Jr. said this offseason. "As a driver, I'm happy to be rewarded for performing well throughout the event, not just for how I finished."
The overall race winner when the checkered flag waves after the final stage will earn five playoff points. All playoff points will be added to the driver’s total once the postseason starts, should they advance to the 16-driver field.
“We all know how important points are. And with the new format, there are two opportunities to earn points before the traditional moment in time,” Jimmie Johnson said. “So, it’s going to force people to be more aggressive and more competitive in some situations, not all.”
The Daytona 500 is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26, and will be broadcast on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.