NASCAR 101: Part 2 – NASCAR Points System

Here, we explore the intricacies of the NASCAR points system and how the ‘playoffs’ work. NASCAR authorities are aware that the sport requires constant evolution, and 2017 will be significant.

NASCAR Points System: Scoring

To those more familiar with the arbitrary scoring of F1, the NASCAR points system can be a confusing entity. In 2017, it is set to become even more complicated!

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's 75 Toyota, leads the field during the pace laps prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 21: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s 75 Toyota, leads the field during the pace laps prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

A small allocation of points will be awarded for each of the race’s first two stages. The leading driver after each stage receives 10 points, the second-placed driver gets 9, and so forth. A larger allocation of points is then awarded for the driver’s final finish.

Drivers get five bonus playoff points for winning a race. Every stage won in the first 26 races of the season earns him/her one bonus playoff point.

EXAMPLE:

The NASCAR points system in 2017

This system ensures that races which are cut short do not adversely affect any driver that had the lead. Under normal circumstances, all drivers score points. The drivers finishing between 36th and 40th (last) place each score one point.

SEE ALSO: Dale Earnhardt Jr cleared to race after long-term injury

Playoffs

One major change, which came about in 2014, was the introduction of a new 16-way playoff series with three rounds and a final  – as follows:

playoffs

Winning any of the first 26 races generally guarantees a playoff berth. If there are less than sixteen different winners after the 26th race, then the remaining spaces are filled by the highest scoring winless drivers.

The sixteen drivers who qualify for the playoffs have their scores automatically boosted up to exactly 2,000 points – unassailable to those that did not qualify. Bonus points for stage wins and race wins are then added.

For those in contention, winning any race within a round guarantees further progression.

Look out for Part 3, in which we analyse the different track types!