Daytona 500 will Usher in New NASCAR Rules in a Monster Way!
By Kent Whitaker
The Daytona 500 is only weeks away and it’s set to take the green flag in a Monster way starting with a new sponsor! Yes, that is a direct play on the fact that Monster Energy is the new title sponsor. Just for the record – The complete official title of the top tier of racing is now “The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.”
A new sponsor, and name change, is one of the smallest changes on the books when racing begins in Daytona. Here’s a look at a few of the big changes that the Daytona 500, and the entire season, will have in place for 2017.
Just a note: The changes will apply to all three tiers of NASCAR racing. Cup, Infinity, and the Camping World Truck Series. But everything is subject to tweaking.
No More Chase for the Championship!
Actually… the Chase will kind of still be there in a way. We are just not calling it the “Chase” anymore. NASCAR is calling those final races in the season “Play Offs” now. And that makes total sense because the Chase format was NASCAR’s version of a playoff system.
Drivers that make it into the playoffs will still move forward to the next round like last years “chase” format. The difference being on the way points are accumulated over the season.
Races will now be segmented into three parts. When each segment ends, the cars come to pit road, the top 10 drivers will be awarded points, the leader of the segment will be interviewed in a quick in car manner, and they will roll out for a restart.
This will offer exciting built in restarts as well as some time for commercials, interviews, and hopefully more air-time for teams running in the pack.
New Point Format
There is an entirely new point system in place for 2017. As mentioned above with the segments – a variety of new points will be awarded. Hopefully NASCAR has figured out a way to eliminate drivers already in the “Chase” from running in the back protecting points.
The new point system is designed with awarding drivers who fight to move forward. Useless bonus points – such as leading a lap – have been eliminated.
The added points awarded during a segment, or session, or whatever they finalize the term as being, may inspire some drivers to get up on the wheel a bit more.
The Old “Finishing” Point Format
Thankfully NASCAR kept its head on when it came to one part of the old point system with respect to how cars finish during a race. Points will be awarded to the finishing order as they were for the past season. Here’s what’s changed.
Last season your favorite driver could have led almost every lap and blown an engine with only a short distance to go. The leader falls back in a trail of smoke with the field blowing by. A huge point day turns into nothing!
Under the new point system – aka being one of the top ten cars after a segment – a car with an issue such as my example will still have an opportunity to add some points to their day.
Don’t Stress Out!
That’s just the tip of the Pit Stall when it comes to some of the changes in store for the 2017 season. After the Daytona 500 weekend we’ll all know how the new rule changes will look. If you are worried about the math… DON’T WOORY!
The good news is that TV and radio crews will do a great job keeping track off all of this for fans! Fans on race day will just have to sit back and enjoy!
“Kent Whitaker, often called ‘the Deck Chef’ is a sportswriter, culinary writer, and cookbook author with fourteen titles. He covers NASCAR, racing in general, Football, barbecue, grilling, and tailgating. You can visit him on www.thedeckchef.com .”