NASCAR Stages, Overtime Rules & Points Explained for 2018

After its 2017 debut, NASCAR is continuing to try to come up with the magic formula for the new stages format. NASCAR introduced the stage format to create more excitement during the actual race, rather than just saving it for the final lap. The top 10 drivers at each stage are awarded points.

“Our primary goal every season is providing the best race for our fans, and to that end, we will remain consistent in terms of stage lengths for the majority of our national series events,” Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, said in a press release. “Last year’s debut of the race format was a strong one, and we look forward to building on that foundation in 2018, starting with Speedweeks at Daytona.”

The majority of races have two stages prior to the end of the race. NASCAR rewards the top 10 drivers at each stage, so it is possible for a driver to earn as much as 20 points without winning the race. The top driver at each stage also earns a playoff point. According to Jalopnik.com, the Cup series has 26 regular season races leading to 10 playoff races. For perspective, the winning driver earns 40 points each race along with five playoff points. A win puts the driver automatically in the playoffs.

In addition to the tweaks in the stages format, NASCAR has added additional regulations on engines. According to Jalopnik, teams have to use 13 engines for at least two races, leaving 10 races or less for teams to use single-use engines. The hope is this helps level the playing field for race teams on smaller budgets.

Here’s a look at the NASCAR stages along with the points associated for the top 10 drivers at each stage.


NASCAR Stage Points & Positions 2018

The top 10 drivers at each stage are awarded points as the table below shows.

POSITION POINTS
1st 10
2nd 9
3rd 8
4th 7
5th 6
6th 5
7th 4
8th 3
9th 2
10th 1

NASCAR Cup Series Stages & Laps 2018

RACE STAGE 1 STAGE 2 FINAL STAGE
Daytona 60 120 200
Atlanta 85 170 325
Las Vegas 80 160 267
Phoenix 75 150 312
Auto Club 60 120 200
Martinsville 130 260 500
Texas 85 170 334
Bristol 125 250 500
Richmond 100 200 400
Talladega 55 110 188
Dover 120 240 400
Kansas 80 160 267
Charlotte 100 200, 300 (Stage 3) 400
Pocono 50 100 160
Michigan 60 120 200
Sonoma 25 50 110
Chicagoland 80 160 267
Daytona 2 40 80 160
Kentucky 80 160 267
New Hampshire 75 150 301
Pocono 2 50 100 160
Watkins Glen 20 40 90
Michigan 2 60 120 200
Bristol 2 125 250 500
Darlington 100 200 367
Indianapolis 50 100 160
Las Vegas 2 80 160 267
Richmond 2 100 200 400
Charlotte (road) TBD TBD TBD
Dover 2 120 240 400
Talladega 2 55 110 188
Kansas 2 80 160 267
Martinsville 2 130 260 500
Texas 2 85 170 334
Phoenix 2 75 150 312
Miami 80 160 267

NASCAR Overtime Explained

Some of NASCAR’s overtime rules are a bit of semantics as it tries to associate with fans who are familiar with extra-time rules in American team sports. The goal is to prevent races from ending under caution, and laps are added if it is necessary to have a race finish under green.

Here’s how Jalopnik.com explains the NASCAR overtime rules and format.

Basically, if a caution comes out before the white flag flies for the first time in a race to signal the last lap, NASCAR will add laps to the race distance in an effort to clean up the caution and end it under green. That’s when overtime starts.

Overtime means once a race goes past its scheduled distance, drivers restart. Once the leader reaches the overtime line, any caution ends the race. NASCAR changed overtime for the better in 2017, moving the overtime line from the backstretch to the start-finish line.

Source: Heavy Sports