From a new logo to a new sponsor, NASCAR has already gone through some big changes this offseason. On Monday, the sport’s governing body released yet another change, this time dealing with the race/points format. I first heard the news of this on Saturday and rolled my eyes. Another NASCAR season, another gimmick. But, after watching the NASCAR presser Monday evening, I am more fond of it.
In case you missed it, races will now be broken into three segments; there will be a winner of each segment, where the winner of the third segment is the winner of the race. Finishing in the top 10 in the first two segments earns you bonus points and the whole field receives points at the end of the race. These points could end up becoming crucial when the playoffs (formerly known as the Chase) begin.
This change is huge for commercial breaks. Now, fans will not have to miss race time by getting snacks or using the restroom. Simply wait until each segment is over (each segment is 25%-30% of the race) and go then. When a segment ends, a checkered flag is waved and a mandatory caution comes out. If you are truly a die-hard fan and cannot miss a pit stop or caution laps, you are S.O.L. For the rest of us, we can enjoy this natural break in the action to do other things.
A new element has been added with this system. No longer will fans be bored until the final 20 laps. Brad Keselowski on Talladega: “You might have seen cars lag back in the past; you’re not going to do that anymore.” Talladega is a track that has become a whole lot of single file racing with better drivers hanging out at the tail end of the field to avoid the big one. Now, drivers will push up more to try and be in the top 10 for each segment to earn as many points as they can. I have been a NASCAR fan since I was very young. Last year more than ever I found myself changing channels until the end of races or even not watching at all (I’m looking at you, Pocono). Now, I find myself pumped up to see the new strategies teams will roll out. If only my guy Greg Biffle can get a ride all will be fun again.
I get it. We, as NASCAR fans, are tired of change. But seriously, this system sure beats the old Chase system. I think it will surprise you how well it works. Whether it brings news fans to the sport or not…let us leave that to the experts. I am just happy to say I am excited for NASCAR again and I hope you are too.
For more information about the changes, click here.