Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Regular-Season Champion to be Crowned at Richmond International Raceway

NASCAR Announces Race Format, Points Enhancements to Top National Series

Regular-Season Champion

NASCAR will crown a regular-season champion after the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond

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NASCAR will crown a regular-season champion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) in 2017. NASCAR officially announced an enhanced competition format that will be implemented for its premier series along with the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at a press conference in Charlotte, N.C. The Monster Energy Series will now have a regular-season champion and the driver will be crowned at RIR on Saturday, September 9.

NASCAR is rewarding hard work and dedication over the course of the entire regular season. Through successful performance all season long, drivers now have the opportunity to improve their playoff seeding. With more on the line than ever before, the regular-season finale is sure to bring even more championship excitement to Richmond when the field of 16 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers are set.

“The phrase ‘It all comes down to Richmond’ has been used annually across the motorsports industry when referring to NASCAR’s premier series regular-season finale at RIR,” said RIR President Dennis Bickmeier. “Now, that phrase means so much more with the crowning of a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular-season champion during the Federated Auto Parts 400 in Richmond.”

The enhanced format consists of the following:

  • Races will now consist of three stages, with championship implications in each stage.
  • The top-10 finishers of the first two stages will be awarded additional championship points.
  • The winner of the first two stages of each race will receive one playoff point, and the race winner will receive five playoff points. Each playoff point will be added to his or her reset total following race No. 26, if that competitor makes the playoffs.
  • All playoff points will carry through to the end of the third round of the playoffs (Round of 8), with the Championship 4 racing straight-up at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the title.
  • Championship points following the first two stages will be awarded on a descending scale, with the stage winner receiving 10 points, second receiving 9 points, and so on.
  • The race winner following the final stage will now receive 40 points, second-place will receive 35, third-place 34, fourth-place 33, and so on.

“The importance of performing and winning throughout the season is highlighted by the changes in crowning a regular-season champion and ultimately determining the seeding for the playoffs,” said Bickmeier. “As the home to NASCAR’s regular-season finale, we look forward to celebrating the championship over Fan Appreciation Weekend with our fans at Richmond.”

NASCAR also announced a playoff bonus structure that will see the regular-season points leader honored as the regular-season champion, earning 15 playoff points that will be added to the driver’s playoff reset of 2,000. In addition, the top-10 drivers in points leading into the playoffs will receive playoff points, with second place receiving 10 playoff points, third place will earn 8 points, fourth place will receive 7 points, and so on. All playoff points will carry through to the end of the Round of 8.

The new format has a strong history in NASCAR and fans will get to see it play out in its top national series. This will allow race fans to experience more memorable moments during NASCAR races, while bringing a new excitement to the sport. Fans will get even more value for their ticket by experiencing the thrill of two additional winning moments during races with various stages.

The new format will be a part of NASCAR’s return to Richmond on April 28-30 for the ToyotaCare 250 and TOYOTA OWNERS 400 weekend and the regular-season finale over Fan Appreciation Weekend on September 8-9 for the Virginia529 College Savings 250 and the Federated Auto Parts 400. Tickets go on sale February 2. For more information, visit rir.com.

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