With the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway being the longest race of the season, it’s no surprise its first run at the stage racing is altered as well.
The 2017 running of the Coca-Cola 600 will be split into four separate stages, instead of the three every other race in 2017 so far has been divided into.
Each of the four stages of the race will be 100 laps. A playoff point will be given to the winner of the first three stages. Regular-season points will be awarded for the top ten finishers in the first three stages, making more points available than any other race on the 2017 regular season schedule.
If dominant performances occur in the 2017 Coca-Cola, like Martin Truex, Jr. had in last year’s race, it could be a major bump in points for a driver or a few drivers.
“The stage racing format is delivering more dramatic moments over an entire race, fueling tremendous racing action this season,” said NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell.
“With a fourth stage added to the Coca-Cola 600, the historic event will have another layer of strategy for teams, and even more excitement within the race for fans.”
The fourth stage obviously adds another planned caution to the schedule for crew chiefs to utilize for strategy purposes.
On Twitter, former driver and owner, Michael Waltrip chimed in, saying an extra stage was a good plan.
“[It’s] good for the fans, TV, and the teams. Just enjoy it. Don’t try to figure out what’s wrong with it,” Waltrip said.