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As NASCAR looks to entice the younger demographic, the sanctioning body has announced the addition of a playoff format in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck series. The format, similar to the newest version of the Chase for the Sprint Cup adapted into NASCAR’s premier division in 2014, will be implemented for the 2016 season.
After months of rumors, incorporating a playoff system to the lower tiers of NASCAR will enable consistency for drivers moving up through the rankings, according to NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France during Tuesday’s State of the Sport address. Like the Cup Series, the Chase in XFINITY Trucks is a win-and-you’re-in format, with 12 drivers being featured in the XFINITY Series playoffs and eight in the Truck Series.
“Fans, partners and the industry have embraced the new Chase format like nothing we’ve seen in the sport’s history,” said France in a press release. “Winning never has been this important, and the excitement generated the past two seasons in the Sprint Cup Series has led to this implementation of the Chase format in all three national series. Competition in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will undoubtedly elevate to new heights and shine a spotlight on the rising stars of our sport.”
Each Chase will consist of a seven-race battle for the championship, with each division beginning its playoff series at different racetracks.
The XFINITY Series Chase will begin at Kentucky Speedway, with the Round of 12 continuing at Dover and Charlotte. Meanwhile, the Truck Series Chase starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with the Round of 8, with the series advancing to Las Vegas and Talladega. There will be two elimination rounds in each division, with a Championship 4 fighting for the title come Homestead.
Chase drivers in both divisions will have their point total reset to 2,000 markers at the start of the playoffs. In the second round for both series, the remaining drivers will have 3,000 points, with the Champion 4 resetting to 4,000 points.
The second round of the Chase for the XFINITY Series will feature events at Kansas, Texas and Phoenix. For the Truck Series, Round 2 will visit Martinsville and then have companion events with the Cup Series and XFINITY Series for the final two events of the round.
In addition, Cup Series drivers that made the Chase in 2015 will not be enabled to race in the final contest at Homestead in the lower ranks, giving the spotlight to the drivers battling for the championship.
A charter system is likely coming to NASCAR, according to France. However, the announcement did not come on Tuesday. Instead, France said that a decision is close on deciding the specifics of the charter system for Sprint Cup Series team owners, stating that it “will make the racing better in the long run and secure the ownership experience.”
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